Live media literate.

Join Understand Media to get access to our forums, the latest media literacy news, member-only articles, early access to our journals, and much more.

We will never give your info to anyone!

By Jingwei Z.

In the 20th century, people slowly discover that our living society faces many issues today: harassment against women, discrimination against Minority groups, the rise of terrorists and Neo-Nazis, etc. And whenever these problems arise, we can notice that the news media like BBC, CNN, and Fox News report them to the public at the first time. For many years, we are already getting used to reading the news about BLM, Muslims’ problems, etc., on the news media. But have you considered that what the exact role do these news media plays during them? I believe their role during these issues is to let the people know what is happening behind these issues, alarm the people, and thus provide them a chance to propose their opinions on them by publishing the news through TV, video websites like YouTube, or on the newspaper. 

And among these three roles, the first one is the primary step to do when these issues happened and is the most critical one. Take the U.S. Capitol riot that occurred on Jan 6; as soon as the riot happened, we could know the real-time situation with both the lives news by news media on television and detailed reports with pictures that posted across the Internet. That means people can have a brief understanding of these social issues quickly and conveniently, even if they are not there. But at the same time, people may not want to read them since there may contain many disgusting scenes. 

Therefore, sometimes, you may wonder: since there are many uncomfortable contents included with the news related to social issues, why does the news media still want to make them available to the public? This question brings out the next two media’s essential roles in these issues: alarm the people and provide them a chance to propose their ideas on them. Through the 21st century, with technology’s progress, we seem to have a convenient and harmonious life. However, we start to ignore that both news and social problems remain and become a sinister force of our society—the rise up of Neo-Nazism, race and gender inequality, the political struggle between the parties, etc. However, the facts proved that ignore them led to severe consequences:  horrifying news or incidents that relate to them appear again, then they become more and more, make our lives in danger. And news media would make this news available is to remind people that these problems don’t disappear. They are still here and becoming very serious, which reminds us we need to stop them before they do anything more dangerous further. 

Finally, the third role, which I considered the most important one, is to promote good suggestions that can inspire us to do in reality. The best example that can illustrate it is the case of  COVID-19. We can check the updated situation or news report of it any time with the help of mass news media around us during this pandemic. By watching them, you can enhance your beneficial health behaviors or increase individuals’ adherence to everyday precautions, like keeping a social distance from others. Besides, as the mainstream media reports these issues, people can think about what they can do to prevent such tragedy happens again. Take me as an example. Once, I read some news about how Polish women launched protests against the government’s abortion ban. While I was reading it, I remembered more women living in an environment of gender inequality, while I want to change such a situation. I believe that is what the mainstream media expect people to do when they report these news pieces.

In conclusion, the role of news media during these social issues is very important. Scilicet, we can’t know the matter’s seriousness and consider what to do if they don’t choose to report them. These are also the responsibilities of the news media today.

 

Source

Danielle, Kilgo K. “The insurrection at the Capitol challenged how US media frames unrest and shapes public opinion.” The Conversation, 8 Jan 2021, https://theconversation.com/the-insurrection-at-the-capitol-challenged-how-us-media-frames-unrest-and-shapes-public-opinion-152805.  Accessed 23 Jan 2021. 

Xiaoya, Jiang. “News Attention and Social-Distancing Behavior Amid COVID-19: How Media Trust and Social Norms Moderate a Mediated Relationship.” Taylor & Francis Online, 13 Jan 2021. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10410236.2020.1868064. Accessed 23 Jan 2021.

Simplilearn. “Understanding The Impacts of Social Media: Pros and Cons.” 2 Feb 2021.https://www.simplilearn.com/real-impact-social-media-article. Accessed 12 Feb 2021.