How Does the Media Affect our Culture?
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Media messages have a deep impact on the society and are instrumental3 in creating the popularly4 accepted norms.

Culture can be defined as the way of life which includes beliefs, aesthetics and institutions of a civilization. Considering today’s way of life, we would be lying if we didn’t admit that media is not an influential entity in our culture. Lately the media theories that regard the audience as a passive entity have been discarded and advanced media theories that take into account the audience response have been formulated. It is still a fact that despite cognitive abilities of the audience, the media has been successfully ingraining several values and elements into a large section of our society.

First of all let me tell you that this is no media-bashing agenda. There is no doubt about the fact that there are certain media elements affecting our culture for better because had it not been for media, quick and easy flow of useful information and education would not have been possible. The media has played a major role in positive developments like fight against racism, fight against gender bias, world poverty and spreading awareness about the world peace.

This being said, there is no denying to the fact that certain media messages are detrimental5 to our society. We need to realize that although media is a reflection of the society we live in but at times, the media needs to do much more than reflect the surroundings - it has to exaggerate, sensationalize6 and at times even trivialize the matters of utmost importance to make way for entertainment. The media creates celebrities; it creates thrive on fans, followers, and groupies! When we say a certain type of music or a certain genre of movies is popular, it means a large number of people are following an ideology or a concept, which lies at the heart of that song or the movie. One of the most striking examples in this case would have to be the popularity of violent and abusive rap songs amongst teenagers. The glorification7 of violence, drug abuse and other unhealthy habits has a major role in the outburst of unfortunate incidents where children have gotten extremely violent and out of control.

Be it the advertisements touting products that promise a fairer skin or the television shows and films, which portray violence, sexually explicit content and abusive language. There are music videos and rock bands that give out the message that alcohol; drugs and sex are an inevitable8 part of life. These ideals created by the media might not be necessarily appropriate.

However, owing to the mass-acceptance and popularity hype created - most of the people accept these as a part of today’s culture. In an age where someone like Paris Hilton is a role model for so many young girls, how can we expect to spread awareness9 about the importance of knowledge in the young generation? Bulimic girls striving to be like the size zero models on the ramp or the excessively aggressive videogame-playing children who think guns and weapons are cool – we have reached a stage where media literacy is the dire need of the hour. It is time to start thinking and analyzing what media is dishing out to us…

Different Types of Media Coverage

Media coverage is a crucial factor which can not only influence public opinion but also determine the audience size.

Media coverage can be defined as the way in which a particular piece of information is presented by media either as news, entertainment or as infotainment10. Media coverage can affect the extent of information dissemination as well as influence the audience opinion while giving out the information. A bad media coverage can ruin the corporate image, it can mar the positive publicity of a political party or even defame a celebrity. On the other hand a positive media coverage can help to create a better image and positive public opinion. Different types of media coverage can be defined based on two important elements – the type of mass media used, and the style of coverage.

Different Types of Media Coverage – Based on Types of Mass Media

Television coverage refers to the presentation of news or information or views on the television. The television news channels are the primary source of media coverage.

Radio coverage involves broadcasting news, information or entertainment via the Radio. Nowadays the popularity of this medium has gone down.

Newspaper coverage refers to providing news, information or infotainment using the newspapers. This is a cost-effective medium however is soon losing popularity to the Internet.

Internet coverage means the using the Internet to provide information, news, views or entertainment. This is one of the most popular and widely used media today.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Communication

The popularity of electronic communication is mainly due to the fact that it is fast, accurate and can be used with ease and comfort. But, there also exists a negative side to its popularity. Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of electronic communication.

Electronic communication was discovered in 1998. Electronic communication is used for the transfer11 of data, images, signals, signs, etc. through wire, electromagnetic, radio, photo electronic or photo-optical system. With its growing popularity people have started communicating via email. Electronic communication is not only a new tool but also a new way of communication. This has led to a change in the culture. Below mentioned are advantages and disadvantages of electronic communication.

Pros of Electronic Communication

The benefits of electronic communication are that people across the world can share televised pictures, conversations, graphics, circuits and interactive software. The interaction between people residing in different geographical locations has increased and has become promiscuous12. The conversations are more visual and textual. This is helpful mainly for hearing impaired people. With electronic communication, the recipient receives the message within a few seconds of the sender sending it. The recipient can read the message anytime, anywhere according to his convenience.

