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Effects of Mass Media

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Effects of Mass Media

Over the past few centuries, several forms of mass media emerged and each medium uniquely shaped the American culture. However, the media boomed during the 20th century. At the beginning of the century, Americans communicated by writing letters, through telegraphs and newspapers. Over one-hundred years later, Americans now communicate with others across the United States or overseas within a matter of seconds. The 20th century introduced the radio, television, the internet, cell phones and smartphones. With these new inventions, mass media channels learned how to merge information throughout the various media channels. Although the media can be useful, Americans should understand that not all forms of mass media will be unbiased and honest.

Major Mass Media Developments

The 20th century introduced: the radio, television, the internet, cell phones and smartphones. The radio developed in the 1920s and allowed current news to travel faster than by a letter, newspaper, or telegraph. The radio provided agenda setting and acted as a gatekeeper for Americans. Radio broadcasters were told what to air to keep consumers up to date on current news; however, they did not always provide all of the information to allow Americans to make educated decisions regarding discussion topics.

The television arose in the 1950s and 1960s and provided American families with news and entertainment. During the late 1980s, Americans gathered to watch the evening news, dramas, and sitcoms such as Dallas, Cheers, and Roseanne, which were performed by seasoned actors (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos, 2016, p. 12, 14). Today, television shows center around personal lives featuring ordinary people rather than actors.

When the internet emerged, Americans could, in a sense, chose their own media and even look deeper into trending discussions that arise on the news channels to potentially form more sound decisions. “While there are still senders and receivers, the borderless, decentralized, and democratic nature of the Internet means that anyone can become a sender of media messages” (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos, 2016, p. 10). This allows more confusion because, with the ability to post anything, there are many more sources of news and information that Americans have to sort through in order to determine what is true or false. Although consumers can research more about trending discussions, they “tend to seek messages and produce meanings that correspond with their own cultural beliefs, values, and interests” (Campbell, Martin & Fabos, 2016, p. 10). This presents a downfall because consumers may not research to the full extent by eliminating their own bias, therefore not knowing all perspectives of a story.

The developments of cell phones and smart phones allowed information to be accessed while on the go. Social media platforms



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