Western media is the mass media of the Western world. During the Cold War, Western media contrasted with Soviet media. Western media has gradually expanded into developing countries (often, non-Western countries) around the world...
While it is common to speak of the western press, there is no one western press. The western press is a beast of many leanings: center, right of center, extreme right, left of center, and extreme left.
In the United States, the media is largely privately owned. In other democratic nations of the Western world, particularly in Western Europe, print media outlets such as newspapers are usually privately owned, but public broadcasting is dominant in the broadcast media (radio and television). Historically, the United States was the only developed nation that “created a broadcasting system that was advertiser-supported virtually from the start.” The contrasting Western European model sees public media as “a representation of the national culture.”
1 There is the mainstream media
Mainstream media (MSM) is a term and abbreviation used to refer collectively to the various large mass news media that influence many people, and both reflect and shape prevailing currents of thought. The term is used to contrast with alternative media.
The term is often used for large news conglomerates, including newspapers and broadcast media, that underwent successive mergers in many countries. The concentration of media ownership has raised concerns of a homogenization of viewpoints presented to news consumers. Consequently, the term mainstream media has been used in conversation and the blogosphere, sometimes in oppositional, pejorative or dismissive senses, in discussion of the mass media and media bias.
There are right wing media and left wing media, those in the center, and extreme left and extreme right.
A media conglomerate, media group, or media institution is a company that owns numerous companies involved in mass media enterprises, such as television, radio, publishing, motion pictures, theme parks, or the Internet. According to the magazine The Nation, “Media conglomerates strive for policies that facilitate their control of the markets around the world.”
Critics have accused the large media conglomerates of dominating the media and using unfair practices. During a protest in November 2007, critics such as Jesse Jackson spoke out against consolidation of the media. This can be seen in the news industry, where corporations refuse to publicize information that would be harmful to their interests. Because some corporations do not publish any material that criticizes them or their interests, media conglomerates have been criticized for limiting free speech or not protecting free speech. These practices are also suspected of contributing to the merging of entertainment and news (sensationalism) at the expense of the coverage of serious issues. They are also accused of being a leading force behind the standardization of culture (see globalization, Americanization) and are frequently criticized by groups that perceive news organizations as being biased toward special interests of the owners.
Because there are fewer independent media, there is less diversity in news and entertainment and therefore less competition. This can result in the reduction of different points of view as well as vocalization about different issues. There is also a lack of ethnic and gender diversity as a majority of those in media[where?] are white, middle-class men. There is a concern that their views are being shared disproportionately more than other groups, such as women and ethnic minorities[which?]. Women and minorities also have less ownership of media. Women have less than 7 percent of TV and radio licenses, and minorities have around 7 percent of radio licenses and 3 percent of TV licenses.
Concentration of media ownership (also known as media consolidation or media convergence) is a process whereby progressively fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media. Contemporary research demonstrates increasing levels of consolidation, with many media industries already highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms.
Globally, large media conglomerates include Bertelsmann, National Amusements (ViacomCBS), Sony Corporation, News Corp, Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, AT&T Inc., Fox Corporation, Hearst Communications, MGM Holdings Inc., Grupo Globo (South America), and Lagardère Group.
2 There is the alternative media
Alternative media are media sources that differ from established or dominant types of media (such as mainstream media or mass media) in terms of their content, production, or distribution. Sometimes the term independent media is used as a synonym, indicating independence from large media corporations, but this term is also used to indicate media enjoying freedom of the press and independence from government control. Alternative media does not refer to a specific format and may be inclusive of print, audio, film/video, online/digital and street art, among others. Some examples include the counter-culture zines of the 1960s, ethnic and indigenous media such as the First People’s television network in Canada (later rebranded Aboriginal Peoples Television Network), and more recently online open publishing journalism sites such as Indymedia.
In contrast to mainstream mass media, alternative media tend to be “non-commercial projects that advocate the interests of those excluded from the mainstream”, for example, the poor, political and ethnic minorities, labor groups, and LGBT identities. These media disseminate marginalized viewpoints, such as those heard in the progressive news program Democracy Now!, and create communities of identity, as seen for example in the It Gets Better Project that was posted on YouTube in response to a rise in gay teen suicides at the time of its creation.
Alternative media challenge the dominant beliefs and values of a culture and have been described as “counter-hegemonic” by adherents of Antonio Gramsci‘s theory of cultural hegemony. However, since the definition of alternative media as merely counter to the mainstream is limiting, some approaches to the study of alternative media also address the question of how and where these media are created, as well as the dynamic relationship between the media and the participants that create and use them.
