Face it, being a journalist or blogger is hard work; keep coming up with ideas, build an audience, and having confidence. Once you nailed those down, you need to deal with comments from others. Comments such as fake news or you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.
No matter your niche, you would deal with these kinds of comments. Especially if you cover news or politics. If you studied journalism in college, you’ll take a class on mass communication. Mass communication is the information we see through all forms of media.
At the very beginning of the class you would learn about these secrets, and you can use them to understand the media circling around us. Let’s get to them, shall we?
1. The Media Are Essential Components Of Our Lives
Think about it, there’s no way the media doesn’t affect our lives. If you read this through a cellular phone or computer. That device is from a company, and you trusted said company to use their product to gather and attain information which may or may not be useful. Everything you use or see is the media. Your phone, tv, computer, house appliance, books, and clothing. From the moment we wake up, we have consumed large amounts of media and don’t know.
Ralph E. Hanson, writer of Mass Communication and professor of communication at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, states it clearly,
Every semester I poll my students as to what media they have used so far that day, with the day starting at midnight. I run through the list: checking Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram; listening to the radio; checking the weather on a mobile device; binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix; reading the latest John Green novel; listening to Spotify on an iPhone; and so it goes.
This is true for the typical young adult, but we contribute to these patterns as well. No matter what you’re watching or learning, the media is there every step of the way.
2. There Are No Mainstream Media
Come on, there must be a mainstream media. No, any media we consume is part of the mainstream. Pundits and even writers on medium talk about the mainstream media, and how they don’t understand media. They say that because they don’t like said media. If they don’t like it or it’s extremely bias, then it's the mainstream media.
You may not like what they preach, but they’re part of the mainstream. For example, Fox News may rip on CNN for being part of the mainstream. When you compare the two, in April 2018, Fox News garnered 2.4 million views and CNN 1 million. The two news broadcasters may not like each other, but both are clearly in the so-called mainstream.
3. Everything From the Margin Moves To The Center
What does it mean? It means whatever wasn’t popular before would become popular again. We see this countless times in our society; one minute people have their attention on one thing, then move on to another. For example, the recent GameStop stock purchases. GameStop had a steady stock price, but quickly went up because people on a Reddit forums bought game stocks in succession.
After the uproar of stock prices, it went down, and some people became victors and others didn’t.
As a journalist or blogger, you always need to keep up to date on the latest craze, or you’ll get drowned out and get called an old person. No one wants that.
4. Nothing’s New: Everything That Happened In The Past Will Happen Again
Yes, time and time again, humans as a species have repeated the same pattern as our ancestors. With the media, it’s different. History repeats itself because new technologies emerge, and new individuals come to business.
Ralph E. Hanson gave the perfect example. In the 1930s, there was fear if you watched gangster films, they would corrupt your mind and make you do heinous acts. Sixty years later, rap and rock scared people with their offensive lyrics.
The media are ever changing, and was infamous then would seem outrageous now, but in a different light.
5. All Media Are Social
Every website or app you visit has a social factor to it. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Medium have features where you can comment, like, and message. All factors used to socialize with other individuals.
By nature, we’re social creatures and we need some form of interaction, even if it’s looking at a screen. Being extroverted and introverted, we all need brief interaction in our lives. Be it having a video conversation through Zoom, texting each other, or hanging out with friends. We’re all connected in the web of social media.
6. Online Media Are Mobile Media
In today’s digital age, everything we did on our computer is available in a small device you carry everywhere. Yes, even the bathroom. It’s reported that more people use mobile devices compare to computers daily. As of now, Pew Research states 97% of U.S. citizens use cell-phones. With the majority being Male and Female Hispanics 18–29 years old.
Around the globe, mobile media is the only online research available. In the Middle East, mobile is the primary source. During 2011, most of the news came from mobile devices.
As the media continues to grow, mobile would become the dominant force as online stays in the sidelines.
7. There’s No They
If you ever read or watched the news, the pundit might mention someone they refer to as they or them. They may something on the lines as they entered a store and stole all the chips. The media may use they or them to refer to an entity they don’t like and would keep it vague not to stir any fuss to one commodity. For example, we don’t like what corporate overlords are doing to our society, so we’ll mention all the corporate empires as they know we’re not attacking a single one.
Next time you read or watch the news spot out these keywords: they or them.
Secret one: you understand that media in everywhere. Secret two: every piece of media is getting popular, so the mainstream doesn’t remain. Secret three something that wasn’t popular, would eventually gain success. Secret four history would repeat itself and you need to understand when it happens. Secret five: every website or app we use has a social factor. Secret six what you see online is also available through mobile, and online is all some countries have access to. Secret seven, the media refers to they or them when they don’t want to blame one matter specifically.
Whenever you come across a piece of media; use these secrets to evaluate it. As a result, You’ll grow your media literacy.