The difference between print media & broadcast media

Updated March 24, 2017

Print and broadcast media supply us with the same kind of information. We get the latest news updates, the latest products on the market and are given the opportunity to enjoy interesting stories. Although print is an older medium, both print and broadcast media have established a place in society. There are, however, clear differences between the two media that should be noted by both advertisers and prospective journalists.

Sensory Experience

The main difference between print and broadcast media is that the mediums appeal to different senses. Print media is a visual medium only, while radio has audio and television has audiovisual impact. Advertisers use this information to focus on the specific sensory quality of their product fitting to the medium. In print advertisement, a picture speaks a thousand words. For example, in an ad for an automobile, the focus will be on a car’s outer design qualities like "shiny" and "sleek." For a radio advertisement the focus will be on how the car sounds and in a television clip there will be more opportunity to tell a more complete story about the car using sound as well as visual imagery to influence the viewer’s experience.

Length of Exposure

In a newspaper article, journalists often have the opportunity to provide more in-depth information about a certain event, while a news broadcast has a limited time frame in which information has to be supplied. This substantially influences the article structure, as print media has more opportunity to include detail and description while a broadcast piece typically is a brief summary of accounts.


Although the target groups of print and broadcast media could be the same, there is a significant difference in how the audience treats the different media. With print media, readers choose the information they want to read. With broadcast media, the audience is exposed to advertisements and news articles chosen by the broadcaster. This influences the impact of the media, as information you read because you find it interesting is often easier to recall than information received involuntarily.

Appearance of Reporters

With broadcast media, the audience often judges the credibility of a story based on the appearance of the reporter—the tone of voice, clothing and physical characteristics. In print media, the reader does not see the reporter so the impression the article leaves will depend solely on the writing style of the journalist.


The content of news stories differ between broadcast media and print media. Only the latest news get broadcast daily, so the stories have to be fresh. Broadcast journalists have very little time to prepare their story and to get extra information on it. Newspapers, however, often contain day- or even week-old news and have more opportunity to elaborate on events. Newspaper articles are thus often more detailed and more informative than broadcast stories.

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About the Author

Virtually growing up in a computer repair shop, Naomi Bolton has held a passion for as long as she can remember. After earning a diploma through a four year course in graphic design from Cibap College, Bolton launched her own photography business. Her work has been featured on Blinklist, Gameramble and many others.