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Media and the 20th Century

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Media in the 20th Century
John D. Allmon
March 3, 2013
Carey Rodriquez


Media in the 20th Century

I. To fully understand mass media, we need to come to grips with the enormous role that mass media has played in shaping that culture over the past one hundred years. With the development and evolution of mass media, there have been tremendous advantages and disadvantages that have contributed to major changes in society throughout the 20th century. However, these changes not only affect society but it has also affected the way business is done today. With the dawn of media convergence, globalization of media, audience dependency, concentration of ownership, and issue of media literacy; all the parties in the mass communication process are forced to think dramatically about their positions in it. Mass media can affect knowledge, attitudes, opinions and behavior of individuals. These effects can be immediate or delayed, for a short duration or long-lasting.

II. With the development and evolution of media, we find that media convergence and media dependency have become a major factor in how society is affected and the way we respond throughout our everyday life. Encyclopedia Britannica (2013) states that, “Media convergence, a phenomenon involving the interlocking of computing, and technology information companies, telecommunications networks, and content providers from the publishing worlds of newspapers, magazines, music, radio, television, films, and entertainment software. Media convergence brings together the “three Cs”—computing, communications, and content.”
There are two levels of convergence, technologies which use broadband or wireless network delivery for industry-standard digital forms that they will display on various computer or computer-like devices such as laptops, cell phones, or tablets, and then there are industries, these companies across the business spectrum that will use anything from media to telecommunications to technology to merge or form business alliances to profit from the growing consumer expectation for “on-demand” content and use. . (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2013)
Theory for media dependency is outlined by Sandra Ball-Rokeach and Melvin DeFleur (1976), they State that:

“This theory predicts that you depend on media information to meet certain needs and achieve certain goals, like uses-and-gratifications theory. But you do not depend on all media equally. Two factors influence the degree of media dependence. First, you will become more dependent on media that meet a number of your needs than on media that provide just a few. The second source of dependency is social stability. At such times your reliance on the media for information will increase. At other, more stable times your dependency on media may go way down. In other words, individuals’ needs, motives, and uses of media are contingent on outside factors that may not be in the individuals’ control.” With this being said, we find that society or the human race is not only those affected by media convergence and dependency. The industries along with business have come to depend on the media to strive and grow; even more so since technology and media have developed and evolved over the years. With the development and evolution of media society has grown to become more dependent on media than in the past.

III. There are so many advantages and disadvantages to the media system that one tends to overpower the other. We find that media literacy gives the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, and COMMUNICATE information in a variety of forms, including non-print and printed messages. NAMLE (2013) Media literacy empowers us to think and react with the ability to use media for the evolution of our creative and critical thinking through the use of modern technology and media. However, with the rise in media consumption, doubling every 25 years (Blanchard O. 2012), we tend to lose sight of our roots in newspaper, printing, or even movies. Society has moved further into the technological age without looking back. There has to be a balance between Protection and Empowerment. Society today knows the risks of social media, but we choose to ignore what is happening, the younger generation as well as the older generation needs to have a better understanding and help build media awareness. Since media is in the main stream we all have to take into consideration that we risk a larger amount when we pay little attention to the advantages and disadvantages of mass media. Society needs to slow down and realize that through media awareness we can educate and build better social relations and use the mainstream media to our advantage.

IV. With the ever changing way that media is used today we must not overlook the changes that have occurred over the past years, and the effect these changes have had on democracy, and what changes the Internet has had on business. A. “Throughout the 20th century media has had a major effect on democracy. As time changes so does the media and the way we use it for our advantage. The free flow of news and information, accessible to everyone, is vital to the success of democracy.” (Media & Democracy, p.16, 2013) Traditionally the most reliable source of civic information and investigative reporting, are lying off reporters and editors by the hundreds, canceling editions and often shutting down entirely. Broadcasters also are making severe cuts, so state, local and federal government offices that once were closely scrutinized now operate in the shadows.” (Media & Democracy, p. 16, 2013)

