In what ways can the media be helpful to people?

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Media when used appropriately can be a great tool to get your message out into the community. If you or your students are focusing on a particular issue in the community and you want to see change happen, then tv and internet are the ways to get your voice out...

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Media when used appropriately can be a great tool to get your message out into the community. If you or your students are focusing on a particular issue in the community and you want to see change happen, then tv and internet are the ways to get your voice out there.  On our campus we have a local tv studio called Olelo, and our students help to make PSA's about local and global issues with film.  They become part of the solution, and when a dire concern is coming from a child, the public tends to listen more.  I love using media in my classroom, and so do my kids.

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The media is called the Fourth Estate by the French and is considered to be an essential component of a democracy. While reporters are often blamed for being intrusive, and rightly so, they also perform an important function of keeping the government honest. The Watergate scandal is a classic example of how the press forced government wrongdoing into the open. Readers, listeners, and viewers have the right to turn off the radio & TV, ignore newspapers & magazines they don’t want to read, and select their own online information sources.

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Knowledge is power, and without media of any kind, our knowledge would be limited to what we see and experience for ourselves and tell each other personally. There is a direct historical correlation between the growth of media and the advancement of human knowledge and progress. (Behold the printing press! Books are no longer copied by hand!) The explosion of information and easy access to it has impacted society in profound ways. Most basically, a person now can find out what he or she needs or wants to know almost instantly--how to replace a washer in the kitchen sink or how to build an atomic bomb. Knowledge is power, but whether that power is used or abused still depends on us.

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The previous posts did a wonderful job.  I would like to add that the framers of the Constitution did envision the media as akin to a "fourth branch" of government that allowed a system of checks and balances to prevent institutional abuses.  This idea can be best seen in the case of John Peter Zenger, an editor/  journalist who criticized through his newspaper the abuses of power of Governor Crosby of New York.  The governor, enraged at the publication of his misdeeds, apprehended and imprisoned Zenger, charging him with libel and slander.  Crosby's lawyer argued that the charges are groundless if they are true.  Once the evidence displayed this, the court acquitted Zenger, concluding that the media and the role of journalists is an essential one in a democratic setting where individuals must be responsible for their own government.  In this setting, the media's role in contributing to the sensibilities of a democracy is an essential one.

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There are many different ways in which the media can be a helpful tool. The media's overall purpose is to inform. When it is doing its job, the media brings individuals important information about world and local events, allowing individuals to be informed contributors to society. The media also provides helpful resources, especially through the abundance of websites that promote health knowledge and tips, community service events, and public safety. The problem only arises when the media ceases to try to objectively inform and instead promotes its own agenda. In this way, the media can be a hindrance.

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