Mass Communication Theory

Mass Communication Theory


Abstract
My research paper deals with the role of mass media. I will analyze the modification of traditional sources and introduction of new ones. I’ll try to show the importance of mass media on the example of recent events in Virginia. People get to know about recent incidents in amazingly short period of time. All media sources are highly beneficial in this way. But on the other hand people get lost in wide variety of modern and traditional means of communication. Magazines, newspapers, TV, Internet resources contain great amounts of information. All of them regularly inform people of political, scientific and cultural affairs. It is important to analyze the meaning of new mass media from theoretical and historical perspective.


The 16th of April will go down in US history for the most violent massacre in the higher institution. Mass Media will undoubtedly rivet attention to this tragic event for a long time to pass. Its aim is to analyze the massacre from several points. Firstly it gives general information and then investigates circumstances and finds out reasons. The criminal opened fire in the dormitory and killed two fellows early in the morning. Later he killed at least 32 people and committed suicide. After the murderer has killed 2 people in the dormitory, he entered the classroom with 20 people in it. The professor was shot first. Then he began to shoot at students. Some of them hid under the desks, others tried to jump out of the window. Journalists also take into account evidences of witnesses. Thus, students admitted the killer looked like a normal Asian guy. He didn’t say a word but just entered the classroom and opened fire. Only four students safely survived. Others were either killed or wounded. Students say the most dreadful thing was his thoughtful concentrated face, which looked both angry and frightened.
Nowadays technological development helps to spread news faster than it was before. Detailed information is provided by newspapers, journals, TV-programs and Internet. Mass media provides evidences of students, police officers, parents and government. According to police evidences, the murderer locked entrance doors before his violent assault. When police finally managed to get into the faculty building the criminal was already dead. Police tries to clear out intentions of the murderer. A range of mass media reported that this man came to the USA from South Korea last year. It is suspected that he wasn’t even the University student. The main drawback of mass media is uncertainty. Although it spreads information very fast, there appear different versions of the same event. One of them for example is that there were two different people who shot in the dormitory and in the classroom. It is noted that the murderer was described differently. Although local police officers admitted there were apparently two of them, American mass media sources assure that the murderer was one person. Students blame administration for not taking measures before the real massacre began. The Technological University has approximately 26,000 students. Victims of this incident were sent to hospitals. Students and professors were evacuated and classes were cancelled for unknown period of time. Local authorities declared state of emergency. Having analyzed various sources of mass media, I must admit that most of them emphasize the similarity of bloody shootings in the USA. The majority of them occur at schools and other educational institutions. But this one is the most violent and tragic murder ever known.
In our fast-moving world it is especially important to get recent information in time, to analyze causes, consequences and future perspectives. Comparative analysis is also important. With the appearance of new mass media sources people are able to know about incidents in any corner of the world, get photos and video reports by means of Internet. Free trade of fire arms allows buying weapons without strict checking. At the same time it influences the number of crimes. We should take into account such factors as urbanization, statistics of local crimes, alcohol and drug consumption, etc. It turned out that available weapons increase the chances to be killed. In states with the highest concentration of legal fire arms, the number of violent crimes is 60% higher than in other states. It is easier to buy weapons here. From different kinds of mass media we get to know that in European countries the situation is often quite similar. In Swiss for example it is allowed to have a gun. On the contrary in Luxemburg it is prohibited. However Swiss has lower rate of crimes than Luxemburg, although according to political, economic and ethnic characteristics, the countries are almost identical.
Americans now painfully react to any suspicious accidents being afraid of other attacks. The whole world is horrified by the bloodiest massacre in a public place ever known in the US history. Neither police nor journalists are able to find out the reasons for such violence. Some people see the connection with other similar murders. Most young criminals acted in accordance with violent video games. This time the criminal’s computer will surely shed light on his intentions and motifs. Such aggression was presumably caused by bloody computer games, violence TV programs and films, obscure music and many other things which influence people’s psyche. It is actually another side of mass media sources, lack of norms and limits. Mass media has a considerable impact on people’s mind, his interests, social status and behavior (Altschul, 1984). The role of mass media is always enormous when dealing with crimes and murders. It not only informs general public about events, but may be helpful in other ways too. Virginia students who were locked down in the faculty building searched in the World Wide Web for circumstances of what was happening. People got used to fast and efficient work of mass media and treat it as a way to get detailed information.
