Sample Paper on Crime In Media Week 2

Mass media, simply referred to as the media can be defined as the channels of communication that encompass the transmission of information in some way, shape or form to large numbers of people. In a little over half a century, the influence of the media has witnessed an exponential growth owed to the ever evolving technology advancements.  The increased media presence in society has been accompanied by behavioural changes of the new-age generation that are viewed as deviations from the norms. Therefore, the media has been put in the spotlight over its effects on society and scholars have as well put forward a number of theories on the same.

Entertainment, information and persuasion are the three key functions of the media. From  the three arises a number of effects that can be categorized as either positive or negative. The creation of cultural and political awareness and social skill development are often cited as the main positive influences of the media. It is believed that through the media, people are exposed to other cultures and political opinions of others. Social media is also credited with the ability to help youths develop and improve their social skills by providing interaction platforms.

On the contrary, the media have been criticized for engraining antisocial, deviant and criminal behaviors in society. It is argued that the youth tend to mimic TV and movie personalities who often are depicted to use drugs and alcohol and freely engage in violent behaviors. Such behaviors cultivated in a society often lead to social problems. Through the media, the youths are exposed to other cultural practices, lifestyles and dress codes that are otherwise considered out of the norm in their own societies. When such practices are mimicked they lead to social disturbance.

There exists numerous media effects theories that attempt to explain the influence of the media on society. Of the many theories of media effects, the Agenda-setting theory can be used to best explain the media effects on today’s sensational issues. The theory was developed by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw in 1972 and is of the opinion that the media defines the issues that concern the public instead of the public’s views. The theory states that the media possess the power to focus public discussion on particular issues. For instance, the public tends to focus more on stories forming newspaper headlines rather than those in the inner pages. Additionally, the theory says that not only does the media determine what the publics discuses, but also how to think about the issue. For instance, the media can choose to focus on a certain aspect of an event and ignore others.

The media forms one of the most important information tanks in society today. Other than its principal functions of entertaining, informing and persuading, the media also influences society in certain ways. Although positive effects of the media do exist,the spotlight has been on its negative effect. It is argued that the media has the potential to cause antisocial behavior, cause deviance and also result in criminal activities. Scholars have elbowed their way into the field of media effects and as a result, a number of theories of media effects exist. The Agenda-setting theory by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw can be used to best describe the media effect on present sensational issues. It states that the media defines the issues that concern the public rather than airing the public’s views.