is generally the first of news media to report a local story or a news service bulletin. A radio announcer can interrupt a programme with a news flash as soon as the report comes in. Most stations present regular news bulletins every half-hour or hour.The national radio broadcast major news events. However, most radio news bulletins do not report the news in detail. In a five minute broadcast the stories average less then 30 seconds each. Radio also provide weather forecasts and traffic information.
Experiments in broadcasting television began in the 1920s but were interrupted by World War II. By 1992 the U.S. had 1,505 television stations, and cable television systems in the U.S. served over 56 million households. Television signals are also now transmitted from satellites direct to household satellite dishes.
Television is the main source of news for many households around the world. TV does what none of the other media can: it brings the sight and sounds of some important news events by means of filmed, taped or live reports. Like regular radio news bulletins, daily TV news programmes provide only brief accounts of relatively new stories. But the visual aspect of TV news story can often help viewers understand the story. In addition to daily news reports, television covers special news events. Coverage of such an event may replace many hours of regular TV shows. Television also broadcasts in-depth programmes that help explain a story or subject. Such programmes, which run from half an hour to three hours, include docummentaries and interview programmes. Most docummentaries are filmed or taped. They may perform such subjects as crime, foreign policy, or race relations. Interview programmes, which are usually broadcast live, may consist of a panel of journalists who ask questions of a major figure in the news.
The importance of mass media and journalism has greatly increased in recent years. In democratic countries, people depend on the news media for the fair and truthful reporting of current events. Freedom of the press encourages the exchange of ideas among citizens. In governmet-controlled countries, however, the news media serve as an instrument of the state. The struggle against censorship began in England in the 16th-17th cent. In the American colonies it began in 1734. Only 20% of the worlds people live in countries that have a free press. But in government-controlled countries journalists can still broadcast or write only what national leaders allow. Media forms public opinion now. A lot of politicians strive to possess mass media. Media carries great possibilities for society, but they are not only good ones. Nobody should forget, that media- is the fourth power.