Major Essay

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Media Cultures

Media Cultures

Introduction

Public spheres are networks of public communication that permanently alter the culture they are set in (McKee, 2004. p.191).The definition of new media has been a topic of interest for a number of researchers. New media are forms of communication that were formulated by accessible technology by many people across the globe. They include managing websites that are accessed by all over the internet (Bennett, 2008, p.354). New media materialized as a result of the internet that opened a forum that allows sharing information across the globe (Biagi, 2011, p. 176).This steeredexchange of information to people of different cultures across the globe (Dijck, 2009, p.44).

New media has created an unbalanced environment that generates tension as different cultures interact. This is especially so since culture shapes people’s way of thinking hence to forming values and beliefs. The social-political environment has realized dramatic transformation as a result of the wide platform created by new media. The aim of this essay is to confer the role of new media in shapingsocial-political environment. Various issues that affect development of media industry are analysed to provide an insight to the role of media in the public sphere.

Media Economics

Media economics entails using economic theories to address media firm and industry at large. It is concerned with a number of issues such as foreign trade, pricing policies,competition and industrial concentration (Doyle, 2013, p.3).Media ought to be objective in the manner information is passed to all people universally. Berry (2012, p.127) asserts that massmedia ought to be fair and just not onlyas a moral practice but also to promotetransmission of accurate contents across the world. Every industry ought to be productive so as to attain the set objectives and goals.Due to the diverse cultures that new media has brought together in one platform its level of productivity has reduced tremendously. Furthermore, new media has opened doors to numerous careers that media personalities strive to attain. Social norms and political stands are shaped and shared across different media podiums.

The media industry has shown massive growth leading to different competitors eyeing the industry. The result is creation of an industry that practices different strategies in order to meet the needs of its assorted market. Market diversity creates competition as different entities compete to satisfy various needs of clients. Though the is a lot of competition only the established media houses reap the benefits as independent media houses endurethis terrible circumstancesor are driven out of business. According to Turner, the chairman of CNN (Turner, 2004) the success of established media firms has promoted biased reporting in order to gain favour of the majority. Furthermore, such media houses are motivated by massive profits and so affecting quality of the content submitted by the media industry.Managers in large media corporations oppose innovationsto prevent losses in the event the idea does not succeed. This trend will diminish and disestablishmedia industry. There is need to promote innovations. Innovation is essential for any industry to succeed globally. There is need to improve the media industry by ensuring independent media corporations survive in the industry to ensure unbiased and economic gains from this industry (Turner, 2004).

Developments in Media Industry

Media industry has advanced from time to time. Powered press was the earliest form of media that established newspaper industry at the beginning of the 19thcentury. Technology led to the rise of electronic media in the 20th century. In the present-day world,globalization,economics and politics have joined technology in shaping new media (Albarran, 2013, p.17).Merging of media, telecommunications and computing industries is as a result of this migration from analogue to digital. The internet has been the greatest promoter of new media by bringing together over two billion people across this platform (Albarran, 2013, p.17). Addressing major spheres related to media will provide an insight to developments in media industry.

Convergence

Convergence remains a foreign term though it is a major factor that shapes media industries (Appelgren, 2011, p. 237). Convergence is realized in digital world as a result of thecombination of some concepts in the industry. This involves sharing of information between different media houses targeting the similar consumers.Appelgren(2011, p.240) identifies five types of convergence in media. They include ownership, tactical, storytelling, information-gathering and structural convergence. As a result of convergence new media has focused on selling its advertisement time rather than the information passed to the audience. For instance, MSNBC was formed after Microsoft and NBC merged (Kolko, 2013, p.179). Media industry will therefore go against its objectives of providing unbiased information for all.

Globalization

Globalization has merged people across continents in one platform to share ideas and opinions that new media often seek. The medium theory school explicates that media shapes human senses affecting cognition and social arrangement of the consumers.Subsequently, new media has caused societal change all over the globe (Rantanen, 2005, p.25).Integration of different cultures as a result of globalizationhas greatly impacted this industry. Principles upholding media industry are ineffective due to diverse cultures (Scannel, 1997, p.62). Successively, the quality of media has been affected as it aims to address the vast concerns of the majority are prioritised. Moreover, established media houses are acquiredpower as they are widely sought after making it impossible for independent media houses to emerge in such an environment.In the absence of other privately owned media houses, large media corporations will continue affecting the way a society thinks be in socially or politically.

Concentration

There lies a thin line between concentration and convergence. Concentration is a result of merging of different media companies.Prosperous media companies purchase other media companies as a way of expanding and attaining maximum number of consumers. The best example is google that bought ‘you tube’ and ‘double click’ that were emerging smaller media industries thereby attracting more audiences.This merges have killed independent media companies as well as diminished competition in the industry. Without competition it is more likely these dominating companies are compromised.

Commercialization

Media industry offers its content as a good to its consumers who are the audiences either by listening, seeing or reading.Advertisersare the main source of revenue for privately owned broadcast media as well as print and internet media. However, the audience decides the amount advertisers pay depending on the number of viewers.A research conducted in Greek found out that social and professional status of Greek journalist improved as a result of commercialization of the Greek media market (Papathanassopoulos, 2001, p.511). Media personalities present themselves as professionals and also public leaders as they help shape opinions by the general public.Playing these roles facilitates these people to be more authoritative increasing the number of their spectators. Furthermore, these two characters that such journalists play are bound to clash because they are one person.

