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Humanities Libertexts

1: Communication in the Information Age

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    • 1.1: Communication, Information, and the Media
      Communication is a central activity of everyone engaged in politics—people asserting, arguing, deliberating, and contacting public officials; candidates seeking to win votes; lobbyists pressuring policymakers; presidents appealing to the public, cajoling Congress, addressing the leaders and people of other countries. All this communication sparks more communication, actions, and reactions.
    • 1.2: News
      Information about or relevant to politics, government, and public policies commonly appears in the mass media in the form of news. News is a selective account of what happens in the world. Common subjects are violence (wars), crime (school shootings), natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes), and scandals (sexual, financial). The statements and actions of powerful or prominent people are news.
    • 1.3: Opinion and Commentary
      The media do far more than report the news; they are full of pundits, talking heads, and partisans who are busy expressing opinions and commenting on the news. These reactions and responses can contribute to a marketplace of ideas, informed public discussion, and greater understanding of politics, government, and public policies. Often, however, they result in conflict and cacophony: topics are broached too briefly in too little time and assertions dominate analysis.
    • 1.4: New Media
      Increasingly, Americans, particularly students, are obtaining information on tablets and from websites, blogs, discussion boards, video-sharing sites, such as YouTube, and social networking sites, like Facebook, podcasts, and Twitter. And of course, there is the marvel of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia to which so many people (four hundred million every month) go to for useful, if not always reliable, information.
    • 1.S: Communication in the Information Age (Summary)

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