Discuss the Relationship Between Media and Information Technology

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Discuss the relationship between ‘Media' and ‘Information Technology'

The term ‘Media' could today be defined as a collective term for television, radio, cinema and the press. The media are nowadays often discussed as a single entity, because of their combined importance as providers of entertainment and information, their presumed power to mould public opinion and set standards and the growth of cross-ownership among the various sectors. The word was however, originally derived from (i.e. is the plural of) the word ‘medium', which suggested a medium for the transfer of information. Media are channels through which information is transmitted or through which communication takes place.

In a similar way, ‘Information Technology' could be described as a term commonly used to cover the range of technologies relevant to the transfer of information, in particular to computers, digital electronics and telecommunications.

So, in relation the brief descriptions outlined above, it's possible to say that there is already a certain connection between the two terms in that they are both involved in the transfer of information to some extent. However, this is a very broad description and so, for the purpose of this discussion, specified aspects of Media and Information Technology will be examined in order to discover any less tenuous relationships and any pros and cons discussed.

The past 18 months has seen an explosion of innovation relating the internet to the more traditional media. Technology such as the E-Book, Internet Television, Internet Radio coupled with the fact that so many printed magazines, newspapers and journals now also have a presence on-line has shown that the trend seems to be for convergence. Media and Information Technology have entered an era where technological changes are removing many of the distinctions between telecommunications, broadcasting and IT. Consumers can watch television programmes on their computers, send emails from their television sets and access the internet from their mobile phones.

E-books for example, have received a lot of press coverage of late and when Stephen King successfully published and sold two of his new stories on the internet, the publishing world began to take notice. King's Riding the Bullet, which sold more than 400,000 copies in the first day1 showed the potential for books to be released in a digitised form on the internet rather than only in print. Steven King is not the only famous author to experiment with E-books. As a result of his success, the authors Douglas Adams, Fay Weldon and Frederic Forsyth have all vowed to follow suit2.

The release of these E-books coincides with the release of numerous portable, hand-held reading devices such as the Hewlett Packard Journada Pocket PC and the Nuvomedia Rocket e-book. These devices are capable of holding several titles in their memory and can have other features such as access to the internet, spreadsheets, digital music players and even some games. E-books can be downloaded directly to these devices via a personal computer from a growing number of e-book providers such as Glassbook.com or e-bookcity.com.

As discussed above then, there is a relationship between the medium of the book and the information technology pertaining to the internet and the technology involved in creating portable reading devices. Books are now available on the internet and are being designed for hand-held readers. However, there are disadvantages of e-books and their portable readers:

 Battery Power – The e-book reader will be useless as a book with no text if the battery runs out in mid sentence. The Rocket e-book for example has a battery life of only a few hrs.  The cost – The e-book readers all cost upwards of £150 and then there is the additional charge to download books.  Sunshine – Certain e-books such as the HP Journada become almost useless in bright sunshine due to glare and...
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