The emergence and rapid development of the mass media phenomenon has introduced a series of changes to the concept of communication, providing it with a range of new channels and new forms. As a result, nowadays mass media can be regarded as an implicit yet integral part of the conventional life, which influences human cognitive and communicational patterns to the extent of determining what people should think about (Wilson). Hence, although that the majority of the population cannot avoid the impact of media, they nonetheless are capable of raising personal awareness and controlling its effect on individual cognitive processes by developing media literacy, which is considered a first step on the way to change the paradigm of modern mass media.
Question 3: Conglomerates
Despite the variety of names, brands and companies that pound at people through any mass media channels, the broad variety of authentic and unique viewpoints and unbiased opinions these companies propagate are, in fact, an illusion. In reality, most of these names belong to nothing more that conglomerate subsidiaries, which constitute media empires of several most influential organizations. As a result, the contemporary mass media market is divided between such conglomerates as Comcast, Disney, News Corporation, Google, Time Warner and Viacom. Although the list may continue, it will hardly outreach ten names. Although the majority of the audience is familiar with these designations, a relatively small number of people are aware of the actual extent of the media power of the aforesaid companies.
Hence, the examination of the website that provides a list of the subsidiaries of the most influential conglomerates, along with the websites dedicated to these companies demonstrates the prevalence of the expansive strategy that each organization is governed by. As a result, it can be noted that most commonly, the abovementioned conglomerate, intend to exit the initial business dimension and integrate to as many media fields as possible. For instance, while The Walt Disney Company was founded as a multiplication workshop, the current sphere of interest of the company also includes television production, gaming industry, music, theater, radio, publishing, merchandise, and entertainment facilities (CJR's Guide to What the Major Media Companies Own). Naturally, given the modern digitalization of human life, a large portion of the companys services are available online. Similar tendencies can be observed among other companies, which also demonstrate the orientation towards the creation of the complex multidimensional empire that unites every media channel possible. Apart from that, such companies as Disney, News Corporation, Time Warner and Google are now oriented at conquering the international media market. However, while the United States has already fallen to the media monopoly of the conglomerates, which consumes smaller companies similar to the audience consuming their products, the international companies are still commercially viable.
Apart from that, the expansion of media conglomerates is paralleled by conveying a certain type of biased messages, while purposefully tabooing others. As a result, such conglomerates shape peoples media reality, in order to correspond to their purposes, gathering the metaphorical army of unconscious followers under the aegis of the primed ideas. Hyperbolized the statement may be, it still reflects the nature of conglomerate policy, simultaneously evoking associations with 1984 by George Orwell. Although peoples freedom is explicitly moved to the foreground, the world of mass media as such is virtually deprived of the democratic ideals (Miller).
Question 4: Analysis
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The media text Would the Mafia Target Pope Francis over Vatican Reforms? which has recently been issued by CNN discloses the essence of the church-mafia relationship, as well as introduces the strategy for reformation of the established condition implemented by the Pope Francis (Dickie). The reality created by the media symbolically resembles the black-and-white gangster movies of the beginning of the twentieth century. Although ironic, the comparison nevertheless provides insight into the status quo between the church and the leading Mafias. Similarly, the media reality presented in the article is constructed by such features as social tension, previous corruption of the benevolent religious principles and country-wide church fraud, and the hypocrisy of both religious and Mafia representatives. At the same time, the previous dishonored state of affairs is contrasted to the current orientation of the Pope, who appears to be motivated by utmost and nonfictional desire to establish the veracious order, subsequently creating a reality governed by justice and welfare, and deprived of so-called religious omerta.
As a result, the political motive implemented in the media is the call for the reorganization of the religious environment, which has long been interwoven with Mafia business. The article clearly foreshadows that economic reformation conducted by the pontiff is solely a starting point of the alteration of the church status in the context of the underground political affairs. The text incorporates the history of the relationship between the church and Mafias, hardly leaving out any significant details. Among the persuasion techniques the writing employs, the religious dogmas of virtue and righteousness can be regarded as prevalent, given the appeal to these ethical principles among the readers, and thus, subconscious support for the Popes actions. Similarly, the persona of the Pope himself is considered to be a traditional role model for the population. Hence, he can be figuratively interpreted as causa sui in terms of persuasion.
Question 5: Other Topics: Media Impact on Children
Although previously the target audience of mass media was comprised solely from adults, given the inability of children to perceive and process media information, nowadays, young people are considered to be equally important in terms of media consumption. The development of television and the Internet has provided media companies with the opportunity to contact children bypassing their parents, which can distort the initial message. Instead, the contemporary media paradigm suggests that children no longer have to learn to read, in order to occupy the niche in the media world.
Alternatively, the messages are now designed to be comprehensible for the youngest audience. The objective and the benefit of the orientation towards the childrens audience are obvious due to the fact that their cognition is still in the process of formation, and thus, it is highly vulnerable to the messages received from the outside world. As a result, being immersed to the artificial media reality broadcasted from TV and computer screen, children absorb its concepts together with real-world notions. Consequently, they can hardly distinguish between the real world and media reality, becoming involuntarily and inevitably primed by mass media. Ergo, they acquire the knowledge of the popular culture before they develop the understanding of the concept of culture itself, thus being more likely to conform to the typical values of the aforesaid type of culture (Wilson). Nowadays children often learn to operate the computer before they learn to read, which increases the impact technology and media produce on their thinking. For instance, they are frequently more capable of identifying what kinds of sandwiches are sold at Burger King than counting to 100, or find watching commercials more entertaining than reading books.
In conclusion, it should be noted that mass media is reaching the peak of its influence. The variety of channels of information transmission allows professional communicators to distribute the ideas from different directions at the same time. Similarly, the conglomerates that dominate the media world are empowered to affect virtually every person, exposed to media messages. Although these messages do not necessarily possess negative connotation, they nonetheless distort authentic human thinking, manipulating his/ her reactions, values and desires. Therefore, the impact of the media should be limited through the promotion of media literacy among the population. Given the existing dissatisfaction concerning the impact of media on social life and childrens development, the basis for the fundamental alterations has already been created by mass media itself.