|Hardly anyone is unaware of the term 'mass media'. Daily we use mass media sources to learn the latest domestic and international news, find necessary information, to entertain or to listen to the weather forecast. The importance of mass media at present is huge. The media mould and form buying decisions, introduce new goods and services, educate and make us think. Mass media play a big role in forming and reflecting public opinion, bringing people together. Mass media strongly impact society, since it can reach a wider audience. They include four main sources: TV, press, radio and the Internet. Each has its own characteristics and functions.
Everyday millions of papers and glossy magazines are published around the world. The list of them seems unlimited. There are various international and local papers, dailies and weeklies, broadsheets that cater for the better educated readers and popular newspapers that sell to a much larger readership. Some papers give prominance to politics, financial and commercial issues; whereas others concentrate on 'human interest stories'.
The advent of radio made it possible for a much larger audience of people to have access to the latest information. We ordinarily switch on the radio when driving a car to listen to the newsflash and reports presented live at the scene. Listeners are especially keen on phone-in chat-shows and music charts.
According to estimates, most people consider television their major source of news. Our everyday life is frequently arranged according to the programme schedule. We have breakfast, with TV being on. We turn it on to watch our favourite series and talk-shows, to view newly released films, music videos and news programmes.
Whereas TV broadcasts are scheduled, the Web allows us to have access to information and entertainment day and night. The Web contains vast databases of information in all languages. It is well-known for the selection of standpoints presented, large collections of tracks and movies, electronic encyclopaedias designed to facilitate the search on the Web, e-books and sites of magazines and papers.
Life without mass media would be monotonous and limited. Nonetheless, 'addiction' to some sources of amusement, such as watching TV and browsing on the Web for hours, can badly influence health and interpersonal communication.