Press And Society
The world is undergoing a change at a rapid pace. Every second, something newsworthy takes place. The news reaches us through various information channels, the most powerful medium being the press. Going back into history, the 15th century saw a rise in the literate middle class that created a need for print media. The onus of inventing the very first printing press goes to Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith from Germany. His printing method emerged as a tool to copy highly intellectual information and make it public in an inexpensive way.
The press as we know it today is hardly in the form of prized possessions, it represents all sorts of medium that are used to communicate news to the masses. Each one of us is surrounded by press and it touches our lives in more ways than we can imagine. It reaches us through the newspaper, radio, television and the internet. What we read, hear and see affects us at various levels. The news media touches upon various aspects of the society that is linked to the common man such as political, social, religious, economical, health, business, sports, entertainment and education related news. Whether we are directly linked to it or not, press is a part of us and drives our thoughts, communications and sometimes our behavior both in implicit and explicit ways.
There are three main functions of the press. Firstly, it must provide an accurate account of information. Secondly, it must aid public opinion by explaining and interpreting current news and issues. Finally, the press must provide an impartial account of both sides of the issue and suggest what measures appear to provide a better solution.
The press is a double edged sword. It can inspire, motivate, sway perceptions or even lead astray. On one hand it provides us with valuable information that keeps us abreast with the societal happenings, while on the other hand one might become a victim of mass manipulation. The readily available headlines, taglines and conclusions may dwarf our own thinking capabilities, thereby leaving scanty room for an individual opinion.
Since what is being imparted upon us is being controlled by external forces, one might become an easy prey to a biased opinion. Therefore, it is important to form an opinion with an open mind while keeping things in perspective.