The essay is titled "The Role of Mass-Media in Society" and it puts into ballance the positive and negative aspects of the activity of media throughout time.

Essay by flavyus17High School, 11th gradeA, February 2004

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The Role of Mass-Media in Society

In the past century the boost of media, with all its main components-television, radio, written press-, has had a deep impact upon human societies. The influence of mass-media can be identified both in ordinary people's day-to-day lives, and at the level of world politics. It is not an exaggeration to say that media has become an institution. One of the most debated issues of the beginning of the 3rd Millennium is whether this institution is not exceeding its "prerogatives".

The initial role of media, through its first form of manifesting, the written press, was clearly that of propagating culture within the masses. This was the result of the influence of the Enlightenment. Gradually, it also undertook the "job" of publicizing information of public interest, or "news" as we call them nowadays. Up to this point the activity of the press is clearly beneficial, playing an essential part in the formation of a mass civic conscience.

When radio and TV were invented, a new function was passed on to the media, that of public entertainment. Normally, if a minimal balance between all the elements presented above had been kept, this wouldn't represent a drawback. But the struggle for rating, that is for an as large as possible hunk of audience, has made the entertainment factor prevalent. As a result in the present radios sound more like broken jukeboxes and most TV channels have become public circuses. The wild promotion of "film stars" and "music stars", of which many are far from representing appropriate role-models for the youth idolizing them, is only surpassed in bad taste by the permanent look-out for the shocking. Mass-media has derailed from its original ideals: instead of elevating its audience, it adapts itself according to the audience. Therefore people are given...