Mass media is a term used to denote a section of the media specifically envisioned and designed to reach a very large audience such as the population of a nation state. It was coined in the 1920s with the advent of nationwide radio networks, mass-circulation newspapers and magazines, although mass media was present centuries before the term became common. The term public media has a similar meaning: it is the sum of the public mass distributors of news and entertainment across mediums such as newspapers, television, radio, broadcasting, which require union membership in large markets such as Newspaper Guild and AFTRA, & text publishers. The concept of mass media is complicated in some internet media as now individuals have a means of potential exposure on a scale comparable to what was previously restricted to select group of mass media producers. These internet media can include television, personal web pages, podcasts and blogs.
The communications audience has been viewed by some commentators as forming a mass society with special characteristics, notably atomization or lack of social connections, which render it especially susceptible to the influence of modern mass-media techniques such as advertising and propaganda. The term "MSM" or "mainstream media" has been widely used in the blogosphere in discussion of the mass media and media bias.
Types of drama in numerous cultures were probably the first mass-media, going back into the Ancient World. The first dated printed book known is the "Diamond Sutra", printed in China in 868 AD, although it is clear that books were printed earlier. Movable clay type was invented in 1041 in China. However, due to the slow spread of literacy to the masses in China, and the relatively high cost of paper there, the earliest printed mass-medium was probably European popular prints from about 1400. Although these were produced in huge numbers, very few early examples survive, and even most known to be printed before about 1600 have not survived. Johannes Gutenberg printed the first book on a printing press with movable type in 1453. This invention transformed the way the world received printed materials, although books remained too expensive really to be called a mass-medium for at least a century after that.
Newspapers developed around from 1612, with the first example in English in 1620  ; but they took until the nineteenth century to reach a mass-audience directly.
During the 20th century, the growth of mass media was driven by technology that allowed the massive duplication of material. Physical duplication technologies such as printing, record pressing and film duplication allowed the duplication of books, newspapers and movies at low prices to huge audiences. Radio and television allowed the electronic duplication of information for the first time.
Mass media had the economics of linear replication: a single work could make money proportional to the number of copies sold, and as volumes went up, units costs went down, increasing profit margins further. Vast fortunes were to be made in mass media. In a democratic society, independent media serve to educate the public/electorate about issues regarding government and corporate entities (see Media influence). Some consider the concentration of media ownership to be a grave threat to democracy.
- c1400: Appearance of European popular prints.
- 1453: Johnannes Gutenberg uses his printing press to print the Bible, making books freely accessible to many people during the Renaissance.
- 1620: First newspaper (or coranto) in English.
- 1825: Nicéphore Niépce takes the first permanent photograph.
- 1830: Telegraphy is independently developed in England and the United States.
- 1876: First telephone call made by Alexander Graham Bell.
- 1878: Thomas Alva Edison patents the phonograph.
- 1890: First juke box in San Francisco's Palais Royal Saloon.
- 1890: Telephone wires are installed in Manhattan.
- 1894: Thomas Edison patents the Kinetograph and Kinetoscope, which were invented in his laboratories by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson.
- 1895: Cinematograph invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiere, based on Edison's patented Kinetograph.
- 1896: Hollerith founds the Tabulating Machine Co. It will become IBM in 1924.
- 1897: Guglielmo Marconi patents the wireless telegraph.
- 1898: Loudspeaker is invented.
- 1902: Daily Nation is started in Kenya.
- 1906: The Story of the Kelly Gang from Australia is world's first feature length film.
- 1909: RMS Republic, a palatial White Star passenger liner, uses the Marconi Wireless for a distress at sea. She had been in a collision. This is the first "breaking news" mass media event.
- 1912: Air mail begins.
- 1913: Edison transfers from cylinder recordings to more easily reproducible discs.
- 1913: The portable phonograph is manufactured.
- 1915: Radiotelephone carries voice from Virginia to the Eiffel Tower.
- 1916: Tunable radios invented.
- 1919: Short-wave radio is invented.
- 1920: KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh, United States, becoming the world's first commercial radio station.
