The basic function of Media is to provide information to the public as well as supply it with entertaining information. Media managers have the responsibility of ensuring the accuracy and fairness of data reported. However, this is not always the case since media reports are often subjective. The dynamic nature of media and the emergence of new sources of information compelled media companies to broadcast and circulate information as soon as possible. As a result, news and articles are subject to the interpretation of journalists and the ideology of media managers. The media, sometimes, reports biased statistical information from social and behavioral research.
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In 2010, the Daily Mail in its online edition printed research the aim of which was to find out the influence of social media on marriage and divorce. The report states “but now one in five divorces involve the social networking site Facebook, according to a new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers” (Gardner). From the foregoing, one gets an impression that Facebook is to be blamed for a large number of divorces. The subjective nature of the report crystallizes when it reports “desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria recently split from her basketball player husband Tony Parker after alleging that he strayed with a woman he kept in touch with on Facebook” (Gardner). Is Facebook responsible for Longoria’s divorce? The answer is certainly no since these are personal differences and family problems that lead to a number of divorces nowadays. Social media hastens the process of divorce as it provides an easy way for people to start relationships. Cox states “in most cases dissolution occurs slowly, and divorce is the culmination of a prolonged period of gradual alienation. In many cases, several years elapse between a couple’s first serious thought of divorce and the decree” (469).
Providing information to the public is the basic function of media organizations, however, it is an open secret that they must make a profit for shareholders. Media managers package news to retain clients and increase market share. In the process of editing news, standards get compromised; media organizations prioritize information that generates enthusiasm. Most journalists trade quality for less detailed analysis and content; most consumers prefer clear and easy information. Borden states “unfortunately, the trade-off that takes place in news organizations tends to be tacit and disproportionately favor commercial interest” (9). There are few members of the public who can contextualize statistical information; many do not have an idea about the process involved in gathering and compiling statistical data. Fewer can interpret it, as such, they assume that the information provided by media is accurate; yet, there are cases when the media reports inaccurate statistical data. Some statistical data come from unreliable sources which compromise the outcome of any research (Best 4). The public takes media reports as truth because they do not trust politicians. Media shapes public opinion by constantly providing information. Bachman and Schutt claim that “unfortunately the media plays a role in how we perceive both problems and solutions” (2).
Media compresses massive information into a clear and easy way to understand news reports. Raw statistical data is complex for most people to comprehend; thus, media simplifies statistical information for everyone to appreciate. Unfortunately, in the process of simplifying statistical data, broadcast and published information become subjective, so the media must find a balance between objective news reporting and popular news. Media organizations have to make a profit like any business, but they have to provide accurate information.
Bachman, Ronet and R. Schutt. The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice, California: SAGE Publication, 2011. Print.
Best, Joel. Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians and Activist, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2012. Print.
Borden, Sandra. Journalism as a Practice: MacLntyre, Virtue Ethics and the Press, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2007.Print.
Cox, Frank. Human Intimacy: Marriage, the Family, and its Meaning, Belmont: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.
Gardner, D. Re: The Marriage Killer: One in Five Americans Divorces now Involve Facebook. 2010. Web.