Category Archives: Mass Media

Since 1990, at least 2297 journalists and media personnel were killed. Several attacks have been reported on the media and several journalists have given their lives in the defense of journalism. People like Duniya Muhiyadin, Deyda Hydara, Carlos Cardoso and Norbert Zongo have brushed with death while exercising their profession.

Created in 1991, The Declaration of Windhoek has expressed the importance of a free press and the

First Amendment to the Constitution Act protects the right and freedom of the press.

However, how is it possible that, despite such measures, journalists are still being assassinated today?

Why Is Freedom of the Press Important?

 

Freedom of the press

Someone somewhere said that liberty of the press is the “sine qua non” for democratic governance.

 

A truly democratic society demands the dynamic and intelligent participation of its members in the affairs of the society. And, the responsibility to fulfill these needs rests partly on the press.

 A nation has the right to be informed and hence, the press plays the information role, whereby it disseminates news and publicize information that needs attention. Citizens gain information about new policies, government projects and law amendments. The information obtained from the media enables them to make decisions. For example, campaigns are organized by The World Association of Newspapers to re-educate the public about fundamental issues. Even in terms of politics, the media assumes the responsibility of disseminating political information that voters require to make their decisions.

 

As much as the traditional media, even the new media like the Internet enables an unprecedented empowerment of an individual.

The rise of citizen journalism is a notable example. Some sociologists define it as “when the people known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another.”

A famous example of citizen journalism comes from the ‘live’ pictures from the London bombings of 2005 that came from the mobile phones of citizens. Move to the right side of the globe and you have OhmyNews, a website in South Korea used by a mass of citizen reporters.

 

Citizen Journalism

 The fourth estate is also the voice to the voiceless, crucial in building strong democracies and promoting civic participation. The press has a great capacity to permit citizens to gather information and mobilize coalitions around policy issues and strengthen the institutions of representative government.

 

As the bridge between the government and its people, the press facilitates communication between the state and its nation. Some say that “the media helps to keep the political system transparent and accountable.” By informing government officials about the problems faced by its citizens in their constituency, the media motivated representatives to respond by working according to the society’s needs.

 

On the other side, governments also depend on the press to receive feedback and evaluate public opinion on their policies and schemes. As pointed out by Jonathan Rauch, “free press disseminates information that informs the electorate and holds powerful people and institutions accountable.” The press even provides the opposition party with an opportunity to be heard so as citizens can listen to both sides of a political story.

The press advocates “victory of truth over the falsehood.” Playing the surveillance function and acts as a watchdog for the society, the media is an independent monitor of power, overseeing political authority and government activities.


We cannot forget how many times the press has played a major role in uncovering wrongdoings and resisting dictatorship regimes.

 

Corruption is a twenty-first-century disease that can infect an entire system without having any mercy on anyone.

 

Raising awareness about government’s abuse of power and violations of human rights, the press has, countless times, engaged the subjects in anti-corruption efforts.

 

If you want examples, here are some:

 

1.    Two reporters in Guatemala exposed the money-laundering practices of high-level officials to former President Alfonso Portillo.

 

2.    The chief staff of the former Brazilian President Rousseff was subjected to legal investigations due to his involvement with illicit practices exposed by reporters.

 

3.    The best demonstration is the contribution of the press in the exposure of the Watergate Scandal, whereby two reporters with their investigations uncovered corruption and nefarious doings in the White House during the Presidency of Richard Nixon.

The press provides the oxygen needed for a democratic society to survive as it encourages consensus, promotes peace and understanding, which can only be achieved with continuous interchange of information and knowledge. But what happens when this right is snatched from the public?

 

As discussed in the previous article, new media has a profound impact on the world of journalism. And, as promised, today, we shall discuss some more essential features of the new media that brought several changes to the way journalism is today.

  • Interactivity:

Alcohol brands boost social media engagement by 327% thanks to coronavirus  donations

Old media was a more a one-way affair, with journalists providing information and audiences receiving on the receiving ends of broadcasts. However, the new media is a more of a two-way process that allows the audiences to get more involved. According to Jenkins (2008), “media interactivity has produced a “participatory culture.” In other words, journalists and consumers no longer occupy separate roles and instead, users are now considered as participants in the news industry

Moreover, this new media feature has led to the creation of interactive journalism, which refers to a new type of journalism where citizens bring a huge contribution to news stories directly. Using the web 2.0 technology, reporters have more opportunities to engage actively and have online discussions with the audience. The new media is a platform that allows journalists to reengage the audience and build “collective conscience.” For example, the Internet enables the unprecedented empowerment of individuals.

