Media is the information or data transients exchanged between individuals and organizations. The word refers to both different parts of the media communications industry, including print media, broadcast media, music, multimedia, online publishing, the print industry, film, television, photography, visual arts, news, and marketing. This article surveys the characteristics and locations of media throughout the development of modern society. In addition, it examines how the industry has been faring since the advent of the internet.
Early in the history of mankind, the bulk of news, entertainment, and informative materials were published by local newspapers or periodicals. While newspaper articles were largely the same across different regions and countries, different types of media produced differing interpretations of events. For instance, in Europe newspaper industry played a larger part in the shaping of public opinion than in the United States. As a result, the European press historically enjoyed greater influence on political opinion than the U.S. press ever did. As such, Europe’s dominant medium for delivering news and entertaining its readers included primarily two forms of traditional media: the printed press and the television.
In modern digital media and communications, the mediums used vary by purpose and by degree of complexity. Traditional print media include the broadsheets of newsprint such as newspapers and magazines, as well as magazines and pamphlets designed to sell newspapers. The most common format is the newspaper or magazine containing text and images on a page. The Internet also allows for many different forms of digital media, such as podcasts, videoblogs (portable web video recordings), and interactivity.
Web-based content and services often include RSS feeds, microblogging, discussion boards, and social media. RSS feeds or “feeds,” deliver a continuous stream of data from the Internet and are frequently updated using computer programs. Web-based social media services include Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Flickr. These services have a few differences in terms of format, but share some common elements in delivering news and other types of information to their users.
Another important function of news media in the 21st century is the role it plays in public relations. News stories are often used in PR works, such as to disseminate information about a company or organization’s activities or achievements, or to inform the public about a charitable organization or cause they might be supporting. Many public relations specialists and news media professionals consider it important that local news media reflect accurately the views of their target audience.
Broadcasting live events on the Internet can provide a richer, more dynamic experience for viewers. Online broadcast media such as live streaming videos and audio broadcasts, as well as archived video footage, are more immediately available to viewers than is the case with traditional broadcast media. The online distribution of these live broadcasts allows viewers to easily search for specific content, which makes it more likely that they will be exposed to the type of content that they are looking for. For example, if a viewer is interested in learning more about a local organization that they support, they can search by organization or topic and be presented with relevant content they are looking for.