Today, new communications technologies are expanding with the development of the internet, iphone and social networks. The mainstream media, traditionally defined as major television, radio and print are still an important source of information in our society. Based on the U.S Census Bureau, 98.2 percent of all households had at least one television in 2005. The newspapersindustry is suffering most from the development of the new communications technologies. But, the major’s newspapers like the New York Times or the Washington Post in our local area still remain popular sources of information.
The majority of Americans does not use the new communications technologies as a source of information; they rely on the mainstream media to be informed about differentissues. Research has shown that 91.3 percent of the 18 to 24 years old audiences rely more on the traditional media to be informed about different issues than the new communications technologies (U.S. Census Report - 2007). In my opinion, in the U.S, the mainstream media is not a relevant source of in-depth information to help shape students’ opinion on different issues and to get a broader vision ofthe world. As the statistic shows that the mainstream media is still prominent in students’ lives; it is time to put more credibility into it by offering in-depth information.
From opening the barriers between cultures to promoting democracy around the world, globalization has been the new trend for success. One would think that the mainstream media in the U.S. would follow this path byrelating relevant information to promote globalization and inform the viewers about world issues. It appears that traditional media sources in the U.S have focused their coverage mostly on national news and sensational headlines. As a French student, one of my past assignments in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class was to view one hour of TV news and monitor the time spent on national news,international news, sports, weather and commercials. The result was amazing. Commercials took most time in an hour of news, followed by sports, national news, weather and finally international news. According to the U.S Census bureau, 94.2 percent of the multimedia audiences are TV viewers and 83.6 percent are prime time viewers. Last month, the number of people suffering from hunger around the worldreached the one billion mark. It is an outraged to not see or read more in-depth coverage about this alarming news on a daily basis. According to the Tyndrall Report, “international news coverage dropped to a 21 year low in 2000”, and “from the 3 majors’ television news network in the U.S, ABC, CBS and NBC, only 13 percent was world news” (2008 Year in Review). This example illustrates how themainstream media is selective and incomplete. The solution will be for the mainstream media to recognize their influence on the public, specifically for the major television with 94.2 percent of audience, and to increase their international news coverage in order to shape public opinion and to prepare students for the global environment.
Our society seems to become more violent with wars aroundthe world, terrorism and the proliferation of domestic crimes. Mainstreams media tends to relate sensational news instead of informative news to appeal to an audience that does not want to be bored while watching news or reading newspapers. The bias is omnipresent in American mainstream media. In the 2002 documentary film “Bowling for Columbine” from Michael Moore, the producer demonstrates thisfact by showing how the news media tends to generate fears toward black people by repeatedly showing black violence. Some viewers may think that the news is simply a reflection of what happens in the world. The mainstream media losses credibility with biased information. A recent article “Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two-Decade Lows” in the Pew Center Publications show a new study about the news...