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Definition mass Media

Mass Media: “With sing. or pl. concord (usu. with the): the main means of mass communication, such as television, radio, and newspapers, considered collectively.”1

The first recorded usages of mass media as a term was in 1923, in Advertising & Selling. Here, mass media is loosely defined as “represent[ing] the most economical way of getting the story over the new and wider market in the least time.”1 The etymology of the concept is crucial in understanding “mass media” as it is composed of two, highly nuanced words. Media generally defined, is, “the main means of mass communication, esp. newspapers, radio and television regarded collectively; the reporters, journalists, etc., working for organizations engaged in such communication.”1 Mass can be defined as, “a large number of human beings, collected closely together or viewed as forming an aggregate in which their individuality is lost.” 1 Important to note is the social honus on “the masses, ” as a congregation, they are more than neutral “populace, the ordinary people, esp. as viewed in an economic or political context.”1

Yet Nickolas Luhmann elaborates on the concept, mass media are “those institutions which make use of copying technologies to disseminate communication.”2 Luhmann captures the “efficient” or “economical” aspect of mass media. Media are anything, “provided that they generate large quantities of products whose target groups are yet undetrermined.”2

Mass media itself, and the information it conveys, even in a mutlimedia setting, must be widely acessible. Peters identifies three key dimentions that transition a medium to a form of mass media, “address, avaibility and access.” 4 Futhermore, “mass media do not traffic only in mass address: they may destine messages to all, some, few or no one in particular.” 4

Mass media in enduring essence, throughout the evolution of mediums is, “openly addressed content, expanded delivery in terms of durability in time and/or transportability over space, and the suspention of interaction among authors and audiences.” 4 While McLuahn cites Gutenberg’s invention of the printing-press in 1456 as the “big bang” of sorts in communication and culture, theorists such as Peters cite “all communication” as “mass commication.” 5, 4 In this conception mass media has been extent since the invention of writing circa 5000 B.C.E. and grew with the invention of the alphabet circa 2000 B.C.E. 6 As Luhmann implied in his more general definition of mass media, the ability to mechanically reproduce information is essential to creating a cultural mass media. 2Mass commincation, and thus the general trend of mass media has been one of increasing efficiency, accesability and reach.

Interesting facts
  • A media conglomerate, media group or media institution is a company that owns large numbers of companies in various mass media such as television, radio, publishing, movies, and the Internet. Media conglomerates strive for policies that facilitate their control of the markets across the globe.
    According to the 2011 Fortune 500 list, The Walt...
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