This paper aims at examining the power of big media and the role of technological changes in media during the last twenty years. By using scholarly sources, the chosen theme is thoroughly analyzed and communicated. It is necessary to give a definition to the term “big media” and explain television, radio, and the press as the main representatives of the media industry. The goals of big media include the introduction of information, including news, interviews, and opinions of different people. Being controlled by the government and different political bodies, media has its power over people, including manipulation and control. Technological changes between the 2000s and the 2020s have significantly changed the way of how people use and perceive media. If television and radio programs become available, and people could find the necessary material quickly with the help of the Internet, the print media (the press) has been challenged by the same technologies. The paper shows that the power of big media cannot be ignored today, but the impact of technologies proves that the development is permanent, with its crucial but unpredictable contributions to the media industry.
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In the modern world, people cannot imagine a day living without media. The power of the media landscape cannot be ignored, and its development is evident regarding current technological changes and unpredictable consumer demands. Compared to Internet sources, television, radio, and the press are the main examples of mainstream media that influence society and represent general beliefs and opinions (Cambridge University Press, n.d.). Big media have the power that is not always easy to recognize and comprehend, but its consequences on human life remain significant. Therefore, researchers pay much attention to the progress of media sources and investigate their determinants and other changes. Cuthbertson and Griffin (2019) call the early 2000s as not a good time for technological progress due to serious millennium transformations and challenges. However, the last several decades prove that big media are ready to use everything possible and survive. Human freedom has gained a new meaning in regard to media, and technologies play a role. In this essay, critical analysis and research about big data power and its changes during the last twenty years will be developed to understand the worth of technologies and the Internet.
Big Media Definition
The true roots of motivation for people to share information are hard to identify and understand, but this necessity is inevitable. As a result, separate media sources were created and improved with time by means of mergers and consolidations. Television, radio channels, and newspapers (magazines) have obtained new forms as the main sources of entertainment and information. However, the central idea remains the same – to provide people with data exchange, and each type of big media has its specific characteristics and approaches.
Television is one of the most crucial forms of media that constructs society’s way of thinking. This means of communication shows how people behave, what they think, and how they react to different events and news. In addition to local television stations, television media developers use the satellite to grow information and improve the quality of the broadcast networks (Pratomo & Kriyantono, 2016). There are many shows, news, and programs that introduce information in a variety of ways (sound effects, music, and words) for people to observe and make their own judgments.
Radio, as another form of big media being managed by local people and easily obtained, never dies. The definition of this turn is predetermined by way of how information is delivered to people – by means of radio waves (Berry, 2016). A peculiar feature of this form of media is that it depends on feelings and speech rather than looks or other unnecessary attributes (Haaland, 2017). Therefore, it is possible to control people, focusing on their needs and interests only. In addition, not many devices and outside sources (like electricity or the Internet) are necessary to establish contact between a listener and a speaker. Berry (2016) calls radio an “evolutionary animal” that could adapt to the world around under any condition. Radio programs may be alive (when people communicate in real-time) and pre-recorded (also known as podcasts, when editing may be used for adjustment) (Fitzpatrick, 20108). Information exchange, recent policy discussions, interest development, communication, and initiating actions are promoted via radio stations that may be community-based, local, national, and international. In the majority of cases, this source of information is free for society.
Finally, the press or the print media, including newspapers and magazines, is used as a form of media for people around the globe. During the last several decades, people found it interesting and even obligatory to go outside and buy a paper to find out the most recent news in their communities, cities, and countries, or around the globe. One of the abilities of the print media is to disseminate information that is well-researched and approved (Udenze, 2018). As a rule, publishers and editors require evidence from their writers to make sure that all details and thoughts could be approved and supported. There is no place for emotions or feelings in this form of media, but attention is paid to the quality of writing and the appropriateness of the content.