3 There is the independent media refers to any media, such as television, newspapers or Internet-based publications, that is free of influence by government or corporate interests. The term has varied applications. Within the United States and other developed countries, it is often used synonymously with alternative media to refer to media that specifically distinguish themselves in relation to the mainstream media. In international development, the term independent media is used in relation to the development of new media outlets, particularly in areas where there is little to no existing media presence.
Media bias is the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of many events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. The term “media bias” implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article. The direction and degree of media bias in various countries is widely disputed.
Practical limitations to media neutrality include the inability of journalists to report all available stories and facts, and the requirement that selected facts be linked into a coherent narrative. Government influence, including overt and covert censorship, biases the media in some countries, for example China, North Korea and Myanmar. Market forces that result in a biased presentation include the ownership of the news source, concentration of media ownership, the subjective selection of staff, or the preferences of an intended audience.
There are a number of national and international watchdog groups that report on bias of the media.
4 There is state controlled media
State media, state-controlled media, or state-owned media is media for mass communication that is under financial and editorial control of a country’s government, directly or indirectly. These news outlets may be the sole media outlet or may exist in competition with corporate and non-corporate media. State media is not to be confused with public broadcasting and public sector media (state-funded), which is funded directly or indirectly by the state or government but over which the state does not have editorial control.
Its content, according to some sources, is usually more prescriptive, telling the audience what to think, particularly as it is under no pressure to attract high ratings or generate advertising revenue and therefore may cater to the forces in control of the state as opposed to the forces in control of the corporation, as described in the propaganda model of the mass media. In more controlled regions, the state may censor content which it deems illegal, immoral or unfavourable to the government and likewise regulate any programming related to the media; therefore, it is not independent of the governing party. In this type of environment, journalists may be required to be members or affiliated with the ruling party, such as in the former communist countries, the Soviet Union or North Korea. Within countries that have high levels of government interference in the media, it may use the state press for propaganda purposes:
- to promote the regime in a favourable light,
- vilify opposition to the government by launching smear campaigns
- giving skewed coverage to opposition views, or
- act as a mouthpiece to advocate a regime’s ideology.
Additionally, the state-controlled media may only report on legislation after it has already become law to stifle any debate. The media legitimises its presence by emphasising “national unity” against domestic or foreign “aggressors”. In more open and competitive contexts, the state may control or fund its own outlet and is in competition with opposition-controlled and/or independent media. The state media usually have less government control in more open societies and can provide more balanced coverage than media outside of state control.
State media outlets usually enjoy increased funding and subsidies compared to private media counterparts, but this can create inefficiency in the state media. However, in the People’s Republic of China, where state control of the media is high, levels of funding have been reduced for state outlets, which have forced the Party media to sidestep official restrictions on content or publish “soft” editions, such as weekend editions, to generate income.
5 There is the new media
Old media, 1900 media, or legacy media, are the mass media institutions that predominated prior to the Information Age; particularly print media, film studios, music studios, advertising agencies, radio broadcasting, and television.
Old media institutions are centralized and communicate with one-way technologies to a (generally anonymous) mass audience. New media computer technologies are interactive and comparatively decentralized; they enable people to telecommunicate with one another. The defining telecommunications network of the Information Age is the Internet.
The advent of new communication technology (NCT) has brought forth a set of opportunities and challenges for conventional media. The presence of new media and the Internet in particular, has posed a challenge to conventional media, especially the printed newspaper. Analysts[which?] in industrial organizations and businesses are of the view that the U.S. newspaper industry is suffering through what could be its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Advertising revenues are tumbling due to the severe economic downturn, while readership habits are changing as consumers turn to the Internet for free news and information. Some major newspaper chains[which?] are burdened by heavy debts. As in the past, major newspapers have declared bankruptcy as several big city papers shut down, lay off reporters and editors, impose pay reductions, cut the size of the physical newspaper, or turn to Web-only publication (Kirchhoff, 2009). The new media have also affected the way newspapers get and circulate their news. Since 1999, almost 90% of daily newspapers in the United States have been actively using online technologies to search for articles and most of them also create their own news websites to reach new markets. The main phenomenons of cost-cutting are bureau closure, staff reduction, increase in freelancing, stringers, and citizen journalists, reduction of printing costs, increase in advertising space, cuts in logistics thereby changing scope of stories, cuts in resources, office closure, remote/mobile work environments, platform switch, merging and consolidation and closure. It mainly converts physical news to digital news.