Getting information is one of daily necessities of a human being. The main source of information for millions of people is mass media. Mass media includes newspapers and magazines, advertising and radio, and, of cause, television. They influence the way people look at the world and make them change their views. Some people say, «News is not what happens — it is what you see or read in mass media». In other words, mass media shapes public opinion.
Millions of people watch TV and read newspapers and magazines in their spare time. Television dominates one’s life if the family watches it most of the time. Television informs, educates and entertains people, but it is also a habit-forming drug impossible to result.
Various TV shows, such as quiz, and music programs attract a large audience. During TV quiz programs the questions are answered by the viewers at home.
Then there are daily TV serials known as soap operas. Some people find them boring; others consider them to be good entertainment and relaxation.
There is also a lot of advertising on TV. A lot of commercial firms buy the time to advertise their goods and services. Advertising often annoys the general public. A films, a goo basketball or football match may be interrupted several times with advertisements for a soap powder or new perfume.
Some people say there is too much violence on television, which has a bad influence on young viewers.
There is now more crime and violence in our society than ever before. Everyone is worried. Everyone is scared to go out at night. Old people are scared to walk round the corner to the local shops. There are dangerous times we live in. This is also the time when more and more people are watching violent films on television. Certainly, there is a direct connection between the films that people watch on TV and the violence that is in the streets. In the other words, it is television that is teaching people how to be violent. Little by little, television cuts us off from the real world. We get so lazy, we choose to spend a fine day in semi-darkness, rather than go out into the world itself. Television may be a splendid medium of communication, but it prevents us from communicating with each other.
But it is hardly fair that TV doesn’t try to raise the cultural level of the people or develop their artistic taste. Many TV programs are excellent: they are made in good taste and with great professional skill. TV is very close friend of many people who are lonely or suffer from different diseases and cannot leave their home. In this case TV is a unifying force.
There are some channels in Russia, such as Channel 1, Russia, TNT, STS, NTV, REN-TV etc.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) control broadcasting in the United Kingdom. The BBC receives its income from the government, but the private companies controlled by the IBA earn money from advertising.
Some people think that the only way to be in the known of everything is to read newspapers and magazines.
Newspapers are packed with the latest news, information, fashion and facts. They cater to a variety of political views, interests and levels of education.
There are two main types of newspapers in Great Britain: the «popular» papers and the «quality» papers.
The popular papers are less in size, with many pictures, big headlines and short articles. They are easy to read. They are such papers as «Daily Express», «Daily Mirror», «Daily Star», «The Sun» and others.
The «quality» papers are for more serious readership. These papers are bigger in size, with larger articles and more detailed information. The «quality» papers are — «The Times», «Daily Telegraph», «Financial Times» etc.
In Russia we also have these two types of newspapers. For example, «Izvestya» or «Kommersant» are broadsheets. They contain political, business and cultural information. Such tabloids as «Megepolis Express» and «Express Gazeta» contain the latest gossip, sensations and crossword puzzles.
There are also a lot of magazines and other periodicals. Whatever your interest, there is likely to be a magazine about it — from sport, cookery and farming, to religion, computers, cinema and more. Young people below the of 18 do not buy newspapers; but they do buy magazines. Girls enjoy magazines about pop music, clothes, fashion and make-up; whereas boys prefer to read about sport, cars and computers.
Still, many people prefer the radio. It’ s good to listen to the radio in a car, or in the open air, or when you do something about the house. Listeners can tune into all rinds of stations: pop or classical music, news, sport or foreign radio stations. People can often call in and ask questions about everything from cooking or car repair to politics or health. Callers often get a chance to give their opinions on the air. Besides, radio has fresher news than newspapers. They inform every half hour.
The Internet has recently become another important source of information. It is a computer system that allows millions of people around the world to receive and exchange information about almost everything. The main use of the Internet is to find information about almost everything — for your schoolwork of job, or just to find out more about your hobbies, sport or current events. All the latest information is available to you in your home, at any hour of the day and night. It’s much faster and easier to surf the net in search of information from all over the world than to travel to libraries in dozens of countries.
Thus, you can see that mass media play an important role in present-day live. And we can use the media in different ways, at different time.