Media and Society


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his unit is about the mass media and its effects on our lives.

Chapter 5 concerns the news coverage provided by the media. You will hear interviews with three people about the strengths and weaknesses of the news we get from television, radio, and the newspaper. In the lecture, a journalist gives her insight into how an event becomes a news story. In Chapter 6, you will hear people discuss the positive and negative effects of various forms of the media. The lecture is about the dangerous effects the media can have on us.

D getting started

In this section you arc going to discuss the mass media and think about what makes news interesting and relevant to our lives.


1 Read the following passage.

The modern world depends on extensive communication between people, organizations, and governments. Rapid transportation and electronic communication have shortened the distances between us, and most of us are now aware of what is going on in places far away. Much of our new awareness comes from die mass media, including newspapers, magazines, movies, TV, and the Internet, which allows information to be communicated quickly throughout the world.

However, the rapid growth in the mass media sometimes raises questions about its value. For example, although we gel more information and news from the mass media

than ever before, some people believe that today’s news is not necessarily of good quality. Technological advances have given us the impression that we understand the world better because we have access to more information about it. But this is not always tine. The information we get may be inaccurate, one-sided, or incomplete.

Answer the following questions according to the information in the passage.

1 How is the modern world connected?

2 What does the mass media allow us to do?

3 Why do some people question the value of the mass media?

Read these questions and share your answers with a partner.

1 What kinds of mass media do you use most?

2 Do you think that the quality of the news we get from newspapers, radio, TV, and the Internet is good? Why or why not?

3 Do you believe that technology helps us understand the world better than we used to? Why or why not?




.African countries to compete for world title in distance running

Tax on Cigarettes to Increase Again


1 Read the headlines below. Then listen to the news stories that correspond to the headlines. Choose the headline that goes with each story by writing the number of the storv next to its headline.

2 Compare your answers with a partner.

3 If the headlines in step 1 appeared in a newspaper you were reading, which stories would you read first? Why? Discuss vour answers with your partner.

Q AMERICAN VOICES: Carol, Shari, and Frank

In this section you will hear three people discuss different perspectives on the news. Carol, a teacher, will explain her mixed feelings about the news she watches on TV. Shari, a student in her twenties, and Frank, a retired postal worker, will discuss their reactions to the news they read in the newspaper.



1 Look at the following chart. In each column, circle the word or words that best describe your answer to the question.

1 How

interested are you in the news?

2 Where do you get most of your news?

3 Which aspects of the news interest you most?

4 What do you think of the quality of the news?

5 How do you think the news should be improved?




Current events


Make it more international




Stories about people


Make it less sensational

Not very’ interested


Sports or entertainment


Make it less negative

Not sure (explain)

Other (explain)

Other (explain)

Not sure (explain)

Other (explain)

2 Discuss your responses with a partner and explain your opinions. Which questions prompted similar answers? Where did you disagree?

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