- 1922: BBC is formed and broadcasting to London.
- 1924: KDKA created a short-wave radio transmitter.
- 1925: BBC broadcasting to the majority of the UK.
- 1926: NBC is formed.
- 1927: The Jazz Singer: The first motion picture with sounds debuts.
- 1927: Philo Taylor Farnsworth debuts the first electronic television system.
- 1928: The Teletype was introduced.
- 1933: Edwin Armstrong invents FM Radio.
- 1935: First telephone call made around the world.
- 1936: BBC opened world's first regular (then defined as at least 200 lines) high definition television service.
- 1938: The War of the Worlds is broadcast on October 30, causing mass hysteria.
- 1939: Western Union introduces coast-to-coast fax service.
- 1939: Regular electronic television broadcasts begin in the US.
- 1939: The wire recorder is invented in the US.
- 1940: The first commercial television station, WNBT (now WNBC-TV)/New York signs on the air.
- 1948: Cable television becomes available in the US.
- 1951: The first color televisions go on sale.
- 1957: Sputnik is launched and sends back signals from near earth orbit.
- 1959: Xerox makes the first copier.
- 1960: Echo I, a US balloon in orbit, reflects radio signals to Earth.
- 1962: Telstar satellite transmits an image across the Atlantic.
- 1963: Audio cassette is invented in the Netherlands.
- 1963: Martin Luther King gives "I have a dream" speech.
- 1965: Vietnam War becomes first war to be televised.
- 1967: Newspapers, magazines start to digitize production.
- 1969: Man's first landing on the moon is broadcast to 600 million people around the globe.
- 1970s: ARPANET, progenitor to the internet developed.
- 1971: Intel debuts the microprocessor.
- 1972: Pong becomes the first video game to win widespread popularity.
- 1975: The MITS Altair 8800 becomes the first pre-assembled desktop computer available on the market.
- 1976: JVC introduces VHS videotape - becomes the standard consumer format in the 1980s & 1990s.
- 1980: CNN launches.
- 1980: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones put news database online.
- 1981: The IBM PC is introduced on 12 August.
- 1982: Philips and Sony put the Compact Disc on the Japanese market. It arrives on the US market early the following year.
- 1983: Cellular phones begin to appear.
- 1984: Apple Macintosh is introduced.
- 1985: CD-ROMs begin to be sold.
- 1985: Pay-per-view channels open for business.
- 1987: Japanese Digital Audio Tape technology arrives both in the United States and in Western Europe.
- 1991: World Wide Web (WWW) publicly released by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN.
- 1993: CERN announces that the WWW will be free for anyone to use.
- 1994: Mosaic became the first popular World Wide Web browser because of the graphical interface.
- 1996: First DVD players and discs are available in Japan. Twister is the first film on DVD.
- 1999: Napster contributes to the popularization of MP3.
- 2001: The News coverage of 9/11 shown all around the world live broadcasting to many.
- 2004: Howard Dean was the first Presidential candidate to create a blog.
- 2005: Media forms began to converge. The Palm Pilot and the BlackBerry became popular. E-mail accounts were now accessible via telephones.
- 2006: Public Meeting to Help Define "Natural" Label
Mass media can be used for various purposes:
- Advocacy, both for business and social concerns. This can include advertising, marketing, propaganda, public relations, and political communication.
- Enrichment and education.
- Entertainment, traditionally through performances of acting, music, and sports, along with light reading; since the late 20th century also through video and computer games.
- Journalism- news and blogging.
- Public service announcements.
Claimed negative characteristics of mass media
Another description of Mass Media is central media which implies:
- An inability to transmit tacit knowledge (or perhaps it can only transfer bad tacit). Corporate propaganda.
- The manipulation of large groups of people through media outlets, for the benefit of a particular political party and/or group of people.
- Marshall McLuhan, one of the biggest critics in media's history, brought up the idea that "the medium is the message."
