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What Is the Media Industry?

The media industry has been accused of threatening public safety by what it chooses to report.
Radio stations, websites, and podcasts are all an important part of the media industry.
The media industry employs vast numbers of people, including disc jockeys.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 July 2014
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An industry is a category of business. In the case of the media industry, the term refers to the collection of businesses that allows information to be shared. This includes operations such as radio broadcasts, websites, and newspapers. Jobs that are commonly available in media include positions for journalists, photographers, and producers.

Businesses within the media industry can often be sub-categorized by their mediums. There are newspapers, magazines, and television stations. There are also radio stations, website, and podcasts. Each of these are unique forms of media, although they may all be used to share the same type of information.

The media industry employs vast numbers of people in varied roles. Print media, for example, is a segment of this industry wherein people can employ their skills to be journalists, editors, and publishers. The demand for visual material provides employment opportunities for photographers and videographers. Radio affords people the opportunity to be creative directors, disc jockeys, and radio personalities.

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In many places, the media industry relies heavily on protection provided in national constitutions, which often grant and protect free speech. Generally, the countries with the strongest democratic systems have the largest and most varied media industries. In many countries around the globe, censorship is a major problem. When this is the case, participants in this industry are often at risk of persecution if they attempt to disseminate information that their governments do not find favorable. Some countries even go so far as to limit the access that people in their nation have to international media.

The media industry is considered to be a powerful tool if properly used. It can be used to influence masses of people. For this reason, the media industry is one toward which people commonly have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is generally understood that the media industry serves some very useful and essential functions. Some of the businesses in this category inform people of important information, such as when the radio is used to announce threatening weather or the newspaper is used to display public notices.

On the contrary, the media industry is also commonly criticized for destroying values or providing a platform for extremism. Examples of this may include instances when obscene behavior is flaunted on talk shows or racists are allowed to distribute newsletters. In some cases, the media is even accused of threatening public safety, such as when the details of classified government documents are exposed on the Internet.

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Discuss this Article

MrMoody
Post 12

I lived in Indonesia for several years, before they had their open democratic reforms. That was before the great Asian currency meltdown in the late 1990s when the currency collapsed.

Before that, Indonesia was run with an iron fist and you dared not disagree with what President Soharto said. At least, you better not disagree in print.

Newspapers were very careful in their reporting. However, after the economic collapse and the resignation of the president, things changed. Suddenly there was shouting and dancing in the streets and people were taking their opinions to print.

Monika
Post 11

I don't have statistics to back this up or anything, but I think the online media industry is the fasted growing segment of the industry as a whole. I feel like every time I turn around, there's another up and coming news website.

I've also been seeing a lot of "niche" news websites pop up. These websites post news pieces for a certain audience, like people who live in a certain area or people who have certain political views.

JessicaLynn
Post 10

@JaneAir - I think you're right that the media is never going to go away. Sometimes I wonder what new directions the media will go in over the next couple of years.

Anyway, I think if you're going to consider a career in the media, you need to be willing to adapt. Thirty years ago, all newspaper photographers took their pictures using film. Now, digital photography is standard.

I'm sure there were more than a few photographers who had to learn to shoot digitally when they were used to shooting on film!

JaneAir
Post 9

I feel like the media industry will never go away. However, the media industry does often evolve. In fact, with the way technology is changing so quickly these days, sometimes I feel like the industry is evolving right in front of my eyes.

I remember a time when social media didn't exist, but now there is a whole social media industry! People put advertising and the news on their social media pages to share that information with the general public. There are even jobs available for social media coordinators.

shell4life
Post 8

I rarely watch television, but I listen to the radio a lot. That's where I get my news and weather updates. Without it, I would be ignorant of what's going on in the world.

The local radio station can be a lifesaver in times of bad weather. They interrupt a song with that shrill emergency broadcast system alert, and I know to pay close attention to what is about to be said. I run for the storm cellar if they report a tornado warning, and I carry my portable radio with me to keep me informed.

When the Twin Towers fell, I heard it on the radio. I learned about Michael Jackson's death the same way. As soon as important information becomes available, I hear about it right after the song that is playing ends.

