by Sonja Kappler, Germany
We come in contact with all sorts of media every day in our lives. Watching TV is still the most favorite leisure activity and especially young people spend several hours a day on the Internet. When we travel to work by car we usually listen to the radio, which is also a form of media, and with our smartphones we can be connected to the Internet whenever we want to be. So we can quickly see that we are in contact with the media nearly the whole day. It is very important that we take a closer look at how the media affects ,and especially influences, us.
Media can also be seen as the fourth estate in a democratic state. Media in this case should inform the people, should criticize the politicians, should cause people to think more and to form an opinion. The media can also influence political actions. The quotation of Bob Woodward (American investigative journalist and non-fiction author), “The central dilemma in journalism is that you don’t know what you don’t know.”, shows that the journalists decide what is seen as important and about what the people get informed and what about not. As a result we can say that people only know what the media wants them to know.
With the way a journalist also writes about something or someone can influence us, for example if they just talk about the negative aspects of a person or a topic, the public will usually also have a negative connection about the person or the topic. It is possible for the media to ruin a person or to promote them to be represented as the greatest person. The quotation from Malcom X “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” also supports that.
Sometimes the media also focusses on information about celebrities, especially tabloids report about what is new and in in Hollywood. Because of that the really important news doesn’t get enough attention.
If we talk about media we should also include Social Media. With platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, people can be online the whole day. With Social Media we can easily stay connected with people all around the world and people can also share and discuss topics online. Another positive aspect is that people can find other people who have the same interests as each other. On the other hand a lot of wrong information is spread on the Internet and people don’t interact face to face anymore. Chat messages are often misinterpreted. Also people forget their real lives or take on other personalities. The media has also the power to find out everything about a person because what was once shared on the Internet is never gone.