Anyone is unaware of the term mass media. Daily we use mass media sources to learn the latest domestic and world news, find necessary information, to entertain or to listen to the weather. The importance of the media at present is immense. Mass media shape and form buying decisions, feature new goods and services, educate and make us think. Mass media play a significant role in forming and reflecting public opinion, connecting people and the world.
The media have a strong social and cultural influence on society, since it can reach a wide audience. They comprise four major sources: TV, press, radio and the Web. Each has its own characteristics and functions.
Everyday millions of papers and glossy magazines are published around the world. The list of them seems endless. There are different national and local newspapers, dailies and weeklies, broadsheets that cater to the better educated readers and tabloids that sell to a much larger readership. Some newspapers cover mainly politics, financial and commercial issues; whereas others cover upon human interest stories.
The advent of radio made it possible for a far larger audience of people to have access to the latest news and information. We commonly turn on the radio when driving a car to listen to news bulletins and reports presented live at the scene. Listeners are especially fond of phone-in talk-shows and music charts.
According to estimates, most people consider TV their main source of news. Our everyday life is often planned according to the programme schedule. We turn it on to view our favourite sitcoms and talk-shows, to view newly released films, music videos and news programmes. Whereas TV broadcasts are scheduled, the Internet allows us to have access to information and amusement 24/7. The Web contains huge databases of information in all languages.
It is known for the variety of opinions presented, huge collections of music and films, electronic encyclopaedias designed to facilitate the search on the Web, e-books and sites of magazines and newspapers. Life without mass media would be dull and limited. Nonetheless, addiction to some sources of entertainment, such as watching TV and browsing on the Internet for hours, can badly impact on well-being and interpersonal interaction.