Trivialization

Trivialization has led to the need to censor media content. It entails assumptions and taking certain matters for granted. Some topics are ignored while others such as politicsappear on every page of media platforms. Therefore, trivialization promotes tabloidization. An interview on tabloid journalists in Denmark showed that these journalists had dissimilar values when compared to professional journalists and endures more pressure in their working environment (Skovsgaard, 2014, p.202).The media industry ought to formulate methods to do away with trivialization. Topics such as politics, sex and relationships topics that elicit emotions are prioritised while other sensitive matters are given little attention. The media does this to maximise on profits while undermining the quality of content that is produced. This is adamant in many magazines such as playboy and cosmopolitan. Media has failed to draw a line and clearly state what is right and wrong. Furthermore, this differs from societal norms that are clearly defined and can be reshaped by the media if it remains ignorance in some areas.This trend is disastrous since the objectives of media are not attained.Societal values and beliefs have been affected by this type of broadcasting encouraging decline of morality all over the world.

Popularization

New media determines howmedia content is perceived by the audience. The reception of the information is highly determined by how the media presents it.The media is accused of disdaining virtues whilepromoting vices such as violence. Sgarzi (2003, p.74) accuses movie producers of portraying violence as an exciting adventure that is pleasing. For example award winning movies such as “Dawn of the Dead” emphasise on violence as the protagonist fight in order to overpower evil. This has created a society that yearnsfor such vices making them acceptable in the society.

Ethics in New Media

New digital media has compromised cultural values and beliefs and deviated from these cultures to create a society that lacks moral values. Moreover, biased and selective reporting has characterised new media content across the globe.The media has concentrated on publishing content that is desired by consumers. Information that is likely to emit audience desires is published while topics that are ‘unwanted’ are not.Freedom of expression has been confused for the right tobroadcast appealing biased information. Laws that clearly define freedom of expression ought to include a clause that denies the spread of content that promotes vices in the society.

New media should be influential and assist national progress by solving conflicts not the opposite. Social, cultural and religious conflicts can be resolved by the use of media platforms.Through public forums a number of ideas are conveyed that cause tension and promote violence. Ethics recognises sacredness of human life and so should be the case for new media (Keeble, Tulloch and Zollman, 2010,p.16). Peace keeping should be a vital aspect cutting across all forms of new media.This will ensure the survival of humanity as different cultures tolerate each other internationally.

Effects of Media

As discussed earlier media development has witnessed huge transformation after the growth of technology.The associationbetween new media and public opinion is an enthusiastic process that hascontrolleddemocracy.News consumption has been found to influence the audience’s beliefs and attitude towards the subject. Pollsters are on trendas they seek the opinion of audience especially to rate political aspirants (McCombs et al, 2011,p.3). Moreover, the audience has also influenced mass media as a result of the demographic variables that characterise audiences (McCombs et al, 2011,p.4).Though the role of media is to address societal concerns, diversity of its consumers has led to unprofessional media practices (Howley, 2007, p. 345). These practices will lead to the downfall of this industry because they contradict values and beliefs that are founded from religions and society in general. New media ought to correlate with different institutions in then society in order to survive.

Conclusion

New media has evolved overtime and concentrates on shaping public opinion. The influence of electronic media is inescapable as different cultures interact in one platform. Freedom of expression has facilitated passing of information notwithstanding of cultural values and beliefs. Media content has moved away from the traditional way of conveying information but has focused on ensuring audience exhibit certain emotions after reading, listening or seeing the content.This has reduced quality of media industry as media houses strive to attract audience and not convey information. New media shapes human behaviour by directing audience perceptions unconsciously. On the other hand, society has alsoshaped media practices. Public opinion is highly sought in order for the publishing houses to come up with juicy information to acquire more consumers.

New media ought to recognise its role in causing tension and conflicts be it social, cultural or politically related.The issue of morality in media ethics is of concern to this industry. New media has become biased as it seeks various ways of maximising profits. It is difficult to cover all the issues that cut across media industry as the industry is quite unpredictable. Predictability is hindered by dynamic progress in technology and the rise of other media platforms. In conclusion, the issue of unbiased content should be dealt with accordingly in order for the industry to thrive.New media should aim to enhance peace among different cultures globally and create a peaceful world.

References

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Albarran, A. B. 2013.The Social Media Industry.UK, Routledge.

Bennett, J. 2008.Design Fundamentals for New Media. USA, Cengage Learning.

Berry, D. 2012.Journalism, Ethics and Society.USA, Ashgate.

Biagi, S. 2011. Media/Impact: An Introduction to Mass Media. USA, Cengage Learning.

Dijck, J. V.2009.Users like you? : Media Culture and Society. Theorisingagency in user-generated content, 31, pp. 41-58.

Doyle, G. 2013.Understanding Media Economics. USA, Sage.

Howley, K. 2007.Community Media and the Public Sphere:Media Studies. Key Issues and Debates. Los Angelous, Sage. pp. 342-360.

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Scannel, P. 1997. Public Service broadcasting and modern Public Life: The Media study reader. Tim O’Sullivan and Yvonne Jewkes (eds), pp. 60-71.

Sgarzi, J.M. 2003. The Media’s Influence on Behaviour and Violence: Is Society a Victim of the Media? Pearson Education.Available athttp://wps.pearsoncustom.com/wps/media/objects/2974/3046126/Ch04.pdf[Accessed 21st August 2014].

Skovsgaard, M. 2014.A tabloid mind? Professional values and organizational pressures as explanations of tabloid journalism. Media, Culture & Society.36(2) pp. 200-218.

Turner, T. 2004.“My Beef with Big Media”, Washington Monthly, Available athttp://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.turner.html[Accessed 21st August 2014].