You are here: Home Knowledge Base The Role of Media in Today’s World
Symposium 2014

The Role of Media in Today’s World

The Challenge

Headlines in the evening paper edition The Sun in New York City on 8 September 1914 proclaimed “Austria May Abandon Last Galician Fort” and “Allies’ Line Still Holds”. World War I was on the mind of every reader and all of the news seemed to be spun in light of that. Newspapers, often published in morning and evening additions, as well as radio and possibly telegrams were the only way that anyone could get their news then. Ownership of the newspapers was held in the hands of a select few and they had incredible influence over public opinion and policy making. Today, we have more choices about where to get our news, be it radio, TV, print or digital editions of newspapers and magazines, online journals, podcasts, or even blogs. Our options for informing ourselves of current affairs are seemingly limitless and certainly of varying quality. The media landscape has changed exponentially in the last 100 years, challenging media leaders and journalists who seek to put important issues into the common discourse.

What does recent research tell us about the role that media plays in promoting economic growth, good governance and government accountability. With so many competing voices how can media leaders and journalists remain effective watchdogs and agenda setters? What conditions are needed to ensure that they can fulfill this important role? What lessons can we learn from some of the successes and failures of some of the great journalism campaigns of the last 100 years? How do societies change? What makes ideas spread? What is the role of the media and information in bringing about social revolutions and transformations in how people think? How has new technology impacted the world of media and paved the way for the current flowering of investigative reporting? What are the limits to what media can do and where should journalists resist calls to become advocates for causes?