What is the media?

I think of media and the media as different phenomena. To me, adding that definite article changes the meaning of “media.” I wanted to see what others thought, so I asked 15 of my friends and family, “What is the media?” You might agree with how they think of the media.

Entertainment and the media are different

Most people with whom I spoke saw the media as something separate from entertainment. They emphasized sharing news as the main purpose of the media. A friend of mine said, “I don’t think of the media as books and music. When I think of the media, I think of news and events.”

On the other hand

For some people the media and entertainment may be the same thing. One person initially mentioned the media as a source of news, but he also included social media and entertainment in his view of the media. Another person brought up social media as a new form of media, but not part of the media.

Tendency of the media to be manipulative

The majority of the people with whom I spoke emphasized the manipulative capabilities of the media. Some people were particularly vocal about the one-sided nature of large news organizations with political agendas.

Some friends said that people can use the media in good ways, such as sharing the stories of traditionally underrepresented people. However, people should be aware of biases. One friend said, “Use discernment about who’s producing your sources and pay attention to what their sources are.”

My parents spoke about how the media used to be versus how it is now. My mom said, “When I grew up, everybody took the media to be the authority on the truth. Nowadays, it’s not like I feel like the media has lost all credibility, but I think it can be manipulative when it wants to be.” My dad called the modern media “an avalanche of TV, radio, newspapers, and blogs.”

How I view the media

I think of media as anything that people use to communicate with each other. However, I think of the media as sources of news, usually with a negative connotation. Do you differentiate between media and the media?