Besides, interactive journalism has encouraged the news industry to lean towards both print content and video, graphic, sound clips and social media in their reporting process.

  • Hypertextuality:

How do you advise your students to avoid social media pitfalls? First, by  listening - Poynter

Hypertexts or links are viewed as essential features of the new media. Hypertexts create a more interactive media where the audience has more freedom to navigate over the various sources of information available to them.

Rather than conforming to a fixed and linear news format, journalists communicate information through the use of hypertexts by incorporating a myriad of perspectives. This leads to active and self-reflective readers. As per Murray (1997), “hypertexts call attention to the process of narrative construction and enhance the involvement of readers.”

What about Newsgathering?

Journalists brave danger to report on coronavirus | Penn Today

Nowadays, new media has become an increasingly significant source for newsgathering. Journalists acknowledge the fact that the arrival of the new and digital media has indeed initiated a fundamental shift within journalism and therefore, computers have replaced typewriters and Facebook and Twitter posts have replaced telephone-based tips. Today, reporters can also become their own cameramen with their smartphones in their hands.

It is viewed that web articles, web journals, web magazine articles, websites, books on the web, email discussion groups, web archives and social media platforms are vital tools that are used in the process of newsgathering. For instance, did you know that at Chicago Tribune, which is a newspaper found in Chicago, the social media news editors begin their day by going through tweets and Facebook posts to get ideas about how to engage their audience? For example, Stacey Leasca, one of the social media editors, always tries to track what’s trending on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing before writing news blog posts and interacting with the newspaper’s audience.

Another great example is how the Vox has a team made up of six people who exclusively focus and depend on social media to create headlines and to get ideas for news articles.

Murthy (2013) claimed that “Twitter has proved extremely useful as a newsgathering medium in terms of communicating information about events such as the Tohuku earthquake in Japan in 2011 and social movements such as the Occupy protests in London and New York in 2011. Twitter has also been effective in the Egyptian protests that toppled President Mubarak.”

What Is Structured Journalism?

Partisan sites erode trust in local news - Lenfest Institute for Journalism

One way to adapt journalism to the growing world of the new media is to change the way news content is written. This is what structured journalism is about. For instance, usually, once a journalist gets an assignment, the latter collects the necessary information, writes and structures the article and then the story is made accessible on numerous platforms. In other words, this is the only way to connect with the finished product.

However, structured journalism is a new type of storytelling that breaks out of the normal and routine-like pattern and pieces of information are mixed and organized in ways that can enhance news story organization for subjects that evolve over long periods of time. This meets the needs of those readers who either want a recap of the story or want to explore every angle of an issue. Additionally, the characteristic of structured journalism makes it possible for readers to explore stories at their own pace. As per David Smydra, “structured journalism plays perfectly with the affordances of digital media.”

Despite the revolution brought upon the journalism world by the new and digital media, journalists are still irreplaceable and unstoppable. What are your views about this? Please share them in the comment section below!

 

Journalism is considered as the “sine qua non” of the contemporary society. And, no, I am not exaggerating. How else do you think that people, while staying in the comfort of their homes, have been getting updates on the spread of the coronavirus around the world? Or, how do you think people from different corners of the world have been able to get every single detail of the recent US presidential election?

One word is enough to answer these questions: journalists!

Even the terrifying and life-threatening nature of Covid-19 could not prevent journalists from carrying out their duties. While many students took online classes and thousands of employees working from home during the pandemic, many journalists had to put their lives on the line and head to newsrooms or out on the field.

But, what if I tell you that even the world of journalism has been going through a series of technological changes due to the emergence of the new media?

What Is the New Media?

Zooming in on media relations training | Latest press releases | PressGo |  Journalism.co.uk

In recent years, aside from the print and audio-visual media, media sociologists have identified a third type of mass media, which is known as the new media. In layman’s terms, new media can be defined as the screen-based digital technology that consists of integrating images, sound, and texts and which has emerged during the late 20th century and 21st centuries.

