"Modern Public life could not exist or function properly without the Media"

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Media Politics and Public Life MSC 234

         “Modern Public life could not exist or function properly without the Media”

In this essay I will be discussing the above statement and arguing that

without Media, modern public life could not exist. I will first explain some key

terms to help in the argument including explaining the meaning of the term

Public Life.

According to the Collins Dictionary “The Public is people in general or the people of a particular place. Public is used to talk about the feelings and behaviours of people in general. If someone is a public figure or is in public life, they are well known. Public is used to talk about things being said or done so that everyone can hear them or see them”.

What is meant by the term Public Life is a space where a body of people can come together to discuss issues relating to their group. These groups can be very small like a book club or large like the United Nations and they can discuss anything from the latest Bryce Courtney novel to world peace. Geoffrey Craig in his book The Media Politics and Public Life explains the concept of public life as:

“..A body of people within a society and a domain within which debate about that society occurs…The public is also a subject, and people come together as a public in modern times when they engage in readings of the events, the stories and the debates that circulate in the society.”(2002. P49)

Public life occurs where private issues are brought to the attention of the general public through the use of the media. Without out the media it would be private life, not public life.

Media, as defined by the Collins dictionary is the plural of medium which “is a means of communicating or teaching something.” When we talk about the media we do not just use traditional forms of media like newspapers, television and radio but we also use other forms of media like movies, the internet, transnationals companies and communication technologies. All of these forms of media are sites where the meanings of public life are played out, debated and evaluated. Our everyday lives could not function properly without the media. Media is a drug that we cannot live in a democratic society without. We listen to the radio on the way to work to hear the traffic reports and to know where the multi-novas are hidden. When election time comes, we can’t invite John Howard round for dinner to discuss his policies so we rely on the media to show us them through television radio and newspapers. When a cyclone is coming our way, how do we know to lock up the house or leave town? The media inform us. Even the very early smoke signals were a form of media, a form of communication. It is important to stress here that there is no way that public life could function without the use of the media as the understandings of our society, the norms and values of the world in which we live are the products of living in a mediated world. We

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as a public only ever see the representations of a breaking story through the television or in the paper. We rely on the media to tell us breaking stories that are happening around the world because of our geographical locations. John Hartley (1992 P1) has noted:

“while [the public domain and the public] don’t exist as spaces and assemblies, the public realm and the public are still to be found, large as life in the media. Television, popular newspapers, magazines and photography, the popular media of the modern period, are the public domain, the place where and the means ...

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