1 Mass Communication and Its Functions

Tucker McIlwrath, Jonathan Young, Michael Noone, and Jake Mikucki

Mass communication is at the top of the communication pyramid.  In other words, it is a society-wide communication process in which an individual or company uses certain technology to send messages with a large, or mixed audience.  For example, stories you hear about on the news, new games or books coming out online, are all forms of mass communication. (Hanson)

Usually, the channels in mass communication have been one way.  This means that there hasn’t been a lot of opportunities for feedback from audiences.  However, with the rise of technology and interactive communication networks, the chance for feedback from audiences are rapidly increasing.  For example, you can go online and chat with friends on gaming consoles or your PC. (Hanson)

There are different “players” in the mass communication process.  The mass communication process is basically how mass communication works.  First off you have the sender, which are in this case big corporations that control the messages that go out to these various channels of communication.  Then you have the message, which is obviously the content that is being passed through by the sender and then that is received by and viewed by the receivers.  However, before the message can be transmitted is has to be encoded first.  Followed by that is the channel, which is the medium that is used to help transmit the message.  The final few steps are the receiver who is the audience viewing the content, and finally it has to get decoded which is just translating a signal. (Hanson)

Cultural Transmission

The earlier ecological perspectives tended to view cultures as permanent adaptations while ignoring adaptation of cultural populations.  However, cultures obviously evolve over time due to responses in changing ecological circumstances and most times due to contact or communication with other cultures. (Schonpflug)


Surveillance in journalism is events, issues, and or other stories going on in the world being displayed live or moments after happening. News teams and political groups are usually on top of providing this type of news. A huge problem with todays, previous and possibly futures society is we believe in fake news. In 1938, Orson Welles a radio broadcaster, convinced America that New Jersey was being attacked by armed Martians. Today’s society would have a tough time believing that story, since we can see what is going on in the world from our smart phones. Yet, this brings today’s society closer to fake news. People are able to say whatever they want on the internet and any one would believe. In 2017, 20th Centry Fox and Regency Enterprise created five local fake news web sites. One site called The Houston Leader, had made ridiculous stories like Lady Gaga was planning a tribute to Muslims at the Super Bowl. Readers from all over the world asked the journalist for more information. He later on apologizes and confessed about the fake website. There is a strong possibility that fake news in the future will become more popular. Although, people will be more aware and notice what is real in this world.


The correlation function is otherwise known as the opinion or editorial function of the
press. It addresses how the media presents facts that will change the way we see the world (Communication Theory). This function of the mass communication helps the individual to know the viewpoints of various people, which help him or her to evaluate an issue. Many people believe that because the information given to use through media is non-bias, therefore it must be true. This has been a problem for centuries, whether the information given was from a newspaper, radio or t.v (Learning). For example, during the war in Vietnam the media played a big role in changing people’s opinions to opposing sending soldiers to war. Hitler also used media to warp people’s minds in his “propaganda war against Jews”. Our views on political figures are in the hands of the media. People who watch

Entertainment in Mass Communication 

Entertainment media has the power to send and project stereotypes about groups of people. Looking back, we can see evidence of this through decades of music. A strong beginning to this is Eazy E’s first hit song “Boys In Da Hood” released in 1988. This was a controversial hit song as it talked about life in the ghetto it opened the door enough for Eazy E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, MC Ren and The D.O.C. to talk about their everyday struggles. This also hit the issue of freedom of expression within mass communication. Their depiction of life in Compton’s ghetto within their lyrics allowed different classes of people to fully understand how tough they have it.

In 1992 Blanchard and Cobb-Reily did a special issue of Journalism Quarterly on freedom of expression. They discussed how in ancient Greek times they greatly valued people saying something unpopular as long as it needed to be said (Carter). While discussing the values that freedom of expression has within mass communication, Carter says that the ancient Greeks speaking their mind on important issues legally caused them to not fear the governments retribution and this is very similar to what NWA did back in early 90s’ (Carter).

Works Cited

Berman, Nina. “The Victims of Fake News.” Colombia Journalism Review, 2017, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/fake-news-pizzagate-seth-rich-newtown-sandy-hook.php.

Carter, Edward L. “Mass Communication Law and Policy Research and the Values of Free Expression.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, vol. 94, no. 3, Sept. 2017, pp. 641-662.

Communication Theory. “Functions of Mass Communication.” Communication Theory, http://communicationtheory.org/functions-of-mass-communication/.

Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living in a Media World. 6th ed., SAGE Publications, Inc., 2017.

Learning, Lumen. “Functions of Mass Communication.” Functions of Mass Communication | Introduction to Communication, http://courses.lumenlearning.com/introductiontocommunication/chapter/functions-of-mass-communication/.

Schonpflug, Ute. “Cultural Transmission: Psychological, Developmental, Social, Methodological Aspects.” Cultural Transmission: Psychological, Developmental, Social, Methodological Aspects, Cambridge, pp. 96–96.


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Introduction to Media Studies by Tucker McIlwrath, Jonathan Young, Michael Noone, and Jake Mikucki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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