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Discourse may be understood in a few different ways. For one, it may simply refer to the manner in which individuals and groups communicate. On a deeper level, it may symbolize the systems of thoughts and beliefs that determine how individuals understand and interpret the world. Media discourse in the first sense would include the various outlets that individuals in the media use, such as newspapers and magazines, television, radio, and the Internet. If media discourse is understand as the beliefs that guide media output, then principles like objectivity or ideological bias might describe media discourse.
Media is a major type of discourse. Individuals filter the world through various lenses. They may consider issues from a political viewpoint, or political discourse, wherein the complex factors that constitute social decision-making are prevalent. Others might operate from a finance-based, or economic, discourse. Media discourse might be understood as the concepts individuals use to process information that is of large-scale concern.
In understanding media discourse as various means of communication, two primary types exist: written communication and spoken communication. Some examples of written texts include newspapers and magazines. Articles found within these publications are individual examples of discourse, and advertisements may be considered a form of discourse to some as well. Radio and television, on the other hand, primarily rely on spoken speech, such as news broadcasts, while Internet content often merges both written and spoken communication.
Media discourse might be further viewed as the effect a media presentation has on larger society. Social and personal beliefs might impact the semantics — or choice of wording — of a particular article, for example. Distributors of media may similarly use factors such as tone to slant information for a particular effect on audiences. Political media might foster discourse that favors either conservative or liberal principles.
The types of principles that guide and define media discourse might vary by region. In some regions, ideological groups use media to promote a particular viewpoint. If the media outlet is more opinion than fact-based, this type of discourse may be prevalent. Another type of discourse is valuing objectivity in news-gathering and dissemination, wherein media outlets relay information without prejudice or bias. This approach might present information thoroughly and with sufficient supporting evidence while dispensing of irrelevant information.