Short essay on the Characteristics as Mass Media

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The invention of print media has not only accelerated the culture of mankind, but also brought in cultural revolutions resulting in rapid scientific and technological advancements.

It is expected that the use of print medium will increase significantly with the increase of literacy and purchasing power of the people. Media experts did fear that the print media usage will decline with the increasing use of television as mass medium, but it has proved wrong.

Print media used for mass communication are powerful sources of bringing about attitudinal change and motivating people for action. They have a unique place in conscientizing people as well as in their continuing education.

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Newspapers have been the leading print medium ever since Johann Gutenberg started his press in mid-fifteenth century. Newspapers provide place for debate.

For example, the topics like political participation of women and civic affairs, discussed in series of articles in Times of India provided a very effective platform to debate on these topics, by the people from a cross section of the society. These national debates in newspapers analyze and mould the culture and influence the government.

Print media such as newspapers, magazines, journals etc. also play a role of watchdog and present a true picture of the events to the people many times. For example, the role newspapers played in scanning the animal fodder scam in Bihar, Hawala case, Shahbano case have enlightened people with many unknown facts and series of events.

Thus print media play an important role in connecting and adequately informing people about the events and developing understanding of the social realities especially in a society consisting of different ethnic, linguistic and religious communities.

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But the way some of the major events of the country and reported in the press also indicate that sometimes press fails to be a truthful informer. For example, at the time of Operation Blue Star or demolition of Babri Masjid, press could not play a positive role in attitude formation.

News papers as mass media today do not just observe and report but ask, pursue, investigate, doubt and demand.

It is true that they cannot compete with radio and television as far as fastness of the news is concerned, but they serve independently as a supplement to these media by offering details of the news with thorough reporting and coverage.

News papers and magazines offer wider variety of reading material and viewpoints of many people and thus provide better comprehension of the affairs and issues. They provide space for expression of their views and grievances in reader’s columns.

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Thus providing for feedback component of effective communication process. This generates debates on various social and other issues. Thus, print media serve as social vitalizer.

It is observed that newspapers report tension creating news and their editorials keep on emphasizing harmony and need for cordial community relations. Newspapers try to show that they are with the people.

The Press Council of India has often appealed to the press to exercise due care and caution while reporting matters where sentiments of communities and castes are involved.

Like television and radio, newspapers also have built their base in certain important cities and towns which have occupied eminence as printing and publishing centres from the time immemorial.

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The immediate impact of television pictures cannot be equaled by press reporting. But television cannot match the extensive, in-depth coverage of news that the printed page can provide. It would take a television news reader ten hours to read out the contents of an average newspaper.

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