Mass Communication

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3.1 What is Communication?

Communication is a common phenomenon that cuts across the daily

activities of human being. As food and water are very important to

man’s survival so is communication. It is always a unique feature that

differentiates the living from the dead. Obilade (1989) defines

communication as a process that involves the transmission of message

from a sender to the receiver.

A group of Nigerian Communication Scholars namely Babatunde

Folarin, Dayo Soola, Isaac Ode, Frank Ugboajah variously define

communication as follows:

• Any means by which a thought is transferred from one person to

another (Folarin 2003).

• The process by which any person or a group shares and impacts

information with/to another person(or group) so that both people(or

groups) clearly understand one another (Soola 2000).

• Not just giving of information, it is the giving of understandable

information and receiving and therefore, the transferring of a

message to another party so that it can be understood and acted upon

(Ode 1999).

• The process which involves all acts of transmitting messages to

channels which link people to the languages and symbolic codes

which are used to transmit such messages. It is also the means by

which such messages are received and stored. It includes the rules,

customs and conventions which define and regulate human

relationships and events (Ugboajah 2001).

3.2 Functions of Communication

Communication performs diverse kinds of functions. We will look at

the following functions:

1. Social Interaction

Human interaction is possible because we can communicate. We relate

with friends, parents, colleagues, etc because we share codes that make

us understand each other. Without communication this will not be

possible.

2. Business and Trade

Communication provides opportunity to transact business and engage in

trade. We are able to make known what we are offering for sales and

what we want to buy. We also negotiate the prices, mode of delivery

etc. through communication

3. Exchange of Ideas and Spread of Knowledge

We express freely our ideas, opinions and feelings on issues affecting

us. We also share knowledge as we engage in discussion and write

books. In classroom situation, a teacher is able to impart knowledge into

students through communication.

4. Social-Political Development

Development is made possible through communication. Communication

helps to mobilise people to work together for their social and political

development.

5. Social-Cultural Integration

Communication enables exchange of culture and values. Through music,

interaction in communities, we are able to learn one another’s cultures

and blend for harmonious co-habitation

.3 What is Mass Communication?

Mass Communication is a means of disseminating information or

message to large, anonymous, and scattered heterogeneous masses of

receivers who may be far removed from the message sources through

the use of sophisticated equipment. In other words, communication is

the sending of message through a mass medium to a large number of

people.

Mass Communication represents the creation and sending of a

homogeneous message to a large heterogeneous audience through the

media. Mass communication studies the uses and effects of the media by

many as opposed to the study of human interaction as in other

communication contexts.

Stanley Baran defines Mass Communication as the process of creating

shared meaning between the mass media and their audience. Also, John

Bittner defines Mass Communication as messages communicated

through a mass medium to a large number of people.

One needs to underscore the underlying fact that what is common in

every definition of mass communication anywhere in the world is that it

is communicated through a mass medium. In other words, for...
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