Study Notes on Mass Media & Society for UGC NET Exam

By Mohit Choudhary|Updated : March 20th, 2024

The UGC NET exam is organized by NTA twice a year. It consists of Paper 1 which is common for all students and Paper 2 which is related to the subject of the student in his Master's degree. The Paper 1 exam is divided by UGC into 10 units, and Communication is one among them. Due to the subjective nature of this topic students usually face problems while attempting these questions. Here is an article that will help you in understanding the topic of Mass Media. 


Mass Media

Mass Media or mass communication is a technology that is intended to reach a mass audience or a large group of people. It is a primary means of communication used to reach the general public.

The mass media is everything that is used to communicate or intend to send messages to a target audience, and it could be classified according to its physical form, technology involved, and the type of communication process it means. The mass media has the following characteristics which make it different from the other modes of communication, they are: -

  1. The audience is usually large and heterogenous: The messages in mass media are usually intended for a group of people. The sources like radio and television have a huge base of audience, whereas magazines, journals, and newspapers cater to a specific section of the society. These days with the emergence of social media, mass media has reached every corner of the country and the world.
  2. The messages are of short duration and lack privacy: The messages are of short duration spanning across a week or a day, at times they even last for a few hours due to the volatile nature of the information. For example, a viral act of a policeman abusing his powers could be a hit in a few hours but lost the next day.
  3. The source is generally an institution or a group of people: The mass media usually stems from an authentic or a large public/ private organization. A classic example of this is the PIB (Press Information Bureau) which is the official website of the Ministry of Information and broadcasting. Another example is the large media houses like Times now, NDTV that makes the information reach everywhere.
  4. The feedback is indirect and asynchronous: the feedback mechanism of mass communication is not instant, nor direct. The reaction to any news or information could be subtle or in the form of group discussions and not directly to the source from where the information is coming from.
  5. It is the most important medium affecting the psyche of a person: It is supposedly a media that has a deep both short term and long-term impact on the thinking and the overall perspective of a person about any topic or issue.

Categories of mass media

The mass media is generally categorized based on the type of its physical form and technology involved:                           

  1. Traditional Media: - The conventional media includes the oldest art, music, and dance existing in the country and carried forward by the generations. In every country, the ancient art form is considered as a medium to communicate as they inform, educate and spread knowledge through an oral form of communication.
  1. The features of the traditional media are:
  2. The performances are spontaneous

The content of the act is simpler and more comfortable to pass on

  1. The performer can make changes in their acts
  2. The audience and perform generally know each other.
  1. Print Media: - Print media has its origin in eighteen century Europe and since then had hugely affected the mass media. It is an ordered, logical, and up-to-date collection of the happenings around the world, their culture, food, and tradition.

Print media includes the following: -

  1. Newspaper:- These are the go-to channel for gathering information for many people, their diversity in content and variety of topics make it the largest availed media.
  2. Magazines and Periodical: These became a sensation post-industrial revolution, due to mass production and hence the need to sell the goods and advertise them. These cater to different sections of society as per the preferences and requirements.
  3. Books:- These emerged from the ancient manuscripts written on palm leaves to the later times when the Chinese discovered the paper. They have been a consistent source of knowledge.
  4. Electronic media: - Electronic media started with the discovery of cinematography by the Lumiere Brothers, who conducted the premiere show of cinema in 1895. Later the radio was invented by Guglielmo Marconi. Now they are the most important medium of communication. It includes television, radio, and films.
  5. Modern-day media: - The invention of the Internet and the World Wide Web opened up several new avenues for mass communication which include e-mail, websites, podcasts, kindles, blogging, social networking sites like Twitter, Instagram. The modern-day scenario of the instant and accessible on a single click mass media emerged during the 1990s. Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blogs are connecting the whole world.

Functions of Mass Media in Modern-day society:

  • Information and sensitization: one of the basic aims of the mass media is to inform and sensitize society about the current happenings. Information is the first component and sensitization is the later and the more important aspect so that they are aware of their rights and issues.
  • Political awareness: The people who are also the voters of the country should know everything about the issues and problems affecting them and the possible solutions to them. Mass media like radio, newspapers, news channels, etc. are their go-to source.
  • Cultural transmission: Mass media are the bridge between our past and present links to the future. They report day-to-day affairs that will become the history of tomorrow. The best records of modern history are newspapers of yesteryears. We get our cultural traditions from history, and we follow the best of them.
  • The link between people and the government: The government uses the medium of televisions and social media to know what the people want, and the people are made aware of the happenings in the inner circle of the Parliament and bureaucracy through the mass media. It acts as a bridge between them.
  • Agency of socialization: modern-day communication applications like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have emerged as the best way to know about people situated miles apart.
  • Entertainment: This medium breaks the monotony of the daily life of communication like films, televisions, social networking sites.

Mass media or mass communication is thus an essential aspect of society, affecting the people at large.

Thank You.

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