Media and Society
In mass communication, media are usually the means or resources utilized to transmit and store data or information. The word refers generally to elements of the mass communications media industry, including print media, broadcasting, television, music, movies, photographic, publishing, radio, cinema, advertising, and digital media. Mass communication media can be categorized into two major groups: those that are designed to transfer data and information and those that are intended to generate advertising revenue. Examples of data and information transmission media include print media such as newspapers and magazines; broadcast media such as radio and television; and online media such as the Web and video games.
In its early forms, the term media referred to the oral communication forms observed in many societies and cultures. The earliest form of media used in human communication was language, which gave rise to writing, reading, and listening. These early forms of media produced both text and sound, with the former acting as the means to exchange information. In this sense, the early forms of media were different from modern media as it did not directly store or deliver information; rather it acted as a medium through which information was transmitted and received.
With the evolution of communications technology, media has developed into the electronic media that we use today. Electronic media systems include CD players, MP3 players, cell phones, pagers, infrared, laser, digital media and the like. Today, electronic media systems have greatly influenced the way people access, produce and receive information through the electronic media.
As mentioned earlier, newspaper and magazine publications are considered one of the most significant sources of mass media. Historically, newspapers and magazines were established as part of the business sector for the purpose of disseminating information. The role of newspapers and magazines as the primary source of mass media has decreased over time due to the development of other forms of mass communication. However, they remain important as a source of information for the masses as they still have a major role to play in disseminating information and broadcasting public awareness.
Another form of media that has significantly impacted the extent of societal communication is the television. Television stations and satellite dishes primarily broadcast information that is specific to their station. Satellite dishes and cable televisions largely influence the amount and type of communication that is distributed through mass media channels. In comparison to radio and the print media, television and radio still have not completely replaced the role of newspapers and magazines in delivering mass information to the masses.
The limits of media refer to its capacity to affect societal communication. The limits of the media refer to the number of individuals who can access the media and to the degree to which the media can influence these individuals. The extent to which the media influences societal communication is determined by the extent to which the audience is willing to accept or refuse to accept media access. As for the audience, it refers to the audience in general including the general public, academics, journalists and government officials.