Mass media is a comprehensive term embracing television, radio, motion pictures, and large-circulation newspapers and magazines. It refers to much more than the journalistic aspects of the instruments of popular communication. The mass media often function as the locus of social control and the source of popular culture. They help create historical events, teach values, and by virtue of the huge commercial enterprises they represent, affect the viability of free societies.
There are five major fields of journalism: newspapers, news services, periodicals, radio and television. Radio and television perform information only briefly, but quickly. Newspapers include full reports on different topics. News agencies provide them with the latest information.
NEWS AGENCIES News agencies are local, national, international, or technical organizations that gathers and distributes news, selling theyr services to newspapers, periodicals, and broadcasters; reports are also available as part of some on-line computer services. The major news organizations in the U. S. are: the Associated Press (AP) , founded in 1892 as the Associated Press of Illinois, which adopted its present name in 1900; the United Press Association, called the United Press (UP) , founded in 1892, which became an affiliate of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain; and the International News Service (INS) , founded by W. R. Hearst in 1906; in 1958 INS was merged with UP, forming United Press International (UPI) . Two major European news agencies are the Reuter Telegram Company of London, founded in 1851 and known simply as Reuters; and Agence France-Presse, founded in 1835 as Agence Havas of Paris. Some countries have government-owned and -controlled agencies. News agencies transmit copy through the use of the telegraph, telephone wires, underwater cables, and communications satellites. Many offer their clients photographs, news analyses, and special features.
NEWSPAPER Newspaper is a publication issued periodically, usually daily or weekly, to present information about current events. The Roman Acta diurna (c. 59 B. C.) , posted daily in public places, was the first recorded newspaper. The invention and spread of printing in the 15th cent. was the major factor in the early development of the newspaper. The first daily paper in England was the Daily Courant (1702) . English newspapers began to reach the masses in the 19th cent. Important English newspapers of today are The Times of London (founded in 1785) and the Manchester Guardian. One of the oldest continental newspapers, Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, appeared in Germany in 1609; the Nieuwe Tijdingen was published in Antwerp in 1616; and the first French newspaper, the Gazette, was founded in 1631. Important newspapers of the world today include Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) , Figaro (France) , Osservatore romano (Vatican) , Asahi Shimbun (Japan) , and the Times of India (Delhi) . The first newspaper to appear in the American colonies was a newssheet, Publick Occurrences, which was issued in Boston in 1690. During the 19th cent. many famous U. S. newspapers appeared: the New York Evening Post (1801) ; the New York Sun, founded (1833) by B. H. Day; the New York Herald (1835) ; and the New York Times (1851. Other important American newspapers are the Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; Christian Science Monitor (Boston) ; Atlanta Constitution; Chicago Tribune; USA Today, a national paper; and Wall Street Journal (N. Y. C.) , which in 1980 became the best-selling daily newspaper in the U. S. In the 20th cent. great newspaper empires were built in England and in the U. S. By 1980 the Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch was publishing newspapers in Australia, Britain, and the U. S. Since the invention of the telegraph, which facilitated the rapid gathering of news, the great news agencies have sold their services to many newspapers. Improvements in typesetting and printing (especially the web press) have made possible the publication of huge editions at great speed. During the 1970s such technological developments as photocomposition and the use of communications satellites to deliver news and photographs revolutionized the newspaper industry. The advent of computer technology has allowed many newspapers to offer information through commercial on-line computer services. but they are able to spare more attention and space to each problem. The newspaper articles give much more information about events. That is is the main advantage of newspapers.
Newspapers cover more stories than any ather news media does. They also cover stories in great detail. However, the newspapers present information later then radio or TV. The great advantage of newspapers over radio and TV is that they can report stories in depth. Readers can skip items that doesn’t interest them. Newspapers also can print certain material that appeals to only a small percentage of readers.
PERIODICALS Periodicals are publications issued regularly, distinguished from the newspaper in format, in that its pages are smaller and usually bound, and in that it is published weekly, monthly, or quarterly, rather than daily. Periodicals range from technical and scholarly journals to illustrated magazines for mass circulation. The French Journal des scavans (1665-1791) is considered the first periodical, whereas the English monthly Gentleman's Magazine (1731-1868) was the first to use the word magazine in the sense of a periodical for entertainment. Famous American periodicals include Godey's Lady's Book (1830-98) , edited by Sarah J. Hale and famous for its colored fashion prints; the Atlantic Monthly (1857-) and Harper's Magazine (1850-) , both noted for serious essays and fiction; the extremely popular Saturday Evening Post (1821-1971) and Ladies' Home Journal (1883-) ; McClure's Magazine (1893-1928) , which published many articles by the Muckrakers; and The New Yorker (1925-) known for its urbane humor and high literary standards. Specialized magazines include the news magazines Time (1923-) and Newsweek (1933-) ; the National Geographic Magazine (1888-) , devoted to natural history and anthropology; Ebony (1946-) , a picture weekly directed toward African Americans; Playboy (1953-) and other periodicals devoted to sex and sexuality; Ms. (1972-) , a forum for the women's liberation movement; and the zany, satirical National Lampoon (1970-) . Computer advances have made possible the delivery of magazine articles through on-line services and have begun to spawn entirely electronic periodicals, such as The Online Journal of Current Critical Trials (1992-) , a professional medical journal.
RADIO The first regularly scheduled radio broadcasts in the U. S. began in 1920. The sale of advertising began in 1922, establishing commercial broadcasting as an industry. A coast-to-coast hookup began early in 1924, and expansion of both audience and transmission facilities continued rapidly. Radio is generally the first of news media to report a local story or a news service bulletin. A radio announcer can interrupt a programme with a news flash as soon as the report comes in. Most stations present regular news bulletins every half-hour or hour. The national radio broadcast major news events. However, most radio news bulletins do not report the news in detail. In a five minute broadcast the stories average less then 30 seconds each. Radio also provide weather forecasts and traffic information.
TELEVISION Experiments in broadcasting television began in the 1920s but were interrupted by World War II. By 1992 the U. S. had 1,505 television stations, and cable television systems in the U. S. served over 56 million households. Television signals are also now transmitted from satellites direct to household satellite dishes.
Television is the main source of news for many households around the world. TV does what none of the other media can: it brings the sight and sounds of some important news events by means of filmed, taped or live reports. Like regular radio news bulletins, daily TV news programmes provide only brief accounts of relatively new stories. But the visual aspect of TV news story can often help viewers understand the story. In addition to daily news reports, television covers special news events. Coverage of such an event may replace many hours of regular TV shows. Television also broadcasts in-depth programmes that help explain a story or subject. Such programmes, which run from half an hour to three hours, include docummentaries and interview programmes. Most docummentaries are filmed or taped. They may perform such subjects as crime, foreign policy, or race relations. Interview programmes, which are usually broadcast live, may consist of a panel of journalists who ask questions of a major figure in the news.
The importance of mass media and journalism has greatly increased in recent years. In democratic countries, people depend on the news media for the fair and truthful reporting of current events. Freedom of the press encourages the exchange of ideas among citizens. In governmet-controlled countries, however, the news media serve as an instrument of the state. The struggle against censorship began in England in the 16th-17th cent. In the American colonies it began in 1734. Only 20% of the world’s people live in countries that have a free press. But in government-controlled countries journalists can still broadcast or write only what national leaders allow. Media forms public opinion now. A lot of politicians strive to possess mass media. Media carries great possibilities for society, but they are not only good ones. Nobody should forget, that media- is the fourth power.