News is a form of media message that provides an account of current events and problems in our community, government, region, or neighborhood that are deemed significant enough for a large number of people to be aware of. News has the following characteristics: it is timely, it is significant, it is story, and it has geographic and cultural proximity so it is typically about individuals and places we are familiar with (Newport). Americans in the United States keep up with news on a regular basis by using multiple formats, computers, and technology. (US Politics & Policy) Despite the introduction of digital technologies, traditional media outlets remain an important and credible source of news for many people. Examples of traditional news sources in United States include print media (newspapers, newsmagazines) and broadcast news (radio and television). The three types of traditional news sources in the United States that will be evaluated include television, newspapers and radio.
Newspapers account for the largest traditional source of news in United States. A newspaper is a lightweight and disposable publication (more specifically, a periodical), usually printed on low-cost paper called newsprint. It mainly deals with special or general interest and may be published daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly. Some newspapers target the whole public example New York Times while others are meant for a specific audience. Newspapers main purpose is to give information on a specific subject so as to influence their opinion and to entertain the reader. It also reports news analysis, cultural events and in addition to that newspapers also feature editorials, comic strips, weather reports, letters to editors and personal columns (American Press Institute).
Distinct characteristics of newspapers include there is geographical flexibility in the newspaper since there is different editions for varied areas. A publication has different editions for different areas, resulting in geographic flexibility (Public Interest in News Topics Beyond Control of Mainstream Media) .In addition to that newspapers provide useful primary source of information. Newspaper is a better option to provide detailed information and elusive facts since articles are written by professionals.Newsapers also meet the needs of special interest groups since it has different sections. Newspapers also acts as a vehicle for coupon delivery. Advantages of newspapers which make it popular include the fact that it’s timely on current advertisement, its cheap, it has a varied coverage and it can be used for coupons. Some of the disadvantages that make newspapers not to be popular in United States include the issue that its only visual, it creates clutter and may result in selective reader exposure (Media Characteristics)
The second traditional news source in United States is the television. Television content includes both sound and visuals. This therefore makes it a very important medium since it allows individuals to watch the world from their drawing rooms. Due to its nature of audio visual, television usually creates a vivid impression in one’s mind (New media landscapes and the science information consumer). This usually results in emotional involvement since one can relate to what is happening. The quality of the audiovisual also makes it easy for an individual to remember example in advertisements. Television is widely used as a source of information because it helps to explain a particular event in situations where pictures, sounds and model are needed to provide extra evidence.
Characteristics of television media include it hare a larger impact since it uses a combination of sound sight and motion. Television is a domestic medium nature of television makes it an intimate medium. This makes the viewers experience a sense of closeness to the Television. It also acts as a live medium since it allows transmission of visuals and information almost instantly (Nguyen and Western). Television has abroad mass coverage since a large number of people cannot read and write but they can watch television. This therefore increases its output range and reach. Television is also a highly intrusive medium and has moderate cost per thousand. Disadvantages associated with televisions include high production cost, low selectivity, high absolute cost and message life is short.
The third traditional news source in United States is the radio. Radio broadcasts words, music, and other sounds, and in the case of digital radio can also be used to transmit data in the form of text and graphics. Use of radio as a source of information is relevant since radio is the most accessible. Even poor households can afford a radio therefore making it relevant despite emerging sources of information. Broadcast radio can be used as an interactive medium since listeners usually call a radio station and contribute to the topic of discussion (Pew Research Centre Journalism and Media staff). This therefore makes it lively for the audience.
Characteristics of radio include it can reach to audiences in very remote areas therefore making it an important source of information in rural areas. Radio is also important since mobile population can access it since there are smaller radios which are portable. Most radio stations are specific and identify with the local market (Kahn). This therefore makes it attractive to various audiences since the news being aired is relevant to them. Radio is therefore the most efficient in all mass media. The main disadvantage with radio as source of news is that the news is only audio and the message is usually fleeting due to high frequency. Reception can also be poor resulting in partial news (Wells).
In conclusion, traditional news sources in the United States have remained relevant and popular despite the emergence of new technologies. This has to do with level of trust and reliability compared to the digital sources; this is especially true for the older generation. Area of residence also plays a significant role in usage of traditional media sources of information since sub urban, small town and rural residents largely rely on traditional sources like radio and newspapers.
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