The ever growing concentration of the media is increasing the mass media market. Therefore it could be argued that the public are receiving far from a diverse press in modern society. So what are the main trends in mass media today?
Firstly, liberal theories suggest that a self regulated free market would be the best way to ensure the press remains diverse. They also suggest that the press must serve the public in three ways: Inform the voting public of political plans; oversee the government and inform the public of any political unrest, and articulate a public opinion. However, with concentrated ownership in the media, depending on which political stance the owner has, these may not be reported fairly as to not damage their politics.
As the main source of income for media institutions in advertising, often stories may be untold as to not upset the paying advertiser. For example, if a magazine had a regular high paying advert slot filled by a company that uses sweat shops to produce its product, that magazine would be restricted as to what it could say in a story regarding sweat shops, as it may deter the advertiser from using that magazine again.
The Frankfurt School are exemplary in locating trends in the mass media. One point raised by them is the rise of the ‘hollow’ commodity fetishism that has replaced the important values in the media, mainly due to the evolution of the consumer society.
From the points raised above, the trends occurring due to mass media seem to be slightly negative, due to the lack of freedom and diversity in the media the readers/viewers are receiving. The fact political and economic determiners of the media hinder the possible representations in stories could be seen as negative, but without these there would be a very small number of media sources compared to today.