Blog 4: Necessity of Public Media
Public media is a powerful tool that is successful in reaching the masses by way of multiple mediums. I believe public media is an extremely important outlet with the purpose of keeping the citizen’s informed. Without it, what other way would we as citizens be informed on international, national, and local issues? Print, broadcast and Internet are all means of distributing content to the masses in a easily accessible format. An informed public is one that can take what the media has provided, make sense of it’s content, and apply it to their individual lives. Information distribution is key to a successful democratic system. Citizens need to be informed on issues facing their community when exercising their right to vote. This way they are putting forth plans that will better serve their community.
What I like most about recent public media is its interactive capabilities with the viewing audience. Public media is changing in that it is no longer a one-way stream of communication from news source to audience. Social Media is becoming more of a viable resource for news outlets to post content. This allows for viewers to be a part of an open discussion with others in the community via the internet. Commenting on stories is like an open forum or conversation. Discussion allows for others in the community to be heard. Citizen reporting has also become a common form of public media. Citizens have the ability to create their own content and share publically.
This isn’t to say that public media doesn’t have it’s flaws. First, the use of advertising with mass media generates bias and a focus of generating revenue. An example of this is in the controversial news cast Channel One that was broadcasted to adolscents during school hours in the 90s. The newscast consisted primarily soft news stories on pop culture and it’s commercial content often advertised unhealthy junk food. Obviously this was a way for marketers to reach the adolescent audience during the school day. Here are some examples of content on Channel One News promoting bands and video games. The focus for Channel One began as an attempt to create an interest in news content for younger audiences. The focus changed to making a consumer out of the Channel One viewer.
Also the fact that there are only a few large media sources generating content puts a lot of power in the hands of very few. News outlets are thus placed with the responsibility of deciding what is news worthy. There is also pressure to be the first to break a story. This could mean that accuracy can be sacrificed for timeliness. Also, reading or viewing public media produced by individuals isn’t the most reliable source. Credibility is questionable with sources such as these.
Overall, mass media is a powerful source in that it is easily accessible for the masses. Access to information holds high importants in our society to remain democratic. Also, mass media’s increasing Internet use allows for conversational interaction amongst citizens. All of which bring great importance to public media.