Mediality – Defining Media
In mass communications, media are the means or tools utilized to transmit and store data or information. The word refers to all elements of the mass media communication systems, including print media, television, radio, film, publishing, and the Internet. This system also includes visual media such as photographs, stills, video, and sound, and interactive media such as games, films, and computer software. The total amount of all forms of media represented is known as the media inventory.
Today, the vast amounts of communication resources make it difficult to get a large audience to read, watch, listen or use media products that require for-pay distribution. In addition, the media have become too big to cover effectively any one story or facet of a story. As a result, when considering what can be published, news organizations must first determine the extent to which they can disseminate that information to serve their purposes. For this reason, mass media have developed guidelines specific to how they determine what can be published and who will decide what can’t.
When considering what can be shared and who can have access to that content, mass media companies face unique challenges compared to traditional news organizations that rely on newspapers, television and radio stations for their content. Because of this, traditional media tend to favor reporting stories that are more critical and in depth, while social media firms have come to view content as a tool to share content with their large audiences and have sought to expand their reach into areas that were not previously accessible to traditional media outlets. The result has been a growing disparity between traditional media outlets and social networking outlets. While traditional media outlets continue to provide the largest share of overall media coverage, social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have grown rapidly to become one of the most popular sources of news and content, generating billions of daily page views.
Despite growing competition, media owners have remained committed to their mission of providing the general public access to information. Newspapers and other traditional media have long held a strong commitment to press freedom, protecting the right to free speech from censorship. In the digital age, however, the ability to publish news and content quickly and broadly has led to new concerns over the erosion of press freedom. This concern has increased with the rise of social media and the increasing tendency of people to share personal and professional information through these platforms.
Social media has significantly influenced the manner in which news is distributed. Many people turn to these platforms for breaking news, starting the day they wake up and through the night. For newspapers and other traditional media organizations, these changes represent a challenge to manage and adjust to changing markets. Digital publications have largely ignored the advertising revenue that comes with printed publications and have instead focused on generating user based revenue through the unique features that they offer. Social media has significantly altered the way in which media companies operate, making it increasingly difficult for companies to distinguish themselves from the rest of their competitors.
Mediality is redefining the way that modern media is presented. Newspapers and magazines have long been considered the “voices of influence” and form the backbone of the distribution chain. Today, however, social media have made it more difficult for publishers to command these kinds of loyalty and influence. Social media have affected the distribution channels more than just affecting the number of magazines and newspapers published. It has affected the kind of people who read them, how much they spend on subscriptions, where they purchase the materials they read and how often they purchase additional content.