Mass communication, by definition, is the process in which professional
communication using technological devises share messages over great distances
to influence large audiences. The technology of modern mass communication
results from the confluence of many types of inventions and discoveries, some of
which ( the printing press, for instance) actually preceded the Industrial Revolution.
Technological ingenuity of the 19th and 20th centuries
has developed the newer means
of mass communication
, particularly broadcasting, without which the present near-
global diffusion of printed words, pictures, and sounds would have been impossible.
The steam printing press, radio, motion pictures, television, and sound recordings-
as well as systems of mass production
and distribution- were necessary before public
communication, in its present form, might occur.
What I would like to discuss now is the actual process of mass communication and
how it works. In mass communication, a professional communicator is the source,
someone who shares information, ideas, or attitudes with someone else. The source may
be an author, a newspaper reporter, a television reporter, or an announcer. The
technological devices are the channels, or the means by which the message was sent.
An example of this would be that radio and television messages are transmitted via cable
and satellite systems. The message is whatever the source attempts to share with another
person. In mass communication, the large audience comprises the receivers, the people
who are the attended recipients of the message. Occasionally a receiver of the message
will sent feedback to the source, that is, a response that allows the source to determine if
the message was correctly understood. In mass communication feedback can be
conveyed through a letter to the editor, for instance, or a telephone call to a television
There are several reasons why it is important to understand the process off mass
communication. Probably the most important is that by understanding the process of
mass communication we will learn to think critically about the messages the media
send us. We will become more thoughtful media consumers. As a consumer of the
media, and as a citizen of the world in which technology seems to be bringing people
closer together, our responsibility is to understand how the media function and to
develop the skills to interpret the significance of the products they offer. By
understanding the nature and function of mass communication, we can begin to
recognize the significance of the media and the role they play in shaping our
understanding of the world.