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{April 8, 2009}   Baran Stanley thinking about mass communication

Baran Stanley thinking about mass communication

WHAT IS MASS COMMUNICATION?
Communication defined as transmission of a message from a source to a receiver. Harold Lasswell describes communication by his questions: who, says what, through which channel, to whom, and with what effect? But, it doesn’t enough yet, Schramm represent the reciprocal nature of communication (depiction of interpersonal communication). Communication then, is better defined as the process of creating shared meaning. So, mass communication is the process of creating shared meaning between the mass media and their audience. How mass communication differs from other forms of communication? Feedback in mass communication is delayed inferential feedback. Feedback comes too late to enable corrections or alterations in communication that fails. James W. Carey offered a cultural definition of communication (viewed the relation between communication and culture). Carey wrote, “Communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed”. Communication and reality are linked. Communication is the foundation of our culture.

WHAT IS CULTURE?
Culture is the learned behavior of the members of given social group (culture is learned). It’s so meaningful. Creation and maintenance of a more or less common culture occurs through communication, including mass communication. Meaning is being shared, and culture is being constructed and maintained.

FUNCTIONS AND EFFECTS OF CULTURE
It helps us categorize and classify our experiences and define us, our world, and our place in it.
 Limiting and liberating effects of culture.
A culture’s learned traditions and values can be seen as patterned, repetitive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. It limits our options and provides useful guidelines for behaviors. Liberation from the limitations imposed by culture resides in our ability and willingness to learn and use new patterned, repetitive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting, to challenge existing patterns, and to create our own.
 Defining, differentiating, dividing, uniting effects of culture.
We defined by our culture. The stereotype, whatever it may be, will probably fit us only incompletely, or perhaps hardly at all.
Smaller cultures unite groups of people and enable them to see themselves as different from other groups around them. Our culture can divide us, but our culture also unites us. Our culture represents our collective experience. We converse easily with strangers because we share the same culture.

MASS COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE
 Micro versus macro- level effects.
Media have relative few direct effects at the personal (micro level) but much more important, impact of media operates at the cultural or macro level. Violence on TV contributes to the cultural climate in which real-world violence becomes. The micro level view is that TV violence has little impact because most people are not directly affected. The macro level view is that TV violence has a great impact because it influences the culture climate.
 Administrative versus critical research
For decades the only proofs of media effects that science would accept were those with direct, observable, immediately effects. Critical research asking large question about what kind of nation we are building, what kind of people we are becoming.
 Transmissional versus ritual perspective.
Transmissional perspective sees media as sender of information or the purpose of control, that is, media either have effects on our behaviors or they do not. The ritual perspective views media not as a means transmitting “messages in space” but as central to “the maintenance of society in time. Mass communication is “not the act of imparting information but the representation of shared beliefs.

MASS COMMUICATION OPPORTUNITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
We allow mass communication not only to occur but also to contribute to the creation and maintenance of culture. Everyone involved has an obligation to participate responsibly. For people working in the media industries, this means professionally and ethically creating and transmitting content. For audience members, it means behaving as critical and thoughtful consumers of that content.
 Mass media as cultural storytellers.
A culture’s values and beliefs reside in stories it tells. Our stories help define our realities, shaping the ways we think, feel, act.
Storytellers have remarkable opportunity to shape culture. They also have a responsibility to do so in as professional and ethical a way as possible. The audience use stories not only to be entertained but to learn about the world around them, to understand the values, the things work, and how the pieces fit together. They have responsibility to question, to reflect on the stories, to do less is to miss an opportunity to construct their own meaning and, thereby culture.
 Mass communication as cultural forum.
Mass communication has become a primary forum for debate about our culture. Logically, then, the most powerful voices in the forum have to shape our definitions and understandings.

SCOPE AND NATURE OF MASS MEDIA
It is possible to deny that an enormous portion of our lives is spent in interaction with mass media. Despite the pervasiveness of mass media in our lives, many of us are dissatisfied with or critical of the media industry’s performance and much of the content provided- comes in part from our uncertainties about the relationships among the elements of mass communication.
 The role of technology
This perspective accepts technology as one of many factors that shape economic and cultural change, technology’s influence is ultimately determined by how much power it is given by the people and cultures that use it. Technology can be our best friend and also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. Technology does have an impact communication. At the very least it changes the basic elements of communication. What technology does not do is relieve us of our obligation to use mass communication responsibly and wisely.
 The role of money.
Keep in our mind that media industries are businesses. This doesn’t mean, however, that media are or must be slaves to profit.
There is a growing concentration of ownership and conglomeration, rapid globalization, increased audience fragmentation, hyper commercialism, and steady erosion of traditional distinction among media-that is convergence.



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