- Bias, political or otherwise, towards favoring a certain individual, outcome or resolution of an event
News-oriented journalism is sometimes described as the "first rough draft of history" (attributed to Phil Graham), because journalists often record important events, producing news articles on short deadlines. While under pressure to be first with their stories, news media organizations usually edit and proofread their reports prior to publication, adhering to each organization's standards of accuracy, quality and style. Many news organizations claim proud traditions of holding government officials and institutions accountable to the public, while media critics have raised questions about holding the press itself accountable.
Public relations is the art and science of managing communication between an organization and its key publics to build, manage and sustain its positive image. Examples include:
- Corporations use marketing public relations (MPR) to convey information about the products they manufacture or services they provide to potential customers to support their direct sales efforts. Typically, they support sales in the short and long term, establishing and burnishing the corporation's branding for a strong, ongoing market.
- Corporations also use public-relations as a vehicle to reach legislators and other politicians, seeking favorable tax, regulatory, and other treatment, and they may use public relations to portray themselves as enlightened employers, in support of human-resources recruiting programs.
- Non-profit organizations, including schools and universities, hospitals, and human and social service agencies, use public relations in support of awareness programs, fund-raising programs, staff recruiting, and to increase patronage of their services.
- Politicians use public relations to attract votes and raise money, and, when successful at the ballot box, to promote and defend their service in office, with an eye to the next election or, at career’s end, to their legacy.
Electronic media and print media include:
- Broadcasting, in the narrow sense, for radio and television.
- Various types of discs or tape. In the 20th century, these were mainly used for music. Video and computer uses followed.
- Film, most often used for entertainment, but also for documentaries.
- Internet, which has many uses and presents both opportunities and challenges. Blogs and podcasts, such as news, music, pre-recorded speech and video)
- Publishing, in the narrow sense, meaning on paper, mainly via books, magazines, and newspapers.
- Video games, which have developed into a mass form of media since cutting-edge devices such as the PlayStation 3, XBox 360, and Wii broadened their use.
Audio recording and reproduction
Sound recording and reproduction is the electrical or mechanical re-creation and/or amplification of sound, often as music. This involves the use of audio equipment such as microphones, recording devices and loudspeakers. From early beginnings with the invention of the phonograph using purely mechanical techniques, the field has advanced with the invention of electrical recording, the mass production of the 78 record, the magnetic wire recorder followed by the tape recorder, the vinyl LP record. The invention of the compact cassette in the 1960s, followed by Sony's Walkman, gave a major boost to the mass distribution of music recordings, and the invention of digital recording and the compact disc in 1983 brought massive improvements in ruggedness and quality. The most recent developments have been in digital audio players.
An album is a collection of related audio tracks, released together to the public, usually commercially.
The term record album originated from the fact that 78 RPM Phonograph disc records were kept together in a book resembling a photo album. The first collection of records to be called an "album" was Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, release in April 1909 as a four-disc set by Odeon records. It retailed for 16 shillings — about £15 in modern currency.
A music video (also promo) is a short film or video that accompanies a complete piece of music, most commonly a song. Modern music videos were primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. Although the origins of music videos go back much further, they came into their own in the 1980s, when Music Television's format was based around them. In the 1980s, the term "rock video" was often used to describe this form of entertainment, although the term has fallen into disuse.
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and/or video signals (programs) to a number of recipients ("listeners" or "viewers") that belong to a large group. This group may be the public in general, or a relatively large audience within the public. Thus, an Internet channel may distribute text or music world-wide, while a public address system in (for example) a workplace may broadcast very limited ad hoc soundbites to a small population within its range.
The sequencing of content in a broadcast is called a schedule. With all technological endeavours a number of technical terms and slang are developed please see the list of broadcasting terms for a glossary of terms used.
Television and radio programs are distributed through radio broadcasting over frequency bands that are highly regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. Such regulation includes determination of the width of the bands, range, licencing, types of receivers and transmitters used, and acceptable content.
Cable programs are often broadcast simultaneously with radio and television programs, but have a more limited audience. By coding signals and having decoding equipment in homes, cable also enables subscription-based channels and pay-per-view services.
