Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Functions of Mass Media

Functions of Mass Media

Functions of Mass Media & Press
Modern Mass Media serves functions similar to those fulfilled by traditional media in some accident societies, and some developing countries today. Western medias theorists generally  identify three major functions; surveillance of the environment interpretations of the information and prescription for conduct and transmission   of  heritage. The development and libration of empowerment functions or  even the ritualistic or celebratory functions of the media fairly  find mention in Euro American media theory. South American media theorists have contributed to our understandings of media for liberation while African and Asian scholars have exprod the relevance of media to nation development.

Surveillance f the environment relates to information or ‘news’ about happenings in society. The mass media carry out this function by keeping us posted about the latest news in our own region and around the world. In rural societies, however, the word-of-mouth method is still the most credible means of spreading news.

Consensus: But the Mass Media cannot or should not stop at watching the horizon for us, through news bulletins or through, the advertisement of documentaries.  They need and often do he pus ‘to correlate our response to the challenges and opportunities  which appear on the horizon and to reach consensus on social actions.

In rural India, the panchayat meetings help the village elders to decide on the challenges and the opportunities.

The mass media help us to keep the culture and heritage of our society alive, and to transmit it to others. This is what the media should idelly do, but often don’t Folk media serve similar purpose in developing countries.

A fourth function is the vital function of entertainment. Entertainment has been a  legitimate function of the traditional folk media, but the mass media provide it with a vengeance. They help to pass the time and to relax with family and friends.
Symbolic function: Anthropologist of culture and communication discern. A symbolic function of the media the media provide a shared symbolic environment. George Gerber for instance , sees television as  the central symbol of American culture today. Horace Newcomb and other culturalist (such as James Carey and Robert White ) perceived the media as providing a ritualistic and liminal experience.

An equally vital function is that of the mass media helping to sell goods and services through sponsorship and commercials. The commercial function has indeed been served well, perhaps too well, especially in the United States, where the networks would have to close down if the support from commercial were to dry up. At  the same time it would be suicidal to let this function dominate the mass media at the expense of the other four function India too promotes the commercial function and through it has not allowed its representative to take over the programming of radio and television, the influence is strong. This is equally true of the Press and its dependence on advertising. 

In the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, the mass media, which include traditional media have different function to perform. In a word, development  communication i.e., communication that focuses on the information need of the poor and their socio-economic and cultural interests.

While these may be the five functions of the mass media, it does not necessarily follow that audiences go to them for the same reasons. In his book, “THE PLAY THEORY OF MASS COMMUNICATION,” William Stephenson argues that fun is both greatest impact and the greatest public of the mass media. Audience use them as a form of play, or Lila. Victor Turner, the anthropologist, believes that the media provide a ‘luminal’ ritualistic experience. James Carry, Horace Newcomb and others of the  ‘culturalist’ school have developed this approach further by analyzing the television experience in terms of ‘ritual’.

So, for a good number of the audience, the mass media may be marvelous time – fillers, like listening to the radio while cooking or while driving, or reading during a long train journey. Further, some people use the media to fulfill psychological and social needs. They perhaps get vicarious enjoyment out of sex and violence in the media, and use the media to get topics for conversation at work or to solve their own problems.

Still other might seek information, merely to be well informed, or perhaps to learn how higher–status people dress and live. Or, they might watch advertisements on TV not so much to know more about product as to assure themselves that they have bought the burst product! These are the ‘uses and gratification’ of the media.

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