Power of Big Media
Each of the above-mentioned types of big media has its impact and certain sources of power on people. According to Turner (2018), the digital era has considerably reshaped the role of the media that has been identified during the mass media period. Today, people expect “a more committed engagement – from governments, the industry, and policy-makers” to raise the public interest instead of sharing information equally and freely (Turner, 2018, p. 3). However, at the same time, it is obvious that users want to feel freedom and independence when they read or watch different media channels. In other words, they want to use the information to prove their positions and disprove the arguments they do not like. Therefore, the power of big media may be interpreted as the ability to make people informed, motivated, and stronger (not physically but emotionally).
One of the evident examples of how media power is spread through society is based on the role of information. It is human nature to know as much as possible, share new information, or discuss the already given facts and material. Big media turn out to be a permanent and interesting source of information. Hendricks and Vestergaard (2019) admit that information is not always easy to get hold. A person has to be subscribed to a newspaper, spend some time to go and buy it, or have a TV-set to watch the latest news. However, to be well-informed, society is always ready to take the required number of steps. Information is media power that can never be removed or replaced. One should understand that not only readers are under the impact of information. Reporters and other involved employees are in need of information. They are ready to cooperate and investigate to remove fake news threats and underline the importance of true information (Udenze, 2018). Information is used for advertisement, education, persuasion, or conflict development. It is a symbolic engine for human actions, and this power is limitless.
Motivation vs. Manipulation
Another form of power that big media possesses is the distribution of the required influence or, in other words, manipulation. If people hear some information (radio), watch real examples (television), or read someone’s experience (the press), they become motivated either to do something or to neglect. It is expected “the written and spoken press to act as a watchdog and an entity exercising checks-and-balances” (Hendricks & Vestergaard, 2019, xi). According to Fitzpatrick (2018), media manipulation is both, positive and negative, and many things depend on individuals and organizations that own media sources. Fake stories and biased judgments are translated via TV or radio programs. Communication workers are able to share their opinions between the lines and provoke new emotions and attitudes towards other people, events, and companies. In society, manipulation is also explained as a form of persuasion due to the proliferation of big media and the development of new possibilities for advertisers (Mason et al., 2018). It is easy to share impressions and situations by means of pleasant background music, captivating images, and inspiring words. Media power has no boundaries, and, due to democratic values and freedoms, no control.
Threat of Control
Today, as well as several decades ago, media is considered a serious and influential means of communication. After watching a TV program, reading articles, or listening to radio broadcasting, society shapes opinions and trusts these sources because they receive new information. It does not take much time for a person to find recent news from different parts of the world and formulate a thought. Although there is a tendency to think that critical thinking is independent, the impact of media cannot be neglected. The way and mood of how the information is presented or even a look of a person who introduces news could cause the required emotion or action. At the same time, many attempts are made to control the media and information. As a result, media influence may be shaped by political figures, economic conditions, and social inequalities (Larreguy & Marshall, 2020). Therefore, big media remains dependent on the existing policies, standards, and rules, imposed by governing bodies and leaders. Media control is unpredictable and, despite the already published studies, poorly investigated and understood.
Importance of Technological Changes
Despite the already made progress and the achieved goals in the technological field, there are always many people who promote changes and support improvements. During the last two decades, the number of technological discoveries continues to grow due to the promotion of “big data” and the importance of “data literacy” (Pangrazio & Sefton-Green, 2019). The penetration of technologies into the real world has been observed in multiple spheres, including education, media, and medicine. Macgilchrist et al. (2019) identify such important technologies as artificial intelligence (AI), predictive software, online clouds, and affective computing. This progress turns out to be a great opportunity for people of all ages to be in touch with recent social changes, news, and adjustments. It does not take much time for an individual to learn how to use PC or other devices and be ready for improvements.
There are several goals for technologies to be presented and promoted in the modern world. One of the evident ideas is to help people save their time in their routine affairs. At the beginning of the 2000s, people knew nothing about such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The World Wide Web was already created, and it was necessary to expand its opportunities for communication and information exchange. Therefore, business developers found it interesting to use new programs to share their ideas, investigate the world, and reject imposed standards, relying on the impact of globalization (Macgilchrist et al., 2019). One of the results of technological development and progress is the creation and employment of digital tools, known as “bots” (Walker, 2018). A person was no longer responsible for answering the same questions or sharing the same information. It was the task of a bot to identify requests and offer help or recommendations.
