The Media of Mass Communication
Noise, feedback, filters, amplification and effects are basic elements of communication
What is communication?
Basic elements of communication:
- Communication: conveying information or meaning via a connection that allows access among persons.
- Interpersonal communication: sending and receiving messages between two persons or among members of a group of people, including speaking, listening, asserting and persuading verbally and nonverbally, without the use of technological relays.
- Mass media: production and dissemination technologies used to relay news, information, entertainment and advertising – usually newspaper, magazine and other print publishing; radio, television, music, film and other electronic production; and Web and other Internet production. (Medium is a singular term. Media is plural.)
- Mass communication: the result of people using mass media technology to relay informative, entertaining and persuasive information to a large population all at once.
- Feedback: information returned to the sender of a message as the result of a receiver perceiving the message.
- Interpersonal communication is two-way communication and the feedback loop can be nearly instantaneous. An example of interpersonal communication feedback might be students raising their hands when a teacher in their classroom asks a question.
- Mass communication is one-way and feedback is slow to none. An example of mass communication feedback is a newspaper letter-to-the-editor.
- Noise: message incomprehensibility resulting from meaningless and unpredictable information that disturbs communication. Noise is something that interferes with a message reaching a receiver. There are three types of noise:
- Channel noise interferes with the transmission of a message, e.g. radio static.
- Environmental noise interferes with receiving a message, e.g. phone rings as you watch television.
- Semantic noise interferes with deciphering the content of a message, e.g. sloppy wording.
- Filter: a process that removes from communication predetermined unwanted elements.
- Informational filters encode a message in a language with which a receiver is not familiar, e.g. a foreign language or unfamiliar jargon.
- Physical filters intersperse physical conditions that prevent a receiver from understanding a message, e.g. illness, sleepiness or alcoholism.
- Psychological filters use a message recipient's personal orientation or philosophy to influence how a message is interpreted, e.g. a populist might favor restricting illegal immigration to protect legal workers.
- Amplification: a means of extending thoughts or statements in a message to make it seem more important, increase its persuasive effect, or make the most of a particular circumstance.
- Messages delivered via mass media are assumed to have a special status.
- Messages delivered via mass media seem more important than those not delivered via mass media.
- Because mass audiences are very large, messages delivered to them via mass media are amplified.
- Effect: the consequence of a phenomenon.
- A mass communication is transmitted to create an effect.
- The point of communicating a message is to have an effect.
- The large size of a mass communication audience compounds the potential for powerful effects.
What does it all mean?
- The media of mass communication are significant in shaping public perceptions of issues through the choice of information disseminated and interpretation of the information.
- The media of mass communication are significant in shaping culture by the choice and portrayal of beliefs, values and traditions.
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© 2011 Dr. Anthony Curtis, Mass Communication Dept., University of North Carolina at Pembroke e-mail home page