At its inception, the subject of mass media entailed the study of imparting and exchanging of information to a wider and heterogeneous audience for influencing their behaviour, attitude, opinion, or emotion. In prehistoric times, different mediums of mass communication were diverse art-forms like painting, art, and literature. With the advancement of time and technology, more sophisticated mediums emerged like newspaper, magazine, book publishing, radio, television, film, and advertising. Further, phenomenal revolution caused by the internet, new media and electronic communication since the 20th century transformed the traditional mass communication and journalism format into modern day media science.
In this article, we will explore why the media today has graduated into media science:
Media science is about objectivity:
Whether it is news reporting, marketing communication or dissemination of any kind of information on TV, print or internet, it is ideally based on facts. Modern media is less about subjectivity and relies more on research, documentation, and presentation of news and information to the public in an “honest, ethical and unbiased way.”
Modern Media is verifiable, accurate, reliable and precise:
Scientific knowledge is verifiable, accurate, precise and so is media science. As discussed earlier, modern media works on concrete factual information so that the public is able to observe, measure and check its accuracy with the help of factual evidence. Media professionals today need to ensure that the information they are transmitting is reproducible when needed and can be stated anywhere and anytime.
Media is about systematic analysis and interpretation of data:
As media is becoming more computer-mediated communication, the study of journalism and mass communication has gone through a paradigm shift. Moreover, the super evolution of smart-phones as household digital media device has driven content creators and distributors embrace big data analytics to bridge communication between information disseminators and receivers. Research reveals that Facebook processes 500 TB of data every day and Google processes 3.5 billion requests daily. Journalists, news reporters, digital media experts too have to deal with different formats of factual data to churn news of relevance. Modern media professionals, therefore, need to be adept at complex data analysis, categorization, presentation, and interpretation.
Media using psychological science to drive effective mass communication:
Mass communication professionals nowadays need to develop proficiency in understanding the relationship between media and human behaviour. The consumers’ psychological insights can help modern media professionals determine how information can be organized to give an integrated, balanced, and user-friendly media experience.
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Today, media study is taking a holistic, interdisciplinary and integrated approach. It is no longer only about studying photography, advertising, film acting, and television production among others in isolation. The students at a graduation level must have a 360-degree view of media to be able to master a specific skill and apply it in a larger domain at a later stage. For instance, to become a press journalist, the skill of photography is not enough. He needs to understand the dynamics of journalism, story angle, consumer psychology, have excellent research, analytical and communication skills to produce innovative and contextual photography.
Moreover, the skill of photography can also lead to wider choices of careers beyond print journalism like – commercial photographer, wildlife photographer, fashion photographer, and scientific photographer among others. Same may apply for other media specializations and skills as well. As a result, a wide-angle view during training years is crucial for media students to prepare themselves for this cutting-edge industry and leverage their careers.
Consequentially emerging B. Sc and M. Sc Media Science curriculum is highly dynamic and evolving teaching-learning resources to accommodate fast-track changes and equip industry ready media professionals for the future.