Oceana
Post 7

@seag47 – I also love newspapers. I used to work at one, and I must say that if anyone is looking for a media industry job, you will not be likely to find one at a newspaper.

I quit because my hours had been cut while more work had been piled upon me. People were being terminated left and right, because the paper needed to save money in order to continue operating.

What once was a happy place to work had become full of backstabbing and fear. No one had gotten a raise in years, and resentment was brewing.

While I am uncertain about the future of this printed newspaper in the media industry, I feel confident that at least their online version will survive. They are the only source of news for the city, so they fulfill a need that would become very apparent if they were to disappear altogether.

orangey03
Post 6

@BrickBack – I wish that the public did not find reality star news so intriguing. I do not watch those shows, and when I hear about the lives of these people on the news, I find it boring because I don't know who any of them are!

I remember when there were no reality television shows. Back then, the news mostly consisted of important events across the world, with the occasional mention of a music or movie celebrity thrown into the mix. Now, reality stars are making the most widely circulated headlines in the media industry.

You would think that with the world in such dire shape, people would quit idolizing stars who waste money on extravagant things. I would much rather hear a news report about a man who had managed to save enough money to survive once he lost his job.

seag47
Post 5

I have always relied on the newspaper as my source of information. I have been a subscriber to my local paper for decades, and I will continue to be as long as it survives.

It makes me sad to see so many newspapers fading away and closing because they cannot afford to keep the business running. I understand the convenience of getting your information online, but for me, a newspaper is just a tradition that I find comforting.

An added bonus is that you can use the paper to wrap up garbage or potty train your puppy when you're done reading it. I'd like to see the internet try that!

whiteplane
Post 4

Its interesting the comment the article makes about open democratic societies have a robust media. While I think this is true in many cases, it is untrue in many other and certainly not the case here in America.

Media has grown exponentially in the last few decades because of digital media. And while this theoretically allows for my voices to be heard, the media industry in America has undergone a huge consolidation over the last few years. There are now a small minority of companies that own all TV, radio, newspaper and often the most popular sites on the internet.

This is the illusion of choice. We think we are getting something different when in fact we are getting a lot of the same. Its unfortunate because this is a really exciting time to be in the media industry. I am hoping that one of the media industry trends for the future includes legislation on behalf of congress to limit anti trust.

tigers88
Post 3

Media is a pretty large term that encompasses many different businesses and industries, many of them interrelated. I consider my own job a job in the media industry but it is not one that many people would consider at first.

I am a freelance writer. I will write just about anything for anyone, but the majority of what I do is producing content for the internet. Think about it, the internet is primarily just text. Sure there is tons of audio and video and pictures and games and what not, but most sites are just fields of words. Someone has to write all of that and there is a lot to be written.

That is where I come in. I can and will write on just about any subject and my words have appeared on hundreds of different websites. I might not be as well known as a TV anchor person, but we both have jobs in the media industry.

Crispety
Post 2

@Brickback - I think that television and radio are hard media markets because you have to build a following. For example, Rush Limbaugh, the radio talk show is enormously successful on radio and has over twenty-five million listeners. However, he tried to do a television program and it didn’t work out well.

Likewise Bill O’Reily has a successful television program and has many national best-selling books, but his radio show failed for lack of ratings. I think that someone looking for a media job has to really understand their strengths.

Rush was a disc jockey previously, so radio was second nature to him. Bill O’Reilly studied journalism at Harvard and tends to do news pieces that offer a more objective viewpoint. He will have people of opposing viewpoints on his show so that viewers could decide which side is best.

With Rush Limbaugh, he will give you his interpretation only, but he will allow callers that disagree with him to discuss their opinions. Both programs are entertaining, but for different reasons.

BrickBack
Post 1

I think that media industry news has to have an element of entertainment in order to keep a captive audience. There are many stories that are really newsworthy, but television stations and magazines realize that although people say that they want to hear hard news they actually tune out when they do.

This is why you see serious news shows reporting fluff pieces about celebrities and even reality show celebrities. It is more interesting to the general public than, say, the debt crisis in Greece.

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