In communication and media studies, the term “mass” is often applied to media audiences. How applicable is this term in the light of John Thomson’s statement that “messages transmitted by the mass media are received by specific individuals situated in definite social historical context” (1977:33)?
Examine this issue with reference to the ways in which concept of the ‘audience’ have changed over time in relation both to technologies and to social institutions.
People live in a modern cultural society where is full of mass communication including newspapers, radios, televisions and the internet, etc. As the mass communication has increased and developed constantly, so that people provide something or are provided. It seems people all become mass communicators and audiences.
I would like to talk about the definition of mass communication and what kind of functions mass communication has. Next I will underline an active / passive audience defines; also explain how the audience has changed and developed.
Generally the mass communication is defined as a mediator for messages in a cultural literacy. In other words, it has taken over the function of society community as decoder, interpreter, and encoder (Schramm, 1972, 23-24). When a sender pass on a message to the receiver, the view and the implication of the message could show various way to different people in the same period. In a conversation, one person speaks the message to other listeners. The message is transmitted to the other listeners who would be listening and decoding the message. The basic rule of communication is unidirectional.
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Meyrowtiz, Joshua (1997), “The Separation of Social Space from Physical Place”,The Media Studies Reader, O’Sullvian, Tim & Jewkes, Yvonne (eds.), Edward Arnold Ltd, London, p. 46.
McQuail, Denis (1997), Audience Analysis, Sage, Thousand Oaks, California, pp. 2-5.
Morley, David (1986), Family Televison. Cultural Power and Domestic Leisure, Comedia/ Routledge, Lodon, p.150.
Schirato, Tony & Yell, Susan (1996), “Communication and Culture”, Communication and Cultural Literacy: An Introduction, Allen and Unwin, St Leonards, Sydney, 1996, pp.1-21.
Schramm, Wilbur (1972), “How Communication Works”, in K. J. McGarry (ed.), Mass Communication, Clive Bingley, London, pp.18, 23-24.