To understand how the advent of new media has brought a revolution to the journalistic profession, one should understand the new media’s features and how it differs from the traditional media.

  • Digitality:

    Today, qualitative information has become ‘digitalized’ and has led to technological convergence. This brings us to the following characteristic.

  • Convergence of media delivery technologies and systems:

    Media convergence has brought a massive revolution in the world of journalism. For instance, as per Jenkins (2008), “media convergence involves both a change in the way news is produced and in the way news is consumed.”

    It is seen that due to the phenomenon of media convergence, journalism is under ever-increasing pressure and the reason why is because media convergence has redefined the tasks of journalists and newsrooms. For instance, the press is now more in search of journalists who can not only write but also produce photographs and moving images at the same time. Besides, many newspaper organizations are hiring journalists with the ability to remodel news stories for both broadcasting and online media as well.

    An example is how in Puerto Rico, newspapers always demand the convergence of their workers’ journalistic skills.

    The following extract explains how media convergence is reshaping the journalistic profession:

    Convergence requires a new mindset for journalists. They must take into consideration the new media and plan ahead for repurposing content across different platforms. Many old journalistic instincts are wrong in the new media environment. For example, in a newspaper or television news context, the goal is to attract and keep the reader or viewer. In the Web environment, readers jump around and expect the reporter to be an expert who will not only convey valuable information but will provide links that send the reader to additional sources of information.”

    – Carrey, 2009

    But what about journalists? What are the perspectives of journalists about the digital revolution and convergence?

    Many reporters believe that media convergence is just a scheme to get fewer journalists to do more things. It is viewed as a ‘marketing ploy’, where in the news industry, the news is promoted simply as a “product”, focusing on the business rather than journalism.

Interactivity and hypertextuality are the other two features of new media that have impacted the world of journalism. If you want to learn more about them, why don’t you come back for part 2?

Despite the advent of the Internet and the many advances in technology, people still consider television to be an essential broadcast medium. This precious source of information and entertainment was invented in 1927, and still holds a place in most people’s hearts. Let’s have a deep dive into what goes into making a television broadcast these days.

The Television

TV is a responsibility, not only in entertaining people but using this medium of television in positive ways to teach people and enlighten people.”

– James Van Praagh

Let’s have a look at some of the most important aspects of a television station.

Personnel

A television production is a team effort. Watching from the control room, a television producer can detect potential problems. For example, he may adjust a newscast and add or change a news story. He must also produce the newscast according to a fixed time period.

Matt Ellis, a news director, claimed that:

A news producer is the architect of the program. He is responsible for choosing the news content, slotting the stories and writing much of the copy. He oversees the presentation of the news broadcast from the control room.”

On the other hand, television scriptwriters are responsible for the content that will be presented to the general public. For instance, they use word-processing programs to set up a table for their script text and follow the same 5 W’s and 1 H writing rule.

Before a meal is presented, it needs to be garnished. Similarly, editing refers to the task of taking pre-recorded materials and converting them into a finished audio-visual program. Therefore, editors use linear editing or nonlinear computer editing software to combine shots together in their selected order. They choose the best shots, add filler sequences and can even change these sequences if required.

Unlike radio presenters, television anchors do no need to look down on papers but instead look into the camera lens while reading their scripts. For instance, scripts are entered into a TelePrompTer from which anchors will read the content. However, TelePrompTer operators must match the screen’s information with what is being said on the news.

Furthermore, a television director is responsible for the overall production process. For example, a television director may organise an editorial meeting to brainstorm the news producer and the reporters. His objective is to generate story ideas for newscasts day and evening. He may also use the IFB (interruptible frequency broadcast), which is a monitoring system for one-way communication between the director and on-air talent, facilitated by using earpieces. For example, during a news program, the director can talk to the news anchor about the latest breaking news.

Now let’s talk about the graphic department. Graphic artists create computer graphics, credits and other computer-generated content. At the same time, the art director works on the set design, location and those graphics that will appear on the television screen. The sound recordist has the responsibility to record the whole soundtrack of a programme while photographers have the tasks of building shot sequences. The latter is also responsible for media colour production.

The task of a technical director is different compared to that of a television director. He is in the master control room and oversees the presentation of the audio and visual aspects. However, the audio and microphone levels are more controlled by the audio staff.