The Internet became a common platform for new technologies to be connected and added to human life. YouTube provoked people to share their videos online, and Skype facilitated communication processes around the globe. Wikipedia became of the most usable online encyclopedias, edited on many languages. All these discoveries were made during the 2000s, and today, people are free to choose between these options as per their interests, abilities, and finances. A number of smartphones, iPads, and other wearable devices were introduced regularly within the chosen two decades (Macgilchrist et al., 2019). In fact, it seems that all these technological options were too much for ordinary people, and many of them are still thoroughly studied and introduced in developing countries. Technology companies became key components of the global economy in order to control and analyze social consequences (Turner, 2018). The last two decades turned over the world, including communication processes and information exchange.
Impact of Technologies on Big Media
As well as any sphere, the big media industry has been considerably changed due to given technological changes in the last twenty years. The power of TV, radio, and the press was hardly diminished, but the sources of information and public involvement will never be the same. As Pangrazio and Sefton-Green (2019) conclude that the creation of the concept of “data literacy” influenced the media because individuals get a chance to “distance themselves from the ideological effects of the media” (p. 4). In other words, technological changes made what people wanted during the last several years – they became able to add their personal opinions and thoughts to the information offered by media. However, instead of the expected result, the impact of media has gained a new meaning – people became dependent on technologies to find out their true selves or other images they want.
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In the 20th century, the first television invention was presented to the public, and, in the 21st century, the technology showed how television could be developed. Today, such options as Smart TV, Internet TV, and over-the-top (OTT) TV have replaced ordinary TV programs (Dagnino, 2018). People should not wait for new television series all day long to find the necessary material. There are many online entities like Netflix, Amazon, or HBO where film and television content is located. In the 2000s, TiVo was probably the most famous video recorder that allowed individuals store programs and shows as per users’ requests (Dagnino, 2018). Today, if there is a necessity to find an episode, a show, or a concert that was translated on TV but missed because of some personal reasons, it is easy to surf the web and enjoy the moment.
A similar situation is observed in the radio industry and the opportunities available due to technological progress. In the 2000s, there was a possibility to listen to local news on the radio or sing a song with headphones in the ears. In the 2020s, the number of radio stations has increased, and the Internet is the source for people to find radio stations from different parts of the world (Berry, 2016). Digitalization has changed the way of how people could receive information (Hendricks & Vestergaard, 2019). Instead of being connected to a car with a radio or sitting at home, a person uses a smartphone with the radio function. Such technological devices do not minimize the power of radio but make it more available, which means that the content of radio broadcasting determines the style of life and public opinion.
Finally, the press is probably the industry where technological changes could be defined as a real challenge. Today, not many people (compared to the prescribers in the 2000s) find it obligatory to buy newspapers or magazines to follow the news. Print media loses its points in the battle against the Internet. Information technology in the form of a smartphone is usually enough to read the news, find a gossip, enjoy the classic literature, or follow a recommendation (Hendricks & Vestergaard, 2019). Print media, as a part of big media, experiences a huge loss in revenue and customers who want to advertise their products or services (Udenze, 2018). Social media, as an outcome of technological progress, turns out to be a serious competitor for the press (particularly the print press). Still, one should admit that many adults and older populations like to buy a newspaper as a part of their routine life and a matter of habit.
Big media is one of the crucial parts of human life to gather, exchange, and store information. In the 2000s, people enjoyed television shows and listened to radio programs. They investigated recent news and discussed political, economic, and social changes that could impact their lives or their countries. The press was an influential source of information that was available at every house because of a regular subscription. Today, the methods of sharing information have significantly changed due to a number of technological changes. The Internet removed the importance of buying newspaper every day but increase the necessity to have a smartphone and be connected online to follow recent news. People should not wait a specific time to watch their favorite show but surf the web and make a choice in one click. New songs and interviews with celebrities could be found online but not on radio stations only. In other words, the power of big media has not been changed, but the means of information delivery have undergone certain changes. Technology may be a threat to the print press but an opportunity for television and radio data sharing.
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