Media culture refers to the cultural influence and intellectual guidance provided by mass media (primarily television, but also newspapers, radio and cinema).
In the 20th century, broadcast communication–such as traditional radio, news television and film–changed entire nations by disseminating news and information at an unprecedented scale. Through this media landscape, citizens were able to express their thoughts, attitudes and worldviews in unprecedented ways.
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At the turn of the 20th century, a few mass media companies began to dominate society’s cultural landscape. Some critics warned that this concentration would lead to an increasingly conformist culture and diminish personal creativity and independent thought. On the other hand, some were optimistic about media’s potential to transform young people into active participants in a democratic society which valued critical thinking and artistic expression.
The development of new technologies for communication information and entertainment was a crucial factor in the evolution of media culture. The computer revolution of the 1990s democratized mass media by enabling individuals to create, distribute, and comment on their own material. This spurred on many-to-many systems of communication where ideas were exchanged live over digital networks.
Democrasizing media production created an opportunity for the development of more dynamic, participatory forms than before. This included the rise of online information networks which enabled the production and dissemination of podcasts, blogs and other social media formats.
In addition to creating the framework of an increasingly global media culture, new technologies and media companies have had a profound effect on how young people perceive themselves and the world. In particular, these developments have altered how youth consider their identities, place in society, as well as how they engage with social structures.
Media have always been an essential tool in society for organizing themselves, communicating and making sense of their lives. For instance, the narrative structure of a news story helps organize vast amounts of data in an efficient and effective manner that allows journalists to meet their deadlines.
Narrative structures are common across all media forms, from news broadcasts to television shows and movies. Journalists use them for filtering through vast amounts of data; they’re also key in shaping public conversation and debate about issues.
For instance, news broadcasts typically feature a series of brief reports to inform viewers about various aspects of a major event; they usually start with more serious stories and conclude with lighter or humorous ones. This type of organization of stories is fundamental to how media shapes public discourse and makes meaning of human life in general – something widely acknowledged by social scientists.