There are a lot of different ways of getting new information. In the past the only way to learn about the world was travelling. The first travellers were explorers who wanted to discover new lands. Nowadays millions of people travel around the world either for pleasure or on business. Travelling has always been a part of people's education. It teaches people about art and culture of different countries. It teaches them to be understanding. Besides, you can improve your knowledge of foreign languages. In my opinion, travelling is the most pleasant way of learning about the world. It's always interesting to discover different ways of life, to visit different museums, to try different food and to listen to different music. In brief, when we travel, we can learn a lot of things that we can never see and learn at home.
But to travel around the world you need a lot of money. That is why the main source of information for millions of people is mass media. Mass media includes newspapers and magazines, advertising and radio and, of course, television.
Television is a reflection of the modern world. It gives you an opportunity to travel all over the world, to see different people and to learn about their customs and traditions. Television keeps you informed about the rest of the world. When you need immediate information about the latest world events, you switch the TV on. There is always a great variety of programmes on TV: current affairs programmes and documentaries, plays and feature films, talk shows and TV games. A lot of people like TV news because they can see everything with their own eyes. Besides, TV has the power to educate and broaden our minds.
Some people think that the only way to be in the know of everything is to read newspapers and magazines. If you get on a bus or catch a train during the morning and evening "rush hours", when most people travel to and from work, you will see a lot of people with their heads in a newspaper or a magazine.
Newspapers are packed with the latest news, information, fashion and facts. They cater for a variety of political views, interests and levels of education. Papers are generally divided into "quality papers", or broadsheets, and "popular papers" that are half the size of a broadsheet. But the size is not the only thing that makes them different. "Quality papers" are serious, with long, informative articles, while "popular papers", known as "tabloids", have a more sensational reporting style and contain more human-interest stories than news. In Russia we also have these two types of newspapers. For example, Izvestiya or Kommersant are broadsheets. They contain political, business and cultural information. Such tabloids as Megapolis-Express and Express Gazeta contain the latest gossip, sensations and crossword puzzles. People choose a paper according to their tastes and preferences. Though newspapers don't react to events as quickly as TV, they usually provide us with extra details, commentaries and background information.
There are also a lot of magazines and other periodicals. Whatever your interest, there is likely to be a magazine about it — from sport, cookery and farming to religion, computers, cinema and more. Young people below the age of18 do not buy newspapers, but they do buy magazines. Girls enjoy magazines about pop music, clothes, fashion and make-up, whereas boys prefer to read about sports, cars and computers. As far as I am interested in fashion, I enjoy reading Yes. It is a monthly magazine for girls containing the latest information about our favourite pop, film and soap stars, brilliant fashion and beauty, sports and romance. It approaches interesting subjects with intelligence and good humour. Besides, there is a lot of useful advice on various areas of life.
Still, many people prefer the radio. It's good to listen to the radio in a car, or in the open air, or when you do something about the house. Listeners can tune into all kinds of stations: pop or classical music, news, sport or foreign radio stations. People can often call in and ask questions about everything from cooking or car repair to politics or health. Callers often get a chance to give their opinions on the air. Besides, radio has fresher news than newspapers. They are informed every half-hour.
The Internet has recently become another important source of information. It is a computer system that allows millions of people around the world to receive and exchange information about almost everything. The main use of the Internet is to find information — for your schoolwork or job, or just to find out more about your hobbies, sports or current events. All the latest information is available to you in your home, at any hour of the day and night. It's much faster and easier to surf the net in search of information from all over the world than to travel to libraries in dozens of countries.
However, the real world of the Internet may not be as perfect as it seems. With so much information available, finding what you want can take you hours. Multimedia web pages with photographs are attractive, but they make downloading slow and boring. Besides, there is too much advertising instead of real information.
With so many modern forms of getting information such as radio, TV and the Internet, people read fewer books, newspapers and magazines. Nowadays most people consider television their most important source of information, and a majority ranks television as the most believable news source. In my opinion, we can't say exactly which source of information is the best. It depends on what kind of information you need. However, I don't think we should forget the educational value of reading a good book.