The speed of conversation has increased and this has resulted in faster processing of important matters related to business, finance, trade, etc. For example, you can instantly access the information present in your computer. As there are no restrictions about time and place, people can sit at home and do their offices work if the required resources are available. This work arrangement is termed as telecommuting. The communicated messages can be stored permanently or temporarily on disks or tapes for years or can even be printed and stored in files. The process of learning has become simple and efficient as the information can be archived and retrieved according to the requirement. Since the communication does not take place via hard copies, money spent for paper, printing and postal deliveries is saved. After the mail is delivered to the receiver, it is placed safely in the hard disk of the receiver's computer. After the receiver retrieves the mail, it is his responsibility to keep it safely.

Cons of Electronic Communication

The main issue with electronic communication is security13. Your computer can be hacked and affected with computer virus. This can have an adverse effect on the computer system and the network. The volume of transmitted data is large and the transmission is fast. Hence, it becomes difficult for employers and managers to absorb process and understand it and provide proper feedbacks to their employees14. The speed with which the messages are transmitted often changes the structure of the messages, which at times can be misinterpreted. Electronic data can be duplicated identically14 without any proof of duplication. These messages can also be modified. At times, people can intentionally15 send malicious programs like viruses, worms and Trojans through emails, which is difficult to detect.

Another disadvantage of electronic communication is email privacy issues. An email is sent in the form of data packets via computer network. These data packets have to pass through a number of routers (a computer device used for forwarding packets in the computer network) and computers before it reaches its destination. So, there are chances of an individual tampering the emails before it reaches its recipient. While the data packets are transferred from one computer system to another, they can be lost when one router transfers it to another. If the router is bombarded with more number of data packets than its carrying capacity16, the receiver can experience a delay in receiving it. The 'from message header' of a message can be modified, which hampers the authenticity.

Almost all technologies in this world have their pros and cons. Similarly, there exist advantages and disadvantages of electronic communication as well. In spite of its disadvantages, most of us depend on electronic communication for our everyday work as it has become an integral part of our lives.

Applications of Telecommunication

Telecommunication allows people to send messages to each other, even if they live on different continents. Can you imagine life without a radio or a television? Telecommunication is transmission of text, still images, audio, video and data for the sake of communication. Electronic equipment such as radio and television help us transfer information to one another. Telecommunication allows people to interact over long distances. Telecommunication has played a significant role in people's lives since the 19th century. Some applications of telecommunication are telegraph, telephone, radio, television and the Internet.

Telegraph was invented in 1844. Messages known as telegrams were sent through wires along railroad tracks. Telegraph was used to broadcast up-to-date news all over the country. The Associated Press, a news agency, was founded in 1848, to utilize the telegraph technology. Western Union became the first and foremost telegraph company. It formed a telegraph line joining the West Coast to the East Coast. Later, the International Telegraph Union was established to allow for interchange of messages. Then, the exchange of messages was made possible between North America and Europe. Telegraph was discontinued after World War II, and Western Union became a financial services company.


The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) was formed in 1885. The company became a monopoly in providing telecommunication services to businesses and consumers. Other companies contested AT&T's dominance of the market. In 1982, there was a case against AT&T which was accused of unfair business practices. AT&T broke up and the 'Baby Bells' operating companies, were spinned off. Competitors now challenge AT&T in the telephone sector. Wiretapping a telephone to listen or record conversations is illegal. The incumbent company in the local telephone market has to allow smaller companies to use its network for a price. The incumbent company wanted to raise the price that smaller companies had to pay for such use. The incumbent company also had to integrate services such as long-distance, local and Internet for the smaller companies. On the other hand, the incumbent company had to pay up, when its customers made local calls to smaller companies' customers.

Radio was first used to improve the army's capability and strength. Afterward, businessmen realized that the radio offered a chance to make profits. They started to broadcast radio and generated income by selling advertisements. The government started to allot frequencies to radio stations. The government also restricted monopolies to ensure that there were a variety of programs, and forbade the broadcasting of indecent material.

Television. The government also regulated the television industry by allowing them to broadcast signals. It also gave ratings to television programming on cable TV and satellite TV such as TV-Y (all children), TV-Y7 (older children aged 7 years and above), TV-G (general audience), TV-PG (parental guidance), TV-14 (children aged 14 years and above) and TV-MA (mature audience). Television sets must be installed with a V-chip that prevents children from watching TV shows intended for adults.

The Internet is a computer network that allows sending and receiving of e-mails. The Internet has many chat rooms and message boards. The World Wide Web uses Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to link documents so that Internet users can access these web-pages. The web-pages are interactive and incorporate multimedia and animation. The government has made it unlawful to read personal email, except for an employer who is allowed to read his employees' emails. This is especially true if the employee is suspected of sexual harassment or of leaking company secrets. The government has also made it illegal to distribute pornography to persons under 18 years old.

 Telecommunication manifests itself in other forms too, such as facsimile. As technology develops, telecom products will become more complex. The role of the government will also grow, as it has to make rules for the kind of content that can be broadcast.

