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Soc 101 Mass Media

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Mass Media

Jason Schmohe

SOC 101

Cari Beecham-Bautista

11 December 2011

Mass Media

Mass media is the lifeline of information between the world and the rest of us. We sit at home watching the television, paging through the internet, or fingering through the newspaper and in many cases we wouldn't know about what is going on thousands of miles away if it weren't for the media. The view of what the media is, what it is supposed to be, and where it is headed are different in many peoples perspectives. There are a lot of different opinions about the answers to these questions, but there are three main sociological points of view, the functionalist, the conflict, and the interactionism. There are many points that all of these different theorists would agree on, and many that they would disagree on.

Mass media is defined in the dictionary as "a means of public communication reaching a large audience". It is typically broken down into eight main mass media industries; books, newspapers, magazines, recordings, radio, movies, television, and the internet. The other controversial piece that may someday be in this group to make it nine industries is the cell phone. It is just as capable to access any news station or web page through your cell phone as it is to look on a computer. The fact is that as the world evolves and becomes more advanced so do the ways that we attain information about the world.

When breaking down the different theories that are involved in the perceptions of mass media, the one that must be discussed is the functionalist theory. Functionalists believe that the media is a form of communication that is used throughout the world to educate people on the current events that are taking place around them. The immediate transfer of information throughout the world brings a better understanding of different cultural views, and actions of different social mediums. The mass flow of information shrinks the perception of the world for others as it makes them feel closer to the stories that are happening as they are seeing them often as they happen.

The conflict theorists are the next groups views. They believe that the new surge in technology actually takes away from the individual persons knowledge on what is going on. The angle taken is one where they believe that the new technology replaces the old and that small businesses are pushed out of the equation. This causes there to be a breakdown when talking about mass media. This on the other hand can cause growth in newer areas, in this case it could be things like twitter, or blogs.

The interactionalists focus on the interaction between people as

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