Media plays a very important role in the building of a society. Media has changed the societies of world so much that we can't ignore its importance. First of all we should know what the media is. Media is a source of information or communication.We live in a society that depends on information and communication to keep moving in the right direction and do our daily activities like work, entertainment, health care, education, personal relationships, traveling and anything else that we have to do.
Media and society has some sort of symbiotic relationship.Society and its politics are largely created, sustained and modified through communication.
R Williams 1962 in his book Communication , writes that what we call society is not only a network of political and economic arrangements but also a process of learning and communication
Habermas 1978 in his book Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action says that democracy can best be understood as a form of communication in which citizens inform,educate and became reconciled to each other in a process of reaching collective agreements.
But how to understand media and society is little bit confusing.Look at story of Robinson Crusoe in Daniel Defoens novel,1719, ship wreck 1659,28 years solitary life,
What is media ?
In general, "media" refers to various means of communication. media comes from medium, a way through which one can communicate with the other so letters, posters, emails, public meetings are forms of media . Media includes sources like print media and electronic media. Newspapers, magazines and any other form, which is written or printed, is included in print media and in electronic, media radio, television and Internet etc. are included. The term in current use is now appropriated to the Press, with the earliest use in this sense described by Thomas Carlyle in his book On Heroes and Hero Worship:”Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.”
What is Mass media?
Mass media is communication—whether written, broadcast, or spoken—that reaches a large audience. This includes television, radio, advertising, movies, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and so forth.Mass media is media which is intended for a large audience. It may take the form of broadcast media, as in the case of television and radio, or print media, like newspapers and magazines. Internet media can also attain mass media status, and many mass media outlets maintain a web presence to take advantage of the ready availability of Internet in many regions of the world. Some people also refer to the mass media as the “mainstream media,” referencing the fact that it tends to stick to prominent stories which will be of interest to a general audience, sometimes ignoring controversial breaking news. Many people around the world rely on the mass media for news and entertainment, and globally, mass media is a huge industry.
Usually, mass media aims to reach a very large market, such as the entire population of a country. By contrast, local media covers a much smaller population and area, focusing on regional news of interest, while specialty media is provided for particular demographic groups. Some local media outlets which cover state or provincial news may rise to prominence thanks to their investigative journalism, and to the clout that their particular regions have in national politics.
Mass media is a significant force in modern culture, particularly in America. Sociologists refer to this as a mediated culture where media reflects and creates the culture. Communities and individuals are bombarded constantly with messages from a multitude of sources including TV, billboards, and magazines, to name a few. These messages promote not only products, but moods, attitudes, and a sense of what is and is not important. Mass media makes possible the concept of celebrity: without the ability of movies, magazines, and news media to reach across thousands of miles, people could not become famous. In fact, only political and business leaders, as well as the few notorious outlaws, were famous in the past. Only in recent times have actors, singers, and other social elites become celebrities or “stars.”
The current level of media saturation has not always existed. As recently as the 1960s and 1970s, television, for example, consisted of primarily three networks, public broadcasting, and a few local independent stations. These channels aimed their programming primarily at two-parent, middle-class families. Even so, some middle-class households did not even own a television. Today, one can find a television in the poorest of homes, and multiple TVs in most middle-class homes. Not only has availability increased, but programming is increasingly diverse with shows aimed to please all ages, incomes, backgrounds, and attitudes. This widespread availability and exposure makes television the primary focus of most mass-media discussions. More recently, the Internet has increased its role exponentially as more businesses and households “sign on.” Although TV and the Internet have dominated the mass media, movies and magazines—particularly those lining the aisles at grocery checkout stands—also play a powerful role in culture, as do other forms of media.
What role does mass media play? Legislatures, media executives, local school officials, and sociologists have all debated this controversial question. While opinions vary as to the extent and type of influence the mass media wields, all sides agree that mass media is a permanent part of modern culture. Three main sociological perspectives on the role of media exist: the limited-effects theory, the class-dominant theory, and the culturalist theory.