Moreover, the engineering department protects, maintains and improve all technical equipment associated with the production process. Television engineers are further responsible for satellite transmission and live story coverage.

Studio, Budget and Equipment

Unlike a private radio station, a television station has a much larger budget and resources.

Let’s start with the studio. A television studio has several rooms which are all separated from the exterior. It consists of a production control room that includes a video monitor wall, a special effects generator, an audio mixing console, a character generator and camera control panels.

Sound is the main ingredient of an auditor’s capability to create a perception of realism. Thus, in a television station, lavaliere and dynamic microphones are used for tv programmes while hand-held microphones are used during live broadcasting. Moreover, ENG (electronic news gathering) equipment, including cameras, microphones, news vans and satellite trucks plays a crucial role in news gathering and outside broadcasting.

Did you know that lighting is another essential aspect of a television station? Proper lighting is needed to create a specific setting of a programme as it can provide television cameras with sufficient illumination for more high-quality pictures.

Production Process

The pre-production stage consists of writing a television script, gathering of the staff, choosing the appropriate set, graphics and costumes. The second stage which is the production phase starts with rehearsals where scenes are prepared, television presenters or actors are called on the sets and shots are recorded and reviewed. The last stage is when the final shape of the programme is obtained. It includes cutting recorded visuals into a suitable length and organising them in an appropriate sequence. It also consists of the use of captions and other effects to obtain the finished media product.

What we only hear has usually less impact than what we see and hear at the same time. A television’s strength is the screen as people like to see things with their own eyes compared to a radio. Hence, it can be noted that television, as a medium, can not only communicate sound just like the radio but can also display printed words on the screen like a newspaper and broadcast high-quality videos.

So, what do you think is better as a medium? TV or radio? Please share your comments!

Broadcast media represents an effective and integrated form of communication in our society. In today’s article, we will look at the oldest form of broadcast media – the Radio.

The Radio

First created in the 1890s, the radio works when messages are sent through electromagnetic waves. The radio signal is similar to an electronic current that can go back and forth very quickly.

Suppose you need to make a meal; you will need the proper ingredients and utensils. Similarly, two crucial components have contributed to the success of the radio: equipment and staff.

Personnel

According to the UNESCO,

‘…the recruitment of the broadcasting personnel should be on talent, creative ability and an aptitude for broadcasting….’

One of the most important people of the radio is the radio producer. He or she is responsible for coordinating the content of all the radio programs, generating ideas and recording and editing programs. This person is also responsible for budget management. As a radio producer, he or she is supposed to have a good understanding of language, so as to edit news scripts and advise newsreaders on the correct pronunciation so as listeners can better understand the news being read out.

Next, we have the radio presenter, most known as a radio jockey or as an RJ. This is the person hosting shows on the radio. The RJ represents the image and reputation of a radio station, and therefore have the responsibility of communicating with and engaging their audience. They not only inform and educate but also entertain you with their charming personalities and addictive voices. In a way, their job is to attract as many listeners as possible.

Next, the technical department consists of people who operate and maintain equipment ranging from studio machines to transmitters. Engineers manage equipment that can regulate signal strength and a range of sounds to adjust volume and audio quality.

Do you know what the role of a radio programme broadcaster is? If not, let me tell you that he or she is a person who has the proper expertise to identify the propagation characteristics of a radio station and where the signal is the strongest. As a result, this can help decide upon the appropriate programme technique for listeners in difficult reception areas.

Lastly, we have an audio producer whose job is to write audio scripts, create sound effects and ensure that the best audio is considered. He is also responsible for the final edit of a programme.

Studio, Equipment and Sound

Radio is a sound-only medium, which implies that the quality of sound should be genuine and the signal should be reliable as substandard and muffled quality sound can negatively affect listeners and discourage them from listening to the radio news.”

A radio studio is constructed based on some acoustic principles that can help create quiet places where news-reading programmes can be held undisturbed. For instance, the materials used to build the internal walls have unique acoustic properties that can absorb and reflect sounds at different frequencies, preventing outside sounds, like footsteps and traffic noise.

Found in the radio studio, the control room is a soundproof room which consists of high-quality monitoring loudspeakers, studio signalling systems, echo equipment, consoles and the VU (Volume Unit) meter which shows the level of sound output. A high-quality computer system can also be found, which is essential as it is used to store all the radio shows, news recordings, voice-overs and so on.