B. The relations of Internet to business brings us to look closely at what net neutrality is and what it has to do with the way business is run today. The New York Times (2013) said that “the concept of “net neutrality" holds that companies providing Internet service should treat all sources of data equally. It has been the center of a debate over whether those companies can give preferential treatment to content providers who pay for faster transmission, or to their own content, in effect creating a two-tier Web, and about whether they can block or impede content representing controversial points of view.” “Currently, Internet users get access to any Web site on an equal basis. Foreign and domestic sites, big corporate home pages and low-traffic blogs all show up on a user’s screen in the same way when their addresses are typed into a browser.” New York Times (2013) . The New York Times (2013) reported that “on Dec. 21, 2010, the F.C.C. approved a compromise that would broadly create two classes of Internet access, one for fixed-line providers and the other for the wireless Net. The vote was 3 to 2, with the Democratic commissioners supporting it and the Republican commissioners against.” In other words what is happening is that all these major service providers are trying to take over the market and become the “Gatekeepers” of today’s Internet. If this happens then the smaller companies will have no chance in today’s market and will be overrun unless they can pay for the faster service. V. Professor Ahmad R. E., at University of the Punjab said, “Since the invention of the printing press in 1450, people have acknowledged the potential influence of mass media messages. Technology facilitated to “remote control‟ people and things turned the world into a “global village‟.” In knowing that “Globalization” of mass media is not measured by geographical proximity but is looked at as a way of measuring globalization itself. We have to consider the economics, power, and culture that mass media has produced throughout the past one hundred years. A. The globalization of trade in goods and services is opening up new and increasingly vast markets. The globalization of financial markets has triggered sharp growth in investment portfolios and large movements of short-term capital, with borrowers and investors interacting through a more unified market. This is economic globalization and has changed drastically since the evolution of media. B. Geographic proximity goes hand-in-hand with large diversity in language, tradition, culture, preferences and behaviors. When the globalization of media came about people had to realize that media combined with culture gave a large amount of power to those that would use it to their advantage. They would take into consideration the geographical proximity of all the industries and gain their power by using media to their advantage. When mass media went worldwide it opened the opportunity for many of the larger companies to overpower the smaller companies and combine them into their own corporation. Mary Hickman (2013) said that, “media globalization cannot be stopped. It is a result of new communications technology. It is also the prerequisite and facilitator for all other forms of globalization. Multi-national media is critical to global industries. Many Americans feel that we ought to enjoy the benefits of media globalization, such as global communication, rather than fearing and attempting to avoid the consequences—which ironically include hindrance of free speech.” Man has taken advantage of technology and what media has to offer and used it for their own gain, but this is what has happened throughout the history of mankind, and will continue to do so.

VI. Even though we realize that media convergence, globalization of media, audience dependency, concentration of ownership, and issue of media literacy all are parties to the mass media process. We have to realize that people are really the reason for any developments and evolution of mass media because there have been tremendous advantages and disadvantages that have contributed to major changes in society throughout the 20th century. We also know that media is a forever changing process that will continue to change as long as man survives.


Blanchard, Olivier. (2012). Digital Media Usage Trends & Shifts: The Next 5 Years. Retrieved from: University of Phoenix Library
Document URL:

Mary Hickman. (2013). The Effects of Media Globalization. Retrieved from: http//
Media and Democracy. (2013). Media and Democracy. Retrieved from:
Media convergence. (2013). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from:
NAMLE (2013), National Association for Media Literacy Education. Retrieved from:
New York Times. (2013). Net Neutrality, Article Retrieved from:
Rana Eijaz Ahmad (2011). International Journal of Business and Social Science, Centre for Promoting Ideas, USA. Retrieved from: University of Phoenix Library, Document URL:
Sandra Ball-Rokeach and Melvin DeFleur (1976). Media Dependency Theory. Retrieved from:,%20Culture%20and%20Society/Dependency%20Theory-1.doc/

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