Sample Research Paper on Mass Media and Activism

Mass Media and Activism


The media has powerful impacts on the political, social and economic aspects in the society. This is because the media is symbolic and persuasive and thus the capability to manipulate the minds of the readers and the viewers. Activist media encourages the readers to be active on matters of social changes (Waltz, M.  2005, 30) .This paper will implore he global trends in politics in relation to the mass media.

Mass media activism

The world has witnessed intense heights of social activism. These include mass demonstrations, sustained publicity campaigns against world business organizations, escalations in innovative public accountability structures for corporations as well as governmental conducts. These actions are directly associated with the internet.   The exchanging of information was attained through the use of mails, phone and faxes. At other times, the internet played a critical role in the enhancing the speed of communication and reducing the costs of communication.

According to Constanza-Chock, S. and Castells, M. (2014, 9), activists constantly seek and gain access to a wider visibility through the use of mass media.  The social media has the ability to influence interactions by the use of massive spread of information in rallying for support (Joyce, M 2010, 152). Such platforms include the Facebook, Twitter as well as the live streams applications. The media sites have enabled the populace to organize and plan to engage in activities without involving leaders.

At times, the protestors have used whatsapp group messages to improve communication on their activism activities and events. In addition, the YouTube is an effective tool in distribution information. Activism video can be distributed through the YouTube and attract a large audience of people. Through the use of YouTube the protesters reach a global audience easier, as opposed to the targeted local groups. It is worth noting that media activism covers areas such as news media and journalism. This allows the YouTube to educate the masses as well as expand taking of actions through media productions and involvement.

Social movements use the media to communicate with those who sympathize with their agenda (Ryan, C. 1991, 8) .The mass media has witnessed variety of global political trends. However, combination of the diverse media trends has led to the diminishing of the quality, quantity as well as the diversity of the political platforms. The global trends include the escalating levels in mass media monopolies, governmental regulations, high level of commercialization of news as well as the information systems and the failing corporate social responsibility. This happens because the political aspects of social media is based on a lot of propaganda which leads to misrepresentation,  exaggerations or  giving false information that is made to manipulate the populace for support.

The remaining portion of media has been dominated by mayhem, scandals and personality profiles. This has led to some media station opting for reinvention. Such station includes the BBC and Al jazeera among others.

Despite the hyperbole in this claim, there are notable cases in the political content space has been slowly sacrificed for the programmes that have commercial benefits for the organization. It is worth noting that political activism and minorities have been pushed further from the media picture. This threatens the political viability of any fresh movements. This is despite the fact that the media can be used to positively boost political organizational coherence.

Political engagement in mass media takes diverse forms. These include votes, money lobby contribution for candidates and campaign volunteering. The media platforms provide a platform for the interactions with the political figures. In addition, the populace can contact political candidate through such platforms.  For example, President Obama was able to respond directly to criticism by addressing the issues he was criticized on in the mainstream media.

Effects of internet on campaigns

Over the recent past, the media has been playing a critical role in matters of governance, activism and campaigns. This is because the mass media has facilitated the clustering of like-minded individuals thus increasing the levels of political polarization.

The media is increasing becoming interactively connected. This has led to easy flow of information flows easily through technological, social and geographical settings. More of the nations in the world have witnessed a rise in global protest networks which aim at getting societal justices to the neo-liberal domain and monetary regimes.

The activism networks use the new technological advancement and digital media to synchronize events, strategize on the protests as well as publicize of how the protests will be carried out. This is done in a manner that allows for the passing of high quality information on the causes and course of the demonstrations.

Substantial evidences suggest that comprehensive activists have gone beyond figuring out how to pass information from one person to the other communicate with each other under mass media radar  but how to get their communication into mass media frequencies. Addition, such individual have managed to bring revolution in administrations that were extremely oppressive. Activism in the social media instigates social changes. This is because it influences the decision making process in the administrative and corporation agencies as well as the decisions that are made by the citizens at large. It is worth noting that the mass media impacts public opinions and changes the public opinions into votes and consuming habits.

Many of the activism pioneers are sharply precarious of mass media coverage. This makes them charge the press and officials of criminalization of their protest manners. It is worth noting that worldwide activists have not been isolated or devastated by mass media sifting. The dense information networks of the Web offer ample evidence of internal communication.

Large numbers of mass actions around the world have received extensive applause despite general negative media coverage. At the least, such coverage signals the presence of a movement that is demanding a say in world economic policies and their social and environmental implications. Finally, numerous campaigns against corporate business practices, trade and development policies have received favorable coverage in leading media outlets

There is little evidence that global media have marginalized global protest. The citizens’ movements being organized against commercial powers are perhaps the prevalent, most extensive popular risings ever witnessed in the world. Activists have been able to constructively use the social media in strengthening neoliberal economic regimes. This has been possible due to the ability to trail uncharted international arenas and creatively devising ways to air their individual concerns.  During the processes, communications on the corporate abuses, sweatshop labors, use of genetically modified organisms and the destruction of rainforests are addressed.  In addition, the activists have managed to achieve the power relations with international organizations. Some brand images are vulnerable in the hands of trade activists. The good brand name can be destroyed by tagging it with unpleasant political associations. The threat of holding brands hostage in media spotlights is today a powerful technique in the battle for greater corporate responsibility.

The use of internet in politics has led to organized politics in manner that overpowers the limits of time, space, belonging as well as ideology.  The effects of this have been the extensions and the coordination of activities which would not have been possible by any other means.  The distribution of networks is potentially transformative as the networks spill outside the limits of the established frameworks. It is worth noting that the networks are not limited to the ideology given by a member.  This is because the networks are sustained by high levels of democratic environs.  This leads to high levels of simultaneous interactions, making the process complete. Moreover, the processes are highly based on web-strategizing and planning as well as hyperlinked access to enormous volumes of politically varied information.

