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Media expert of the Catholic University of Lublin: traditional media are still the most opinion-making media in Poland

Although the traditional media culture has gradually changed into an electronic culture of audiovisual and Internet media, the thesis of the digital revolution, which predicted the replacement of traditional media: printed press, radio, television with new ones - digital and Internet media - is not quite true, emphasizes Prof. Justyna Szulich-Kałuża, director of the Institute of Journalism and Management at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin.

On the third Sunday of September, we celebrate Mass Media Day in Poland. The world of modern media seems to be constantly changing and it is difficult to keep up with it. One thing is certain, electronic media have become essential tools not only for acquiring information, entertainment and fun, but also for education and work, resulting in a literal immersion in the media.

Today, the concept of media should be more widely understood than in the past. Media are not just technical means to capture information and enable communication, but complex socio-cultural systems that include practices that accompany communication technologies.

The power of traditional and new media

An expert at the Catholic University of Lublin believes that although the culture of traditional media has gradually transformed into an electronic culture of audiovisual and Internet media, the thesis of the digital revolution, which envisioned the replacement of traditional media: print press, radio, television with new ones - digital and Internet media - is on its way off.

- We have long observed that traditional and new media are entering into an increasingly complicated relationship. The traditional media are unlikely to be replaced by the new ones, but under their influence they will continue to improve and evolve in terms of attractiveness and effectiveness of messages - stressed Prof. Szulich-Kałuża

What is the strength of new media? According to the media expert, they are attractive through multimedia, the use of text, sound, eye-catching graphics and animation in the transmission of information. Besides, never before have there been opportunities to create global communities so easily, bringing together people with common interests, aspirations, worldview orientations or forms of activity. New media are instantaneous, and the people who are responsible for running them act very quickly. Sometimes the quality of the message and its value is quite different from that in a journalistic text produced for a weekly or monthly magazine.

- Media content is diverse, and it is easy to categorize it in bipolar fashion - as valuable and useful or, on the contrary, unworthy and harmful. In the richness of messages, one can choose wisely, and in making choices it is important to form attitudes of vigilance and sensitivity in the audience. It is necessary to say a decisive no - to content that violates the sense of personal and public safety, and stimulates aggressive behaviour in dealing with others - noted the director of the Institute of Journalism and Management of the Catholic University of Lublin.

Information bubble

Prof. Justyna Szulich-Kałuża sees the need for media education. The idea is to develop the habit of forming selective attention and dealing with an excess of information. Often they are "wrapped" with useless and unnecessary data, thus losing their informational value and, as a consequence, cease to perform a cognitive function - enriching knowledge about the world. And this is an alarming phenomenon.  - The brains of young users have no time for reflection and thoughtful decision-making. They function in a state of constant stimulation, in anticipation of a new contact or exciting information. In addition, social media encourages the formation of "information bubbles'' of users, explains the expert .

Despite the strong influence and easy access to social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X), YouTube or TikTok, traditional media, i.e. press, radio television, are still the most opinionated in Poland. - Following the reports of the Media Monitoring Institute in recent years, we come to the conclusion that traditional media are the most opinion-forming in Poland - it is their information that is more frequently quoted by online portals and social media. In my opinion, this is determined by a number of factors, I would like to point out two: valuable and relevant content and greater social credibility and trust in professional journalists - notes the media expert, adding that journalism has ceased to be an exclusive profession and has entered the era of mass.

Journalist - a mass profession?

Increasingly, the term journalist is applied to anyone who systematically makes available to the public a record of events at a certain time. Still important, however, are the competencies combined with the classical definition of the journalistic profession, which include responsibility to the truth, loyalty to citizens, independence to those about whom material is prepared, supervision of authority, ability to publicly criticize and compromise, ability to convey important content in an interesting way, discipline in formulating concise and attractive messages, ability to place the news in a broad light and appropriate proportions, adherence to universal ethical principles, acting in accordance with one's conscience.

World Media Day is an initiative taken by the Roman Catholic Church and proposed by the Second Vatican Council. The slogan of the message, on the other hand, is announced according to tradition on September 29 of the previous year, the feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. In Poland, by decision of the Bishops' Conference, the Day of the Means of Social Communication is always celebrated on the third Sunday of September. This year it is September 17, and its slogan is the words from Pope Francis' message, "To speak with the heart."