Speaking about the role of mass media, I can’t help saying about its historical development. Nowadays people see the fast development of new means of communication and media sources. But innovations tend to replace old stereotyped mass media. For example at the top of its popularity TV displaced radio, while in recent years more and more people prefer Internet to any other mass media sources. With the increasing popularity of music, new kinds of sound recordings are being invented. Traditional cassettes were gradually replaced by discs, which are more beneficial and convenient. Today’s society prefers sources which carry more facts, statistics, and illustrations, historic and present analyses. Nowadays World Wide Web becomes the most efficient and fast way of receiving information of any kind. In the course of time printed newspapers were replaced by electronic ones. Internet becomes especially valuable because it provides great amount of data and at the same time gives links to other sources related to the topic. New mass media has more benefits than old one. It gives an opportunity to consider certain events from different points of view and future perspectives. Unlike traditional newspapers, for example, electronic ones provide wider range of information which helps to understand the subject deeper. In the course of time ritual role of media also modifies. Traditionally mass media was intended to provide people with facts about events in other parts of the world. The development of new media sources had both positive and negative effect on traditional understanding. On the one hand information now is supplied with illustrative and video materials which make it more detailed and justified. On the other hand great variety of media sources often confuses readers. People should distinguish approved sources which provide truthful facts. Nowadays freedom of press and lack of censorship allows people to publish whatever they want. Although printed newspaper editions originally were in great favor among Americans. And they didn’t loose popularity. Nowadays people buy magazines for leisure. Well-designed newspapers replaced black and white publications and are used not only for advertising.
In spite of increasing popularity of Internet, TV and magazines remain important mass media sources which are widely spread in all countries. People actually tend to spend more time watching TV than reading newspapers. I must admit that all media sources have one common peculiarity. All of them nowadays are supplied with advertisements. Quality and profitability of newspapers for example depend on advertising.
On the whole changes in mass media variety also influence the theoretic aspects. Nowadays the role of mass media is wider than it used to be. Although its traditional informative function remained, today people also read newspapers and magazines or browse the Internet for pleasure. New mass media modified its role for people. I consider these changes beneficial for modern society.
Analyzing traditional and new media sources I’d like to say that all of them are closely related with each other and are of equal importance. That’s why I think that new mass media won’t eliminate traditional ones completely. World Wide Web as a new kind of mass media combines elements of different traditional sources. Efficiency of electronic versions is seen in fast transmission of information, which can’t be compared with traditional ways (Hoenisch, 2003). One can read and electronic magazine before it is published. It is especially valuable in modern world. Sometimes editors publish texts which exist only in electronic variant. But it’s important to mention that there are two kinds of electronic newspapers. One of them is just a form of the printed edition. Another one is an original electronic edition, created and developed in Internet. Only this version should be considered a new kind of mass media.
World Wide Web can lessen the popularity of other mass media due to convenience and variety of information; but it is unlikely to replace printed magazines and newspapers for several reasons. Firstly despite increasing prosperity of people’s life not everybody can afford connecting to Internet at home. Some people think that electronic resources can even replace printed books. Although one may find and order any publication through Internet, it’s not always convenient. By means of Internet people can participate in on-line conferences, share ideas and even get education. Internet is an absolutely competent medium source, but its main drawback is frequent lack of proficiency. More and more people complain about non-professional journalists. It becomes hard to tell truth from lies. In this way Internet appears to be not so reliable.
In conclusion I’d like to say that more and more kinds of mass media enrich the marketplace. All of them have positive and negative sides. The main advantage is that people become more informed about events which take place in different corners of the world. Introduction of new mass media challenged the theory of mass communications. The traditional theory works out norms for mass media role and future perspectives. In recent years mass media acquired a range of features accepted by different social classes differently. That’s why new variety of medium brought certain difficulties. In this way the theory of mass media should be revised and improved in accordance with new requirements. The problems of free communication, copyright and reliability of information have to be solved.

References
Hoenisch, Steve. Publications on Media theory and criticism, 2003. http://www.criticism.com/md/
Bush, Brendan. Reuters: International edition. 33 killed in Virginia massacre, Apr., 2007.
Randle, Quint. Mass Media issues. A historical overview of the effects of new Mass Media introductions on magazine, 2001.
Altschull, J. The Role of the News Media in Human Affairs: New York, 1984.