The impacts of social media in reinventing activism

The power of a like, join, follow as well as the forwarding of a particular message in the social media has immense influence on the way people behave and react to particular situation. This is because such actions go a long way in making us one people. Connectivity based on the stakeholders interaction and plurality of views is grounded on the inter-subjective opinions (Bowen, G & Wilson, O. 2015, 191).  This is despite the fact that coverage that is given to collective actions and movements vary from one issue to another.

Through social media, activists have been forced to be accountable of their actions. This has in turn led to the effectiveness in organizational leadership. The power possessed by leaders over activism organized in the internet. The fact that internet networking is not particularly controlled by the target firm centers gives the internet users the ability to edify their ideas and plans with ease and speed.  This is done without having to rely on the mass media for information or recognition.

The harmonization of activities in the excesses of networks has numerous nodes and copious linking peaks, or hubs. This facilitates the network organizations to be upheld even if scrupulous nodes and hubs expire, modify their operation, or shift of the networks. The probable of networked communications is to make easy leaderless with practically unidentified social communication, thus making it a challenge to expurgate or generally destabilize the distribution of communications even if they are closely monitored by those in leadership positions.

The Egypt uprising was shaped by the use of social media. The nation’s populace made use of Facebook and Twitter to coordinate and herd the masses (Smith, P. & Tom C. 2014, 77). If the social media had not been use, very few people in Egypt would have participated in the protesters. Another example is that of the “Kony 2012” movement.  This was a video that informed the world of the plight of underage children who had been taken as sex slaves and foot militants by Joseph Kony. The video received a lot of traction in the world and sent a message to the Kony who has for a long time being leading guerilla war against the people and the government in Uganda.

The use of hashtags in activism

The mass media has impacted a growing permeability that cross-cuts communications that facilitates the spreading of viral messages (Couldry, N & Curran, J. 2003, 26). The use of hashtags has facilitated the participation of people of diverse origins, cultures and beliefs to participate in conversations. The attention that is captured goes a long way in mobilizing the populations.  It is worth noting that the media as an analytics system that allows for the tracking and following of hashtags. The hashtag can go long way into being used in official issuance of communications (Hemera, L. 2014, 113)

The hashtags thrive in the fact that the social media has generate space for individuals of diverse cultures to express themselves. This leads to conversations that were not possible without the internet.  The hashtag is effective due to its ability to acquiring high numbers of mentions. A issue is tweeted and re-retweeted before the hashtags begin to trend. Greek (2015, 20) cited an example of how the hashtag was used in the Egyptian Revolutionary uprising. The ability to coordinate issues via the media forums makes one powerful.  The activists use the mass media so as to be able to achieve social changes. It may be very difficult to protest as an individual. However, with the use of social media, the hundreds of people can be mobilized into the protests.

The power of visual journalism in media activism

Photography is used as a form of visual media. The camera has for a long time been used in documenting social injustices, inequalities, famine, wars and cases of abuse of human rights.  The power of the visuals affects social consciousness and thus shapes the opinions of the destructive segments in the government.

Visual journalism emphasize on the costs and advantages of principles by mapping the humanity issues. At times, the meanings deduced from the visual imagery are different due to the fluidity of the cultural diversities (Marcum, J. 2006, 115-116). Through the documentary photography, activisrs are able to show the plight of persons who live many geographical miles away. Long, L. Nobel, A. & Welch, E. (2009, 71) argued that for protestors to be effective beyond the localized public spheres of their operationalization, it is critical that they maximize on the presence of photographers and film crews so as to achieve a wide spectacle of protesters.

The information that is passed through photography is elicits public debates. These debates are moved to social platforms. One of the advantages of the mass media activism is its accessibility to persons who cannot leave their homes. These include the person with particular disabilities or the stay at home mums. This is because it offers an opportunity to emphasize issues that were previously unheard and unseen. In this case the mass media is used as a tool for policy-making and establishing public debates (Angharad, N. 2008, 530)

The live talks offer interactive forums with the audiences during the reporting. Moreover, these sections give room for the audience to focus on facts over opinions. The followers are actively engaged during live talks and thus campaigns are majorly effective.

The challenges of mass media activism

The use of mass media in the social arena is threatened by slacktivism. This leads to a slowing down of a movement and thus individuals lose interest easily. Participation in social media activism requires dedication, persistence and commitment in reaching out for those who affected by the issues that are being addressed. In addition, some of the topics addressed in mass media activism are usually complicated. One has to ensure that the information given is clear, simple and accurate so that the targeted support will be attained. Olesen (2010, 192) cited that social movement actors expect the journalists to convey messages in non-reductionist and authentic manner. However, this may not be the case as some journalist may be biased and thus present the details that favor the side of the story. The neglect or distort of details may lead ineffectiveness of the target influence.



The populace; which was previously thought to be on the receiving end is at an alarming rate becoming transmitters as well as producers of information. This has been possible due to the emergence of mass media that offers interactive information structures (Lievrouw, 2011, 1992). Citizens have been able to organize for demonstrations so as fight oppressive political and economic regimes. This is because messages are passed easily and quickly to the target audience without the identification of the principals’ source of the ideas and perpetuators of the strikes and demonstration. Thus they people are steer such movements are safe. Many nations and corporations have undergone revolutions due to the internet organized and planned activism. Visual media and the use of hashtags have influenced the activism spirit as people who have been able to achieve social changes through the use of social media. Thus the mass media has played a central role in activism in the world today.


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