Study guide for Communications exam 1: October 11
1. Chapter 1
a. Communication: exchange of meaning (the basic foundation). People
interacting in ways that at least one of the parties involved understands as
b. Messages: collections of symbols that appear purposefully organized
(meaningful) to those sending or receiving them.
c. Intrapersonal communication: communication that involves 2-3 individuals
signaling using voices, facial gestures etc…to convey meaning.
d. Intropersonal communication: communication in ones own head.
e. Small group communication: 3-25 people communicating.
f. Public speaking: communicating to a large group
g. Mediated interpersonal communication: interpersonal communication that
is assisted by a medium (part of a technical system that helps in transmission
distribution or reception of messages).
i. i.e. the radio, CD television are all mediums.
h. Small group communication
i. Industrial nature of mass communication: media is produced by big
companies, not individuals.
j. Source: originator of the message. In mass communications, the source is an
organization (company) not a single person.
i. i.e. “The Daily Show”: Jon Stewart is not the source, Comedy Central
k. Encoding: when a source translates a message in anticipation of its
transmission to a receiver. When source is a person, encoding goes on in
brain. When source is an organization, encoding takes place during the
creation of the message.
l. Transmitter: performs the physical activity of actually sending out the
m. Channels: Channels are the pathways through which the transmitters ends all
features of the message.
i. i.e. someone yelling: the channel is the air that he is yelling through.
ii. I.e. roommate texting you: channel is the electromagnetic frequency
band through which the message travels.
n. Receiver: person or organization that gets the message.
o. Decoding: process by which the receiver translates the source’s thoughts and
ideas so that they have meaning.
p. Feedback: occurs when the receiver responds to the message with what the
sender perceives as a message.
q. Noise: environmental, mechanical and semantic sound in the communication
situation that interferes with the delivery of the message. i. Environmental: comes from the setting where the source and receiver
ii. Mechanical noise: comes from the medium through which the
communication is taking place.
1. i.e. static on the phone
r. Industry communication process vs. interpersonal communication
process (Antwaan vs. safety trust)
i. AntwaanAndrews is a self-employed insurance agent. He sends email
letters to a few people for 2 months telling about services. His
audience is limited but feedback goes straight to him.
ii. SafetyTrust Mutual:Antwaan represents them. Creates commercials,
print ads etc…to market to audience. Larger audience, but harder to
get individual feedback.
iii. Difference between mediated interpersonal and mass communication
can be seen as the difference between personal, hand-crafted
production and mass production on the other.
s. Ways that people use the media:
i. Enjoyment: can engage a process called social currency. When people
watch the same television programs, they can converse and bond over
the show together.
ii. Companionship: chronically ill hospital patient etc…may find
companionship by watching their favorite t.v. shows.
1. Parasocial interaction: psychological connections that some
people establish with celebrities.
iii. Surveillance: use media to learn about what is happening in the world.
Weather stations, news etc…
iv. Interpretation: learn why certain things are going on in the world.
1. People are more likely to take to heart what they read/hear if they
agree with the information.
v. 6 Principles of Media Literacy:
1. The media construct our individual realities: When we watch
t.v. / surf the web, we have to be aware that what we are seeing
and hearing is not really reality.
2. The media are influenced by industrial pressures: the need to
bring in revenues (sell to advertising) is foremost in the minds of
organizations. Who paid for this?
3. The media are influenced by political pressures: decisions of
courts about what restrictions government can place on the
media, the struggle by various interest groups to change what
media do. 4. The media are constrained by format: every medium has its
own characteristics, codes and conventions of presenting cultural
5. Audiences are active recipients of the media: individual
audience members we filter meaning through our unique
6. The media tell us about who we are as a society: stereotypes,
vi. 6 Media Literacy tools:
1. Consider authorship
2. Evaluate the audience
3. Determine the institutional purpose
4. Analyze the content
5. Identify the creative techniques
2. Chapter 2
a. Audience: the people whom mass media firms are distributing content to.
