What Is Mass Communications?

Mass Communication meaning

Public communications and mass communications are similar fields. Both fields explore practices and trends of effective communication to large group audiences. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there are differences between public communications and mass communications and between the degree programs that correspond with each of these fields.

Public Communications: Definition

Public communications denotes communications between persons as equals. It is the receipt and exchange of messages, ideas and opinions. Means of public communications evolved over time with the development of technology and mediums of communications. Likewise, public opinions, policies and ideas evolved as society's attitudes and opinions changed. However, the exchange or transaction of ideas remains constant. People respond and react within public groups, thereby contributing to and shaping public discourse.

Mass Communications: Definition

Mass communications is the broadcast of an unanswerable voice to a large audience. In contrast to public communications, mass communications does not involve an exchange of ideas, but is, rather, the delivery and receipt of a mass message or messages. The inhabitants of a mass society may dissent or disagree with the mass message transmitted, but there is still uniformity and universality of the message.

Public Communications Degree

Public communications degree programs, like mass communications programs, focus on media institutions and the processes by which such institutions diffuse information to influence and persuade public opinion. Students in public communications programs also study the public's role in the communicative process. Students explore how individuals within a society contribute to social discourses and how they interact within such discourses. Public communications degree programs study communications as an interactive system, which is marked by the exchange - rather than simply the delivery - of messages and ideas.

Interesting facts
  • Communication studies is an academic field that deals with processes of human communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols to create meaning. The discipline encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face conversation to mass media outlets such as television broadcasting. Communication studies also examines how messages are...
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