What Is the Role of Media in Society?

Jerine Lay/CC-BY 2.0

The media fills multiple roles in society, including providing information from various news sources and organizations, as an entertainment source and as a way to educate individuals.

Information One of the biggest parts that the media plays in society is through the dissemination of information from various news sources. This information comes from a variety of sources, including local, regional, national and global news networks. In addition to politics, the news covers subjects like current affairs, sports and a wide variety of subjects dependent on the interests of the individual viewers, listener or reader. Sources of news include programs on the television, radio, Internet or in print, such as in newspapers or magazines. Individuals can visit the websites and TV stations of such entities as the BBC, CNN and MSNBC, among others, to receive the latest news regardless of the time of day or night. This also makes news more immediate as individuals often receive it as it happens.

Entertainment In addition to giving viewers, readers and listeners the latest news stories, the media also serves another purpose. The media offers programming to keep customers entertained in the form of television and radio programs, and in print media, including magazines, newspapers and books. Such programming ranges from game shows to reality TV, and even TV series designed for specific demographics and age groups. The advent of the internet has also created another source of entertainment by the media, including through such Internet sites as YouTube, Netflix and a variety of entertainment Websites online. Another form of online entertainment, the podcast, has also grown in popularity and covers a wide range of subjects, including favorite hobbies, sports talk and other areas of interest.

Education Another area where the media plays a major part is in education. Educational programming includes various children’s shows on the TV, published books and through websites on the Internet. Sites, such as YouTube and others, provide a wide variety of educational material in the form of how-to and information-rich videos designed by users from around the world. Educational children’s programming on the television has become a large part of early education in the U.S. and other parts of the world, with many young children taking their first steps into the educational process via programs, even before they enter school. Television also offers adult education in the form of programming geared toward the arts, science and other areas of interest.

Social Media Websites Social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, provide a place for people of like minds to gather and communicate. Social media also makes it easier for advocates of certain beliefs to get their views out to the masses, allowing for the easy exchange of ideas between like-minded individuals, and debate between individuals who might have conflicting ideas. Most recently, social media has provided the framework for espousing the ideals of world-changing political movements and making the communication between members of such movements easier. Social media also fills the role of informing others of a person’s status through sites like Facebook.