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After reading

Exercise 9. Read the article again and underline words and phrases that you do not know. Write your own definitions. Use a dictionary if necessary.

Scanning for information

Exercise 11. Look through the text and find what the following dates mean:

1844, 1848, 1982, 1998.

Exercise 12. Look through the text again, find and explain the following abbreviations:

TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-MA.

Reading for detail

Exercise 10. Read the text and mark the sentences T (true) or F (false).

1. Mass media are media, which can be used to communicate and interact with a target audience.

2. The print media have replaced the electronic media.

3. Mobile phones, computers and the Internet are the new-age media.

4. Media is not an influential entity in our culture.

5. Media coverage can influence the audience opinion while giving out the information.

6. Electronic communication is fast, accurate and can be used with ease and comfort.

7. With electronic communication the recipient can read the message anytime, anywhere according to his convenience.

8. The safest way of communication is electronic communication.

9. Telecommunication allows people to interact over short distances.

10. The government has made it illegal to read personal email.

Exercise 13. Order the sentences according to the text.

1. The media has played a major role in positive developments about the world peace.

2. Mass media is an effective medium for communication, dissemination of information, advertising, marketing and expressing views, opinions and ideas.

3. The main issue with electronic communication is security.

4. Telecommunication allows people to interact over long distances.

5. Businessmen started to broadcast radio and generated income by selling advertisements.

6. Email, websites, blogging, Internet TV and many other mass media are booming today.

Exercise 14. Answer the following questions.

1. What is this text about?

2. What definitions of mass media are given at the beginning of the text?

3. What different types of mass media does the author mention?

4. What influences of mass media does the author dwell on?

5. What positive and negative facts about media does the author point out?

6. How can media coverage be defined?

7. What types of media coverage are mentioned?

8. What does the author report about electronic communication?

9. What applications of telecommunication does the author describe?

10. What conclusion does the author make?

Summarizing information

Exercise 15. Make a plan of the text.

Exercise 16. Abridge the text by way of shortening each paragraph (leaving out unnecessary sentences and even words).

Exercise 17. Summarize the text to the others in your group.


Exercise 18. Discuss Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Communication.

Exercise 19. Speak about New-age Media.


Exercise 20.Write a summary of the text. Use the following plan.

1. The title of the text is …

2. The text is written by…

3. The text gives information about …

4. At the beginning of the text the author …

5. Then (after that, further on, next …) the author …

- dwells on …

- explains …

- mentions …

- points out …

- reports about …

- describes …

- touches upon …

- comments on …

6. According to the text …

7. The text ends with…

8. I think the text is…

- important

- informative

- useless

- too hard to understand …




· Have you ever written letters to editors? Why?

· Have you ever taken part in readership polls or questionnaires?

Before reading

Exercise 1. Find the pronunciation of the following words.

Word Pronunciation
1 society (n)
2 journalism (n)
3 content (n)  
4 editor (n)
5 acknowledgment (n)
6 questionnaire (n)
7 exposure (n)
8 measure (v)
9 require (v)  
10 simultaneously (adv)


Exercise 2. Translate the following word-combinations into Russian:

1   public opinion participation reviews 2   public voting awareness attention
3 public readership polls 4 theory of mass media mass communication
5 according to the theory the needs and requirements      

Exercise 3. Find the English equivalents in the text to the following Russian words and phrases.

Целиком и полностью, слияние новостей и общественного мнения, подтверждение важности общественного мнения, опросы читателей, сотрудничать (писать статьи для газеты \ журнала), рейтинги читателей, вторжение в личную жизнь, повседневная жизнь, распространение информации.


Exercise 4. Find these highlighted words in the text and decide whether they are nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs. Then try to guess what they mean using a dictionary.

Word Part of speech Possible meaning
information noun информация

Exercise 5. Look back at the text to find the definitions of the following words and phrases:

· newspaper content · citizen journalism · public poll
· World Wide Web · gratification theory · print media


Exercise 6. Find and list all the words and phrases in the text with a similar meaning to:

· world · moreover · creating public opinion · example · daily · subject · word-of-mouth channel · audience · significance · reflecting

Exercise 7. Find and list all the words and phrases in the text with an opposite meaning to:

· editor · individual opinion · because of · failure · complicated · partly · as a result · narrow · different

Reading for gist

Exercise 8. Read the text once to get the general idea, try not to spend more than 10 minutes. Complete the sentence as to the text:

The story describes

(A) the importance, shaping  and measurement of public opinion.

(B) the importance of shaping up the readership rankings.

(C) the importance of link between government and the people.

Дата: 2018-12-28, просмотров: 182.