A broadcasting organisation may broadcast several programs at the same time, through several channels (frequencies), for example BBC One and Two. On the other hand, two or more organisations may share a channel and each use it during a fixed part of the day. Digital radio and digital television may also transmit multiplexed programming, with several channels compressed into one ensemble.
When broadcasting is done via the Internet the term webcasting is often used. In 2004 a new phenomenon occurred when a number of technologies combined to produce podcasting. Podcasting is an asynchronous broadcast/narrowcast medium, with one of the main proponents being Adam Curry and his associates the Podshow.
Broadcasting forms a very large segment of the mass media. Broadcasting to a very narrow range of audience is called narrowcasting. The term "broadcast" was coined by early radio engineers from the midwestern United States.
Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as the field in general. The origin of the name comes from the fact that photographic film (also called filmstock) has historically been the primary medium for recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms exist — motion pictures (or just pictures or "picture"), the silver screen, photoplays, the cinema, picture shows, flicks — and commonly movies.
Films are produced by recording people and objects with cameras, or by creating them using animation techniques and/or special effects. They comprise a series of individual frames, but when these images are shown rapidly in succession, the illusion of motion is given to the viewer. Flickering between frames is not seen due to an effect known as persistence of vision — whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. Also of relevance is what causes the perception of motion; a psychological effect identified as beta movement.
Film is considered by many to be an important art form; films entertain, educate, enlighten and inspire audiences. Any film can become a worldwide attraction, especially with the addition of dubbing or subtitles that translate the film message. Films are also artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them.
The Internet (also known simply as "the Net" or "the Web") can be briefly understood as "a network of networks". Specifically, it is the worldwide, publicly accessible network of interconnected computer networks that transmit data by packet switching using the standard Internet Protocol (IP). It consists of millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, and governmental networks, which together carry various information and services, such as electronic mail, online chat, file transfer, and the interlinked Web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web.
Contrary to some common usage, the Internet and the World Wide Web are not synonymous: the Internet is a collection of interconnected computer networks, linked by copper wires, fiber-optic cables, wireless connections etc.; the Web is a collection of interconnected documents, linked by hyperlinks and URLs. The World Wide Web is accessible via the Internet, along with many other services including e-mail, file sharing and others described below.
Toward the end of the 20th century, the advent of the World Wide Web marked the first era in which any individual could have a means of exposure on a scale comparable to that of mass media. For the first time, anyone with a web site can address a global audience, although serving to high levels of web traffic is still relatively expensive. It is possible that the rise of peer-to-peer technologies may have begun the process of making the cost of bandwidth manageable. Although a vast amount of information, imagery, and commentary (i.e. "content") has been made available, it is often difficult to determine the authenticity and reliability of information contained in web pages (in many cases, self-published). The invention of the Internet has also allowed breaking news stories to reach around the globe within minutes. This rapid growth of instantaneous, decentralized communication is often deemed likely to change mass media and its relationship to society. "Cross-media" means the idea of distributing the same message through different media channels. A similar idea is expressed in the news industry as "convergence". Many authors understand cross-media publishing to be the ability to publish in both print and on the web without manual conversion effort. An increasing number of wireless devices with mutually incompatible data and screen formats make it even more difficult to achieve the objective “create once, publish many”.
The internet is quickly becoming the center of mass media. Everything is becoming accessible via the internet. Instead of picking up a newspaper, or watching the 10 o'clock news, people will log onto the internet to get the news they want, when they want it. Many workers listen to the radio through the internet while sitting at their desk. Games are played through the internet. Blogging has become a huge form of media, popular through the internet. Even the education system relies on the internet. Teachers can contact the entire class by sending one e-mail. They have web pages where students can get another copy of the class outline or assignments. Some classes even have class blogs where students must post weekly, and are graded on their contributions. The internet thus far has become an extremely dominant form of media.
Publishing is the industry concerned with the production of literature or information – the activity of making information available for public view. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers.
Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works such as books and newspapers. With the advent of digital information systems and the Internet, the scope of publishing has expanded to include websites, blogs, and the like.
As a business, publishing includes the development, marketing, production, and distribution of newspapers, magazines, books, literary works, musical works, software, other works dealing with information.
