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Mass media

For other uses of the word Media see media (disambiguation).

"Media" (originally the plural of "medium") is a contraction of the term "media of communication", referring to those organized means of dissemination of fact, opinion, and entertainment such as newspapers, magazines, cinema films, radio, television, and the World Wide Web. Writers currently vary in their preference for using "media" in the singular ("the media is...") or the plural ("the media are...").

Mass media is the term used to denote, as a class, that section of the media specifically conceived and designed to reach a very large audience (typically at least as large as the whole population of a nation state). It was coined in the 1920s with the advent of nationwide radio networks and of mass-circulation newspapers and magazines. The mass-media audience has been viewed by some commentators as forming a mass society with special characteristics, notably atomization or lack of social connections, which render it especially susceptible to the influence of modern mass-media techniques such as advertising and propaganda.

During the 20th century, the advent of mass media was driven by technology that allowed the massive duplication of material at a low cost. Physical duplication technologies such as printing, record pressing and film duplication allowed the duplication of books, newspapers and movies at low prices to huge audiences. Television and radio allowed the electronic duplication of content for the first time.

Mass media had the economics of linear replication: a single work could make money proportional to the number of copies sold, and as volumes went up, units costs went down, increasing profit margins further. Vast fortunes were to be made in mass media.

In a democratic society, an independant media serves to educate the public/electorate about issues regarding government and corporate entities (see Mass media and public opinion). Some consider concentration of media ownership to be the single greatest threat to democracy.


The Internet and mass media

During the last decade of the 20th century, the advent of the World Wide Web marked the first era in which any individual could have a means of exposure on the scale of mass media. For the first time, anyone with a web site can address a global audience, although serving high levels of web traffic is still expensive. It is possible that the rise of peer-to-peer technologies may have begun the process of making the cost of bandwidth manageable.

See also

Notable persons

Notable corporations

By location


External links

Media studies

  • - Media studies resources
  • New School University - Media Studies Program
  • Bournemouth Media School - Largest media university in UK
  • European Graduate School - Media and Communication Studies Program
  • University of Toronto - McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology
  • MIT Comparative Media Studies
  • Media Studies at the University of Luton, UK


  • information about media groups
  • 'The Fourth Estate' - An online journal on the media industry, by Mike Walsh
  • Content is Not King, by Andrew Odlyzko
  • Federation Without Television
  • Open-Site Media - Information about the mass media from the Open-Site Encyclopedia
  • MediaLens: "correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media" .

List of Media

Media Directories

  • Guardian World News Guide to online news sources
  • Newspapers in Spanish around the world Mass Media directory by country
  • World newspapers Mass Media directory by country



List of Canadian television channels


List of newspapers in Canada


  • L'Actualité


  • TennisQué, French web site about tennis
  • Horncastle News Website , Small town newspaper for comparison(See also Horncastle)

United States of America


Television in the United States


List of newspapers in the United States

Last updated: 02-04-2005 09:20:03