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Literally, the plural of medium, or the channel in and through which messages are communicated, whether by written, spoken or otherwise semiotic means. Therefore, in contrast to an increasingly unwelcome trend, we write: ‘the news media are’ not ‘the news media is’; and ‘the news media have’ not ‘the news media has’.

When people refer to the media more often than not they are in fact referring to the mass media. Mass media are the impersonal – in other words institutionalized – means of mass communication through which messages are transmitted to an audience. They are characterized by ‘a mechanism of impersonal reproduction’ (Klapper, 1949: 3) which acts as a go-between, connecting a speaker and relatively large, heterogeneous and non-present audience. Mass media therefore include ...

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