Publication is also important as a legal concept; (1) as the process of giving formal notice to the world of a significant intention, for example, to marry or enter bankruptcy, and; (2) as the essential precondition of being able to claim defamation; that is, the alleged libel must have been published.
A book is a collection of sheets of paper, parchment or other material with a piece of text written on them, bound together along one edge within covers. A book is also a literary work or a main division of such a work. A book produced in electronic format is known as an e-book.
Publishers may produce low-cost, pre-proof editions known as galleys or 'bound proofs' for promotional purposes, such as generating reviews in advance of publication. Galleys are usually made as cheaply as possible, since they are not intended for sale.
Magazines are typically published weekly, biweekly, monthly, bimonthly or quarterly, with a date on the cover that is in advance of the date it is actually published. They are often printed in color on coated paper, and are bound with a soft cover.
Magazines fall into two broad categories: consumer magazines and business magazines. In practice, magazines are a subset of periodicals, distinct from those periodicals produced by scientific, artistic, academic or special interest publishers which are subscription-only, more expensive, narrowly limited in circulation, and often have little or no advertising.
Magazines can be classified as:
- General interest magazines (e.g. Frontline, India Today, The Week, etc)
- Special interest magazines (women's, sports, business, scuba diving, etc)
A newspaper is a publication containing news and information and advertising, usually printed on low-cost paper called newsprint. It may be general or special interest, most often published daily or weekly. The first printed newspaper was published in 1605, and the form has thrived even in the face of competition from technologies such as radio and television. Recent developments on the Internet are posing major threats to its business model, however. Paid circulation is declining in most countries, and advertising revenue, which makes up the bulk of a newspaper's income, is shifting from print to online; some commentators, nevertheless, point out that historically new media such as radio and television did not entirely supplant existing .
A software publisher is a publishing company in the software industry between the developer and the distributor. In some companies, two or all three of these roles may be combined (and indeed, may reside in a single person, especially in the case of shareware).
Software publishers often license software from developers with specific limitations, such as a time limit or geographical region. The terms of licensing vary enormously, and are typically secret.
Developers may use publishers to reach larger or foreign markets, or to avoid focussing on marketing. Or publishers may use developers to create software to meet a market need that the publisher has identified.
Mass wire media
Mass wire media is a new frontier of news reporting in the high-tech age. A few decades ago news reporting was through newspapers and radio and television. The radio broadcasts that were made famous by Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II changed the way radio was looked at. These fireside chats made the radio news and news radio. Things are different now as we are witnessing a revolution of people-oriented reporting in real time and other times. This element of intimate knowledge of the event or story being reported has dramatically changed the way we all view news stories.
This is called by some the Social Media Revolution. This revolution has intrinsically altered the way news is reported almost the way it happens. The trend of people-oriented reporting is only on the rise as reporting news becomes more personal and more accurate.
A video game is a computer-controlled game where a video display such as a monitor or television is the primary feedback device. The term "computer game" also includes games which display only text (and which can therefore theoretically be played on a teletypewriter) or which use other methods, such as sound or vibration, as their primary feedback device, but there are very few new games in these categories. There always must also be some sort of input device, usually in the form of button/joystick combinations (on arcade games), a keyboard & mouse/trackball combination (computer games), or a controller (console games), or a combination of any of the above. Also, more esoteric devices have been used for input. Usually there are rules and goals, but in more open-ended games the player may be free to do whatever they like within the confines of the virtual universe.
In common usage, a "computer game" or a "PC game" refers to a game that is played on a personal computer. "Console game" refers to one that is played on a device specifically designed for the use of such, while interfacing with a standard television set. "Arcade game" refers to a game designed to be played in an establishment in which patrons pay to play on a per-use basis. "Video game" (or "videogame") has evolved into a catchall phrase that encompasses the aforementioned along with any game made for any other device, including, but not limited to, mobile phones, PDAs, advanced calculators, etc.
Non-mass or "personal" media (point-to-point and person-to-person communication) include:
Arguably, blogs and other first-person, web-based communications are non-mass media.