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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Notes: Mass Media: A Critical Approach

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MMC 2604
Mariam Alkazemi

MMC2604 8/26/13 Chapter 1  Culture and the Evolution of Mass Communication o Culture can be viewed more broadly as the ways in which people live and represent themselves at particular historical times o Culture encompasses society’s modes of communication: the creation and use of symbol systems that convey information and meaning o Culture may be defined as the symbols of expression that individuals, groups, and societies use to make sense of daily life and to articulate their values o Culture is a process that delivers the values of a society through products or other meaning-making forms o The mass media are the cultural industries—the channels of communication—that produce and distribute songs, novels, TV shows, newspapers, movies, video games, internet services, and other cultural products to large numbers of people o Convergence: overlapping phases or eras in which newer forms of technology disrupted and modified older forms  The eras:  Oral  Written  Print  Electronic  Digital o Mass communication: the process of designing cultural messages and stories and delivering them to large and diverse audiences through media channels  Oral and Written Eras in Communication o Oral tradition faded after the emergence of alphabets and the written word o Oral v. Written communication debate in ancient Greece  Does the written word cheapen public discussion and discourage face-to-face communication?  The Print Revolution o Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable metallic type and the printing press o Books eventually became the first mass-marketed products in history o The printing press combined three elements necessary for mass- market innovation  Machine duplication replaced the tedious system in which scribes hand-copied texts  Duplication could occur rapidly, so large quantities of the same book could be reproduced easily  The faster production of multiple copies brought down the cost of each unit, which made books more affordable  The Electronic and Digital Eras o The Electronic Era  Began with the invention of the telegraph in the 1840s  The telegraph made 4 key contributions to communication  It separated communication from transportation  Transformed information into a commodity, something that could be bought or sold  Made it easier for military, business, and political leaders to coordinate commercial and military operations  Led to future technological developments o The Digital Era  In digital communication, images, texts, and sounds are converted into electronic signals that are then reassembled as a precise reproduction of a TV picture, a magazine article, or a song.  Bloggers: people who post commentary on personal and political-opinion based websites  Social media: digital applications that allow people from all over the world to have ongoing online conversations, share stories and interests, and generate their own media content  Media Convergence in the Digital Era o Media convergence: a term media critics and analysts use when describing all the changes currently occurring in media content and within media companies  Actually has two different meanings:  The technological merging of content across different media channels  A business model that involves consolidating various media holdings under one corporate umbrella (sometimes called cross platform)  Mass Media and the Process of Communication o The Evolution of a New Mass Medium  The development of most mass media is initiated by social, cultural, political, and econo
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