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Theories of Mass Communication Chapter One Introduction to Mass Communication Theory The following themes will be discussed:

Introduction. The Concept of Mass Communication. The Role of Theory. Changes in Mass Communication Theory.

* Introduction: The changes taking place in the media environment are numerous and rapid. Only few years ago, most people had never heard of multimedia or the internet. Nowadays, we seem to be moving rapidly into a new user-active, multimedia communication environment One characteristic of the new media environment is the recognition that all information is the same digital. * The Concept of Mass Communication: One of the changes the new technologies are bringing about is mass communication definition. Mass communication can be defined by three characteristics: 1-It is directed toward relatively large and anonymous audience. 2- Messages are transmitted publicly and are often reach different audience in various places at the same time. 3- The communicator tends to be operated within complex organizations. By Internet newspaper and mailing lists, radio talk show that invite calls

from listener, the World Wide Web, Cable TVetc., we are shifting from one-way to interactive communication. * The Role of Theory: Theories are general statements that summarize our understanding of the way the world works. One can summaries roles of mass communication in two things: * The role of theory is to formulate statements or propositions that will have some explanatory power. * Communication theories is aimed at improving our understanding of the process of mass communication. * With better understanding, we are in a better position to predict and control the outcomes of mass communication effort. * Forms of mass communication theoretical statements: Mass Communication theoretical statements can take various forms: 1- An if-then statement, for example: " If a young person watches great deal of violent television, then he or she will commit aggressive acts. 2- An is more likely to statement, For example. "A person who watches violent television is more likely to behave aggressively than person who watches nonviolent television. 3- The greater the X, the greater the Y statement. For example." The greater the violent television viewing, the greater the aggressive behavior. 4- Statements using phrase like leads to. For example: "watching violent television leads to more aggressive behavior than watching nonviolent television.

* The Goals of mass communication theories: 1- To explain the effect of mass communication. (intended or unintended). 2- To explain the uses to which people put mass communication. 3- To explain learning from mass media 4- To explain the role of the mass media in shaping people's values and views. * The Effects of mass communication: There three possible effects of mass communication as developed by Lavidge and Steiner model. The model presents six steps, each of which must be accomplished before the one above it can be attempted. The effects are: Cognitive: It deals with our knowledge of things The realm of Thoughts ( reporter). Affective: It deals with our attitude towards things The realm of emotions (ads). Conative: It is concerned by our behavior towards things. The realm of motives. (vote). Related dimensions Conative The realm of motives Message stimulate desires Movement toward Action Purchase-Vote Conviction Preference Liking Knowledge Awareness

Affective The realm of emotions Message change attitude and feelings Cognitive The realm of thoughts Message provide information and facts

Stair-Step Model of Communication (Lavidge& Stenier)

* Changes in Mass Communication Theory. Mass communication theory is changing to keep up with the changes in the media. These changes are: 1- There is greater emphasis on uses of mass Communication than there used to be. 2- There is a shift to cognitive science or information-processing approaches. This involves at least three aspects: * A shift in independent variables from the variables of persuasion (e.g., source credibility) to concepts such as discourse (e.g., the nature of language used ) and framing (e.g., how an event is packaged and presented in the media). * A change in dependent variables from attitudes (e.g., pro and con evaluations of an object) to cognitions (e.g., knowledge or beliefs about an object). * A shift in emphasis from change as a result of communication (e.g., changes in attitude or behavior) To restructuring (e.g., social construction of reality)