Now, let’s talk about a bit about the most important radio station equipment: microphones! Nowadays, dynamic condenser microphones are popular in radio stations as they are resistant to ambient noise. For example, the Shure SM7B is a type of microphone favoured for radio news broadcasting as it does not need to be handled. Besides, some microphones also consist of windscreens that can keep irrelevant noise such as the sound of breath to the minimum.

As per the details mentioned above, have you been able to glimpse some aspects of a radio station? Please share your comments!

Can housewives live without their daily TV soaps? Can teenagers spend a day without logging to Facebook? Can football fans live without goal.com? We now take for granted that media has become an integral part of our lives and that we will never be able to live without it. So, let’s take a tour to see the role that the mass media is playing worldwide.

Functions of the Mass Media:

Surveillance Function

There is the instrumental surveillance, where mass media serves as the eyes and ears of the general public and provide the information necessary for daily life, such as stock market prices, weather forecasts, upcoming movie releases, new fashion and current affairs. For instance, how do you think the whole world heard about the first coronavirus outbreak? Through the media, of course!

Did you know that the news of the end of the War of 1812 took months to reach people across the Atlantic? However, within 2 hours of the events, more than 90% of the American population knew about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Another type of mass media surveillance is warning or beware surveillance, where the media creates awareness on threats such as wars, natural disasters, economic declines, military threats and epidemics. It is the media’s task to act as a ‘watchdog’ and warn the public about dangers to assure the welfare of the nation. We might not directly experience what is happening worldwide, but we can rely on the media to keep us informed.

Interpretation Function

Mass media helps to shape a person’s view of the world. The audience is exposed to various perspectives and school of thoughts provided by the media to help people better understand and make judgements. Media gatekeepers decide on the content that will be presented to the audience. Mass communicators do not transmit only the information but also the significance of the information. An example is the national response to the killing of a British black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, in 1993, which led to a repeal of the double jeopardy rule in murder cases in the UK.

Linkage Function

Online outlets such as eBay, allow both sellers and buyers to link up. This is known as the Linkage function, where the media plays a vital role in connecting several elements of the society that are not directly related. Other examples include how voters will follow their elected officials’ accomplishments through newspapers, how advertising connects both sellers and buyers, online dating services, such as match.com and dating.com, writing letters to editors and phone-ins on the radio.

The linkage function can be witnessed when geographically separated groups share information, which may be through social media and other media channels. The media can also lead to ‘audience building’, where social groups with similar interests are assembled together. For instance, in November 2017, The Sun daily newspaper was instrumental in asking all Malaysians to make donations to help the Penang Flood victims.

Transmission of Values Function

This function is also called the socialisation function. Here, mass media is seen as a socialisation agency, which reflects an increasing influence on shaping our norms and values. It plays a central role in shaping the personality of individuals. People’s view of the world, political and social attitudes, and political leaders’ beliefs are formed through their impressions from the media rather than personal experience. For example, did you know that shows like Full House and Step by Step promoted family values?

The mass media normally encourages conformist behaviours. It communicates acceptable and unacceptable forms of behaviour to reinforce perceptions of expected behaviours. For instance, news reports on the serious consequences for those who break the society’s norms. Another example is how BBC News published an online article in 2018 to raise awareness about the importance of wearing seat belts.

Entertainment Function

A popular function is how people use the media to escape from routines and to ease worries. People may immerse themselves in specific media types to compensate for the lack of satisfaction in their daily lives, or to gratify their needs and to relax their tired minds. Examples are how women read Mills and Boon novels to make up for the lack romance in their marriage, or newspapers including games like crosswords and Sudoku on their pages. Television offers people possibilities to view events that they would not have attended to such as the Oscars and the Olympics. Many sociologists believed that teenagers use horror films to gratify their need for excitement.

Today, the emergence of digital media has increased the entertainment function of the press. For instance, blogs such as Perez Hilton’s provide recent gossip news about celebrities, and YouTube is used to watch different types of videos while some people live alternative lives as avatars on websites such as Second Life.

Have you been able to identify and recognise the function that the media plays in our lives? Please share your comments!

Follow us

Partenaires