b. Demographics: the simplest and most common ways to construct an
audience. Characteristics that divide people into social groups
c. Demographic indicators: factors such as age, gender, occupation, ethnicity
d. Psychographics: organize audience by attitudes, personalities, motivations
i. i.e.: “high income”, “30 and up”
ii.3 types of psychographic categories: “art lovers” stay the longest (3
years), “idea hunters” stay shortest (2 years).
e. Lifestyle categories: finding activities that potential audiences are involved
in that mark them as different from others in the audience or in the population
i. Amagazine could (through survey) learn that its readers have
expensive cars and go yachting, they would use this information for
advertising and content in the magazine.
f. Surveys: People are carefully chosen and asked the same questions.
g. Focus groups: 8-10 selected people who discuss their habits and opinions
about 1 or more topics.
h. Analyzing existing data: investigation of potential audience for specific
kinds of content. Executives will decide which kinds of materials to create
i. VALS (ideals, achievement, self-expression)
i. Strivers: Chevy, coke, more likely to seek approval, more impulsive.
ii.Experiencers: VW, Red Bull, young, self-expression, compulsive
iii.Believers: Mercury, local TV-news, religion, family, home
iv. Achievers: Honda, low-cal, domestic beer
v. Innovators: BMW, sparkling water, active consumers vi. Thinkers: Subaru, wine, practical well-informed
vii. Makers: dodge ram, Budweiser – do it yourself, basics over status
viii. Survivors: “anAmerican car”, coffee from home, struggling, hardest
to market to because they only live off of necessities
j. Reputation silos
k. Genres: categories of artistic composition; entertainment, news, information,
i. Entertainment: making money by keeping an audience busy / amused,
leaves agreeable feelings.
1. Subgenres: festivals, gaming, drama and comedy.
n. Stylistic patterns
q. Formula: patterned approach to creating content that is characterized by 3
ii. Typical characters
iii.Patterns of action
r. Hybrid genres: mixed genres
s. Hybridity: mixing genres across cultures. I.e.: T-Pain (blues and rap),
Bollywood films (Indian and traditional Hollywood themes).
t. Dramedy: combination of drama and comedy. (Psych, Desperate
u. News: telling of stories, objectivity (no bias)
i. Hard News: first-hand reports of battle, politics..
1. Timeliness: must have happened recently.
2. Unusualness: “Dob Bites Man” vs. “Man Bite Dog”
4. The closeness of the incident: geographically or
psychologically (connection to story)
ii. Investigative reports: explorations of reality, objective. More time to
develop and research story.
iii.Editorials: subgenre of news that expresses an individual’s or
organization’s POV. Not objective.
iv. Soft news: gossip columns etc, bias can be shown.
v. Information: the raw material that journalists use when they create news
stories. A fact.
w. Education: content is crafted to teach the audience something. Textbooks,
shows on PBS. x. Advertisement: aims to attract favorable attention for certain goods and
y. Product placement: paid insertion of products into media.
i. Informational ads: recitation of facts about a product.
ii. Hard sell ads: TV infomercial, annoying!
iii. Soft-sell ads: try to create good feelings. i.e. “Mac vs. PC” ads or “Got
z. Powerful distributor: firms ability to ensure that the media products it
carries will end up in the best locations and to the best audience
aa. Shelf space: amount of area or time available for presenting products to
ab. direct sales: products sold through direct channel frequently. “Now that’s
what I call…” are CDs sold directly through television ads.
ac. license fees
ae. usage fees
3. Chapter 5
a. 6 mass media trends
i. Media fragmentation: increase in the number of mass media outlets.
ii. Audience segmentation: producers and distributors try to reach
different types of people with messages tailored specifically for them.
iii. Audience segmentation: distribution of products across media
vi. Digital convergence
b. Audience erosion: decrease in the % of the population using a particular
mass medium (newspapers). Usually caused by media fragmentation.
i. Erosion of magazines because of televisions in 1940s.
c. Targeting: a media organization wants to target a specific social segment as
its audience. For example, women, people of color.
d. Target segments: the desired segments that a media organization is trying to
reach. Could be large (in the millions) or only hundreds.