Functions of Mass Communication
right (1960) characterizes seven functions of mass communication that offer insight into its role in our lives.
* Surveillance. The first function of mass communication is to serve as the eyes and ears for those of us seeking information about our world. When we want to find out the latest news about what’s happening, we can turn on the television, surf the internet, or read a newspaper or magazine. We rely on mass communication for news and information about our daily lives such as the weather, stock reports, or the start time for a game. What was one of the first things you did after you heard about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center? More than likely, you were glued to the Internet or your television waiting for details about the disaster. In fact, your authors’ campus closed down to allow people to stay at home to collect information and be with loved ones, even though our campus is located on the other side of the country.
* Correlation. Correlation addresses how the media present facts that we use to move through the world. The information we get through mass communication is not objective and without bias. The grandmother of a friend of your authors stated that the information she heard on the radio, “had to be true” because it was on the radio. This statement begs the question, how credible are the media? Can we consume media without questioning motive and agenda? Someone selects, arranges, interprets, edits, and critiques the information we see. A friend of your authors’ has a brother who edits for a major reality TV show. When asked if what we see if a fair representation of what really happens, the person who does the editing simply laughed and said “no.”
* Sensationalization. There is an old saying in the news industry-“if it bleeds, it leads” that highlights the idea of sensationalization. Sensationalization is when the media puts forward the... [continues]
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