Characteristics of the Different Types of Mass Media–Essay

Radio is audio medium and television is audio visual. One glances through headlines or a major story in a newspaper when it comes.

Rest of the paper can be read at the time of the one’s choice. But in the case of radio, news bulletins are broadcast at fixed times and if one does not tune in then one cannot listen to it again.

There are tape recorders and video-cassette-recorders (VCRs) but who records a news bulletin? Perhaps some media professionals or foreign mission officials whose job is to monitor what has been broadcast.

The advantage with TV and radio is that they can give spot news earlier than newspapers. Normally, what one sees in the night TV bulletin is read in newspapers in the morning.

But why does one reward newspaper even after listening to the news in the night? Those who have a TV set have not stopped buying newspapers.

In many cases the television news stimulates desire to read a newspaper. It generates in the listener a desire to know more about some news item which has appeared on TV screen and has vanished in a few seconds. It is another matter that the reader may be disappointed if he get enough information about the event which he comes to know through TV.

From his newspaper a TV listener expects more information and thorough coverage. A good newspaper that wants to cater to the enlightened readership should keep this expectation in mind. The coverage should not be superficial.

Newspaper reporter should go deep into the subject. He should take care to give relevant details. Then only can his paper retain its readership.

Thus, radio and television have added more responsibility on the shoulders of a newspaper reporter.

Superficial coverage will not do now. The reporter will have to go deep into the subject and give as comprehensive coverage as possible.

The basic concept of news in radio and television is the same as in the case of newspaper. What is news for newspaper is news for television and radio also.

But because of limitations of time available, a radio bulletin will carry what is more important and must be accommodated.

On these most important events radio or television correspondent will be able to give only the most essential information.

All important items will be competing for the time in the bulletin and therefore it will not be possible to give as much detail as is possible in a newspaper.

A newspaper reader can read back a sentence if he fails to understand one in the first reading. This is not the case in radio and television news. The news reader will read a sentence just once and if it is not clear to the listener, he will not be able to hear it again.

Thus a radio and television reporter and the news editor will have to ensure clarity of each sentence.

The language has to be very simple and meaning should be clear. The news reader has to read it at conversational speed and with right tone pauses to ensure correct meaning and respectability.

Radio and TV both use spoken language. When one listens to radio or television if the message that one gets is in the language one is used it listening in conversation then one is more receptive.

If the language is heavy, the speed high or low a person listening to it gets tired or irritated quickly. For example, in conversation while quoting somebody we do not change tense as is done in written English.

The use of quotation marks is grammatically correct and while reading the quotation marks, is not supposed to be read.

This is what is meant by spoken language. In spoken language long and difficult words are avoided. Sometimes certain words are changed to suit the newsreader’s pronouncing capability.

In the general news room of All India Radio (AIR) editors select the news items which can be used and turned into broadcast language.

The copy testing is done by the editor-in- charge and he passes on the selected items to other editors who turn it into what is called ‘pool’ copy. This ‘pool’ is circulated to all bulletin editors who select items according to the importance and the target audience.

The ‘pool’ copy is prepared in English and it is translated into other language by a group of translator-cum-news readers for that language.

When the same person or group of persons translate what they are to read, coordination of reader and news writer is automatically achieved.

But in some languages readers are different from translators and editors the copy is passed on the reader who reads it for its readability and if he or she has any problem word, it is changed.

Translation of news does not mean literal translation. It is basically rewriting the item in a different language. It, therefore, requires command over both the languages.

In news translation care has to be taken that the meaning of the item does not change but the syntax should be changed according to the usage of the language in which the item is translated.

Language should also be checked for readability and clarity. These are the general principles and apply to translation in newspapers, radio and television.

Television news casting, because of visual element in it, is a little more complicated. With the proper and clear language of the news and voice of the news reader one has to ensure that the newscaster is presentable.

Dry stories (stories without visuals) are like radio news items with newscaster in view. Newscaster should not smile while giving sad news.

If the bulletin ends with sad news the natural smile of relief that comes at the end on the lips of a news reader looks odd. Normally the editor should avoid putting sad news at the tail of the bulletin.

The visual when it is there should match with the words. Matching of words with visuals sheds careful calculation of time and words and overall synchronization. This requires maximum care while giving news of an award winning ceremony.

Care with the use of photographs cannot be emphasised. There have been instances when wrong visuals have been shown with a death story and the persons involved were members of Parliament.

Another major difference is in headlines. While in newspapers headlines are on the top of every story, in radio and television news headlines come in the beginning of the news bulletin. They are just three or four sentences.

Each sentence dealing with a separate story. In radio news bulletins headlines are sometimes repeated at the end. This practice is used also in television news bulletins.

Thus, there is no difference in the basic concept of news whether it is on radio, television or in a newspaper. The differences arise due to the characteristics of the medium.