Theories of Mass Communication and Media Research

Ms. Amrita Chakraborty: Assistant Professor

HOD - Applied Communication and Market Research RKU

The word communication owes it origin to the Latin noun ‘Communis’, which means to share or impart. Communication deals with the sharing of information or feelings. Thus, communication could be broadly categorized into Verbal Communication, Non-Verbal Communication and Written Communication.
The process of communication could be categorized into various types – Intrapersonal Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Mass Communication, Group Communication and Mass-Line Communication. Intrapersonal communication is a communicator’s personal communication with oneself. Here the communicator himself is the speaker and the receiver and thus the feedback process happens within the communicator’s mind. Interpersonal Communication is a type of communication which takes place between two or more people. It leads to the exchange of information through verbal or non-verbal communication. Mass Communication is a process of communicating to a large number of masses with the help of Mass Media. The essential element of Mass-Line Communication is consulting the masses, interpreting their suggestions within the framework of any political ideology, and then enforcing the resulting policies.
The process of communication has undergone various stages of development, such as oral communication, written communication, mass media (Radio, Television) and digital communication with the introduction of internet. The technology helped in transferring the information through internet with the fiber-optic cable, which finally got termed as Information Superhighway.
The concept of communication has been explained by various scholars with the development of various models of communication. The basic concept of communication deals with encoding and decoding. In simple terms, when a speaker speaks, the speaker encodes the speech and passes it to the listener or receiver. The receiver receives the package of information and decodes the message to understand. Therefore, we can say that communication is a two-way process. Some of the well-known models of communication are Aristotle Model, SMCRE Model, Lasswell Model, Osgood Model, Shannon and Weaver’s Mathematical Model and the likes.
 The Theories of Mass Communication has come up with various scopes of communication research. When we get exposed to a media, some of the questions which may come to our mind may lead to some questions such as “Why are all the national news channels covering the same story?” ‘Why are certain religious festivals getting projected in various serials or soap operas across different channels?”, “Why are we regularly getting updates on the personal lives of movie stars across various media?”, “What is the gratification that a person achieves after watching a family drama film?” The answer to all these questions could be answered with the help of media research.
While discussing more on mass communication, let us throw some light on its broad wings. Print media is the primary and the most ancient form of mass media, where the receiver (or the reader) receives information from the sender in printed form on paper. Electronic media started developing with the advent of telegraph in the 1840s followed by the development of Radio, Films and Television. The definition of Advertising by American Marketing Association says, “Advertising is the paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor". In the present world, advertising is a very important concept for the development of a business, as it helps in creating awareness about the product or services among the customers. Public Relations, on the other hand, deals with a strategic communication process in order to develop mutual understanding between the organization and its public. Therefore, most of the organizations have a Public Relations department in order to develop goodwill among its internal and external public. 
It is important to note that the applied research in the field of communication also deals with the research across all the four areas of mass media. Such a research could be further categorized across various streams, such as development of the media or understanding its audience. Being the consumer of a media, we could witness its gradual development across various wings. Thus, we can say that Applied Research in the field of Mass Communication not only deals with understanding the requirements of various media, but also identifying the areas for the growth and development of its business.

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Assistant Professor – A seasoned professional in the field of Research, Training and Counselling; Amrita has worked as a Senior Market Research Analyst at Deloitte. She has also worked for other prestigious organizations like PDPU Gandhinagar, NIIT and IMS. She did her M.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from Tripura Central University and PGDBA in Marketing from SCDL, Pune.

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