The Mass Media Essay

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The Mass Media This essay will analyse some of the relevant theories and decide to what extent the mass media informs and directs our understanding of the world. Certain theories suggest that the mass media is only there to inform society whereas some theories believe the mass media directs and even shapes our understanding of the world. Due to restrictions on time this essay will look at three conflicting theories and decide which one, if any, will offer the most coherent argument. The first thing that must be established is the definition of mass media: mass media is where a message is conveyed from one point to a large number of other points (Haralambos and Holborn, 2009, p.164). Mass media has changed over the years through various stages until we reached what sociologists call new media. New media can be described as media utilising ICT (Information and Communications Technology) such as the Internet and digital television. It can be argued that although new media communicates the same message to large numbers of society, different members of that society can interpret the message in different ways. Audiences can vary according to class, gender, ethnicity and religion all of which can affect the way in which the message is interpreted (Haralambos and Holborn, 2009, p.164). The pluralist theory sees the mass media as responsible and reflecting the best wishes and interests of their audiences (Haralambos and Holborn, 2009, p.164). The pluralist would argue that society is made up of many differing groups, each with equal access to resources and power which in return is reflected in the diversity of material offered. This theory would mean that the news is unbiased and reflects public opinion rather than dictating that opinion. This would mean that the mass media's role is to inform society rather than direct and influence public opinion. Katz and Lazarsfeld

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