The significance of mass media for human life cannot be overestimated. This is true because beyond the physical requirements of food and shelter everyone needs communication, entertainment and information. And it's mainly mass media that can satisfy all these requirements at the same time.
Mass media usually are thought of as sources of news and entertainment; they also carry messages of persuasion. Important, though often overlooked, is how mass media messages bind people into communities even into nations. So the main functions of mass media are:
• information source
• entertainment source
• persuasion forum
• binding influence
Mass media are pervasive in modern life. Through the mass media we learn almost everything we know about the world beyond our immediate environs. How would we know about international mews without the help of newspapers, television and other mass media? An informed and involved citizenry is possible in modern democracy only when the mass media work well. Also without the mass media our expressions would be limited to people within earshot and to we write letters, but the mass media make our audience larger.
Another important function of the mass media is that it serves as an information source. The heart of the media's informing function lies in messages called news because news is reports on things that people want or need to know. Advertising is also a part of the mass media's information function. The media especially newspapers are bulletin boards for trade and commerce; they also can provide full information such as classified advertisements.
The mass media can be wonderful entertainers bringing together huge audiences. No matter how many people saw Charlie Chaplin on the vaudeville stage, more people saw him in movie houses. Almost all mass media have an entertainment component. The thrust of the American movie industry is almost wholly entertainment although there can be a strong information and persuasive elements. Even the most serious newspapers have occasional humour columns. Most mass media are a mix of information and entertainment.
People form opinion from the information and interpretations to which they are exposed, which means that even news coverage has an element of persuasion. The most obvious of the media messages designed to persuade is advertising. Ads exhort the audience to action - to go out and buy toothpaste, cornflakes, automobiles, etc. Public relations usually also tries to persuade and shape attitudes by persuading the mass media audiences to see this or that fact in particular light.
The mass media bind communities together by giving messages that become a shared experience. A rural newspaper editor may not be thinking how his work creates a common identity among readers but it does. The town newspaper is something everyone in town has in common. The importance of mass media in binding people into nationhood is clear in every revolution and coup d'etat.
So in the conclusion I'd like to say that mass media play a great role in our modern society and it seems to me that our life would be dull and uninteresting without these sources of information, communication and entertainment.
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