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Media-Technology Relationships

February 12, 2010

How are Media & Technology related?

As I mentioned earlier, media, to me, are the organizations that gather and report the news to large numbers of people. These include TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, the internet, etc.  But to understand the relationship between the media and technology, just imagine these news gatherers and reporters without the means by which they can distribute their product. Is it really news if no one hears it? So as great as these reporters might be, they need technology to spread their news to the masses. It started with the printing press and books, moved onto daily newspapers and weekly magazines, radio technology played a vital role in the media’s ability to reach mass audiences and TV took it a step further. Cable news networks are supplanting the network nightly news broadcasts with their 24/7 coverage. But it’s the internet’s technology that has changed the world in regards to the reporting of the news.  So there is clearly a relationship between media and technology but perhaps it’s a bit one-way. What I mean by that is the media requires technology but not all of those technologies require the media. True, you wouldn’t have much of a newspaper without the media; but radio, TV and internet would survive just fine.

Here’s a list of every media technology I  can think of (pardon me if I miss about 1,000 of them):

The Written Word:

Books (ie text and non-fiction books)

newspapers

magazines

periodicals

newsletters

Radio:

AM/FM (Free) broadcasts including all news networks and entertainment stations that occassionally break for the news

Pay Radio (ie Serius) with many channels devoted to te news

Opinion based programs devoted to particular points of view

Television:

Local nightly news, local national (network) news, news programs (ie 60 minutes and 20/20); morning shows (ie Today) that bring us a certain amut of news; Sunday morning political news shows (ie Meet the Press); entertainment shows that do cover a certain amount of news (ie Oprah).

Cable TV: 24/7 news networks incl MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, Fox Busines News, Bloomberg TV, Headline News, News Channel 12 (for New Jerseyites), CSpan (1,2 &3), even the Weather Channel.

Particularly when it comes to cable news, it’s viytal to understand when you’re watching a “news” program versus an opion/commentary type of program. They are 2 distinctly different things.

Not all media has to be hard news either. Perhaps you’re into keeping up with the world of sports. You can get your news on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, MSG, YES, SNY, MSG and MSG2.

Or maybe you’re into entertainment news. Tune into E!, CMT, VH1 BET, Fuse or MTV.

Maybe you’re more interested in do it yourself projects and tune into The Food Network or HGTV.

Fact is there’s media outlets for every interest…even The Science Network and The History Channel.

But enough about TV…onto the internet:

Without a doubt the biggest technological advancement in our time (and maybe any other time). It’s made the world an extremely small place; brought nations and its citizens closer together; spreads news instantaneously; and is so powerful that some countries restrict their citizen’s access to it (ie China and Iran).

But how does the internet actually report the news? Glad you asked:

News networks Including most major newspapers, magazines, network news outlets and cable news organizations all have extremely robust internet sites. Can’t wait for the network news tonight? Visit MSNBC’s website; Can’t get to your TV to tune into CNN, go to their website; don’t want to wait for the NY Times to be dropped in your driveway tomorrow…visit their website. EVERY major news organization is on the web. If they’re not…they won’t be around too long.

Blogs-There’s a million of them. Just be careful treating them as “hard” news

Chat rooms-covering just about every topic imaginable

Websites dedicated to every imaginable subject you could ever want to investigate and learn more about, from needlework to medical procedures, dance lessons and diets to online Mars Rovers.

Email updates: If you don’t even have time to get to a PC, just about every one of these news organizations will send you an email (which most of us can view from our cell phones) telling us the latest headlines. If it interests you…look into it in more detail. If not…delete it.

Twittering/Tweeting: But let’s not discuss that

Online classes (like this one)

Online meetings, press conferences via websites like SKYPE

What do these media technologies have in common with each other?

The most obvious answer is that they all try/believe that they are reporting/transmitting important news. They all count on technologies, from broadcasting on radio and TV to communicating to the masses via the internet. They all seem to rely on getting the story out first (which frightens me, because it may not always be correct). They all must count on hiring great reporters, although, unfortunately, most are turning to simply watching the AP wire. They all tend to utilize every concievable technology available to them, whether it be for “keeping up with the Jones” reasons; giving the impression that they are the most technologically savvy; or maybe because they truly believe in those technologies.

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