"Mass media" is a word used to describe all media created to reach a mass audience. The term was first used in 1920 when nationwide radio allowed news and commentary to be transmitted on a broad scale. The intended audience of mass media is usually the population of a nation, if not the entire population of the world. Some have said that the mass media is responsible for the creation of a mass culture, which is influenced by the media, but disengaged from local society. The mass media creates a platform that allows views to be spread to a wide audience. There have been concerns that this opens the door to mass manipulation of the populace with propaganda, unscrupulous advertising or disinformation.
Generally, when someone uses the word "media," he or she is referring to the mass media. The word itself, "media," is shorthand for the phrase, "media of communication"==literally--"the stuff of communication." This "stuff" with which we communicate includes magazines, newspapers, movies, television, radio, the Internet, books, CDs, DVDs, billboards, tapes, and all other "stuff" that is published or made widely available to the public. "Mass media" is mass-produced information for a mass audience.
The History of Mass Media
Mass Communication grew out of technology. The precursor to mass media was the movable type Printing press, invented by Johann Gutenberg in 1450s Germany. The press allowed books to be printed much more cheaply than traditional woodblock-printed and hand-copied books. These texts were inexpensive enough to be distributed to the masses. As the availability of books and newspapers increased, so did literacy rates, causing greater demand and thus a greater rise in printer output.
In the 20th century, radio, television, and later the Internet, allowed communications to reach an ever-wider audience. The reach of the media was also increased by cheaper printing methods, computer typesetting, and the advent of analog and digital recording. Writers, musicians, actors and visual artists could make millions on cheap reproductions of their work. They also began to achieve fame on a national or international scale, leading to the rise of celebrity culture.
Mass media also gave rise to the news media, or journalism. Journalism is the section of mass media that "reports the news." It is distinguished from entertainment in that the content it provides is informative and generally describes current or recent events. Often, when people refer to the media, they are referring to Journalism, especially to mainstream news.
The media can be broadcast on radio, television, or on the web. It can also be printed in books, magazines or newspapers. CDs, tapes, and DVDs are cheaply produced copies of audible or visual content. Floppy disks and CD-Rs are used to transmit information to and from computers. The Internet serves all of these functions, allowing print, video and sound to be shared around the world in seconds. The web also allows people to publish their own content, with the aid of blogs, and the Peer-to-Peer, Open source and Open publishing movements.