Meaning and Scope of Mass Media


Meaning and Scope of Mass Media

The mass media have been around us for many centuries and affect every aspect of our daily lives. At times, most of the mass media users are the captive audience.

The issues in this article will discuss the meaning and types of communication media and socialization.

At the end of this article, you should be able to:

Define mass media

Discuss the different types of mass communication

Discuss mass communication media and media and socialization.


Definition of Mass Media

Mass media are channels of communication which aid the transfer of meaning from a sender to heterogeneous audiences simultaneously. It refers to a varied range of media technologies that reach a large audience through mass communication. Examples include; television, radio, newspapers, magazines, motion pictures.

Concisely, the term mass media simply translates to the modern means of giving news, opinion, education, entertainment and agenda-setting to large numbers of people, especially through radio, television, newspapers, magazines and films. A medium is the channel through which a message travels from the source to the receiver (medium” as singular, media” is plural). When we talk about mass communication, we also need channels to carry the message. Therefore, mass media are the channels used for mass communication.

The definition of mass media will not only include the mechanical devices that transmit and sometimes store the message (television cameras, radio microphones, printing presses) but also the institutions that use these machines to transmit messages. “A Media Vehicle is a single component of the mass media, such as a newspaper, radio station, television network, or magazine.


Types of Mass Media

There are basically eight different mass media:

1.   Radio

2.   Television

3.   Film

4.   Books

5.   Sound recordings

6.   Newspapers

7.   Magazines

8.   The internet.

Of course, these eight are not the only mass media that exist. Others are billboards, comic books, posters, direct mail, matchbooks and buttons. These eight media listed above have the largest audiences, employ the most people and have the greatest impact. People are also most familiar with these media.


Mass Communication Media

For us to understand the mass communication media, it is important to look at the meaning of mass communication. It has been viewed as a process in which “professional” communicators use media to disseminate messages widely and rapidly in large and diverse audiences in attempt to influence them in a variety of ways. There is need to define which forms of communication should be considered as vehicles of mass media.


Components of Mass Communication

From the definition, talking on the phone is not a form of mass communication because the audience is not large and diverse; usually there is only one person at each end of the line. Similarly, any situation in which life performers and audience can see each other directly in a theater or church, at sports events or parade- is not example of a mediated communication.

The major mass communication media or agencies of mass communication therefore are print which comprise books, magazines, newspapers, fliers, newsletters, diaries, calendars, brochures, billboards, and posters among other. It also includes broadcast media (radio and television).


Mass Media and Socialization

At times, the media consciously attempt to inculcate values and behavior in the audience. The radio and television usually portray in social responsibility adverts or announcements the dangers of alcohol and over speeding.

Recently, advertisements on cigarettes remind smokers that they were liable to die. Mass media can also transmit values by enforcing, social norms. People who make unguarded or tribalistic comments over the radio are usually sanctioned, suspended or even sacked. Joseph Dominick (2009:36) opined that “of all the mass media, television probably has the greatest potential for socialization. By the time an individual is 18 years he or she will have spent more time watching television than any single activity except sleep.”


Conclusion on Meaning and Scope of Mass Media

We have explained that the mass media are the channels through which professional communicators reach their target audiences. The mass media agencies enhance socialization, convergence and control. It is through the mass media, that cultural interactions succeed.

In this article, we have dealt with the meaning and scope of mass media by examines the types, mass communication media and mass media and socialization.

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