Relationship Between Media and Society

1913 Words May 4th, 2008 8 Pages
The following essay will concentrate on the reciprocal relationship between the media and society, focusing on journalism in particular. A brief overview of the terms used in this essay will be used first to create a common understanding. This will be achieved by discussing theories regarding mass media and journalism as separate entities. The two will then be combined to discuss how mass media affects , and is affected by society. This will be done by referring to the many theories regarding journalism and mass media and how thy correspond with society using theories such as the normative press theories.

To understand the effect of something, one first needs to understand the subject itself. Therefore to discuss the effect of mass
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That is why the character of the news and the quality of the journalism are important; they influence our thoughts, our experiences, our cultures”.

Michael O’Shaughnessy and Jane Stadler (Journalism 2A Reader) have analyzed the relationship between society and the media by examining three key areas namely: contemporary society, how the media works, the effects and influence of the media on society. O’Shaughnessy and Stadler firstly noted three characteristics of contemporary society namely: change and crisis, inequality and difference, and maintaining consent in western democracies. The next area they focused on was the way in which media works. They gave three “staring point positions” on how the media works. The first, representation: “media products do not show or represent the real world; they construct and re-present reality”. The second, interpretation: “the media are just one of the ways by which we and society make sense of the world, or construct the world”. The final one, evaluation: “the media are owned, controlled, and created by certain groups who make sense of society on behalf of others”. From this it is clear that mass media is a cultural phenomenon which exists in a societal context.

Another way to discuss the effect of media on society would be to examine the normative press theories. In order to understand the normative press theories a brief description of the terms will be given. Normative refers to something being “normal”, or of