In mass communication, media are essentially the information-releasing communication tools or media used in conjunction with other communications mediums to transmit and store data or information. The word “media” refers to various components of the overall mass communications media industry, including print media, broadcast media, the entertainment media, photography, theater, and advertising. In its broadest sense, media can be defined as any human-made system that disseminates information and forms an integral part of society. Media are usually influenced by the culture and society in which they exist. The most popular types of media include the print media and the television; the radio stations; the print and electronic books; the films and video games; and the Internet.
In accord with this definition, media practitioners have utilized various types of mass communication medium to carry messages and disseminate information for the social, political, economic, and educational agendas of those who use them. As an example, newspapers have played a significant role in the dissemination of information and societal agendas. Although the print media have come under fire from many people for their slanted reporting and biased reporting, they still remain as an indispensable component of the modern mass media. This is because newspapers have a duty to inform the public about current affairs, current events, and major issues. And although they may not necessarily adhere to all the principles of objective media practice, they do adhere to some basic rules and values of accountability to the public, responsible behavior, and respect for privacy and publicity.
When it comes to print media, there are many different types of media organizations that have emerged in the last century. These include periodicals such as newspapers, magazines, and book magazines; electronic news publications such as radio and television news broadcasts; and multimedia (or motion pictures and sound) publications such as motion pictures and music videos. Today, many people choose to read books, magazines, or newspapers on the Internet rather than their usual reading habits. The Internet also offers many different types of media properties, which include online game portals, news sites, and social networking sites. The rise of blogs and social networking has also opened up the possibilities of media representation, where the media outlets themselves become the voice of the people. This concept is becoming increasingly more common as the Internet becomes an increasingly dominant and accessible platform.
Media impact can be direct (such as a piece of news) or indirect. Direct media effects include actual changes in the market, a product’s or service’s value proposition, or its attractiveness to buyers. Indirect media impact can be the result of changes in the environment, changes in the way business is carried out, changes in the way society thinks, or changes in the ways that people interpret information. The indirect effect of media practices can include the creation of ” echo chambers “, whereby people learn to rely on the information media for certain kinds of information, which can increase the likelihood of certain phenomena happening (for instance, the increased popularity of Internet gossip).
Social media have affected all aspects of communication, with the spread of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr potentially altering how we communicate forever. Even more recently, Google+ has combined the advantages of social media with traditional forms of communication and turned them into one cohesive whole. The ability to share media is at the core of how social media are being perceived, used, and communicated. When photographs and videos are shared across networks the impact is immediate, people are talking about it, and it is influencing how they will act. A well-designed social media system can have real, tangible business effects.
Media impact can be both positive and negative, but it is changing the way that Americans read, watch, and use the three main mass media forms. Newspapers, radio, and television have historically provided the bulk of news and information for most Americans. Now that almost half of all news stories and more than one-third of all television programs are distributed digitally, the impact of traditional print media is diminishing. People are turning to the internet to find the information that they need, not the old school print media.