Mcquail's Communications Theory

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In the theoretical field of communication studies, the works are often heavily influenced and led by Western-oriented perspectives. In this essay, we shall explore the various media texts in Singapore and analyze the extent to which it relates to McQuail’s communication theory. Comparing the influence of mass media to the early century, McQuail D. (2002) associates the first concept of communication to the ‘teachings’ and guidance towards the masses through propaganda. This transmission perception is communication at its simplest level. In this model, the major concern is to dispatch the message regardless of the receiver having reached an understanding with the source and hence omitting feedback. For example, it is evident in the philosophy of education; a lecturer passes on information to his students (Grossberg, L., 2006). The primary purpose of this model is to send a message across for the intention of control or influence (McQuail D., 1997). Based on that notion, we can observe a similar pattern in the local television program, “Don’t Ignore Diabetes”. It is a 30-minutes educational TV show that airs on Channel 5 every Monday. In each episode, the show gives tips and investigates the various truths and myths behind Diabetes, with the help of its resident doctor, Dr. Talk. This example illustrates a transmission of a message (information about Diabetes) from a source (Dr. Talk or the TV Host) to a receiver (the audience). The main purpose of this television program is to pass on knowledge, in this case referring to the dangers and raising awareness towards Diabetes, to the public. As the message is relayed from a person with creditable knowledge, this model assumes that the effect of the message is reasonably direct between the sender and the receiver (Grossberg, L., 2006). Since it focuses on one-way communication, there is no feedback as the audience is perceived as a target for the transmission of meaning. As we look at the next concept of communication, the ritual model, the “receivers” are treated as participants. With the Internet, it opens up a new dimension for public discussions of media content which in turn increases the commonality between the “sender” and “receiver”, rather than in swaying the receivers in accordance to the motive of the sender (McQuail D., 1997). I will associate this theory to a local blogger, Wendy Cheng. Wendy is considered one of Singapore’s most popular blogging sensations. Her weblog, which is hosted on, attracts an impressive amount of visitors each day. Moreover, a careful observation of her site will reveal a remarkable number of comments in response to her blog posts. The nature of a community generally gives an impression of an environment of trust and respect that gathers a group of like-minded individuals who share similar opinions and goals (Conrad, D., 2005). As a blogger, she is driven to document her personal life, provide and express her emotions and commentaries through writing (Nardi, B.A., Schiano, D.J., Gumbrecht, M., Swartz, L., 2004). Unlike the transmission model, this forms a participatory culture among the readers of the blog as it provides them with an opportunity to join in the discussion. Just like any celebrity, Wendy is bound to have readers who simply dislike her or do not share her sentiments on her more controversial entries. This demonstrates the core perception of ritual communication as it concentrates on community togetherness through the reflection and establishment of shared meanings (Sella, Z.K., 2007). The catch in this theory is that it solely depends on the individual’s willingness to be a part of the “community”. For instance, a reader may choose to avoid visiting Wendy’s blog if he has an aversion towards her opinions. The example of blogs is also relevant under McQuail’s third concept of communication, the display model. The theory seeks to simply gain the attention of the audience, regardless of its effect...
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