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Defining terms

“Mass communication”

According to Berger, A. A. (1995), mass communication involves the use of print or electronic media , such as newspapers, magazines, film, radio or television to communicate to large numbers of people who are located in various place. The people reached may be in groups of varying sizes may be alone individuals. A number of different elements make up mass communication media images, spoken language, printed language, sound effects, music, color, lighting and variety of other techniques are used to communicate messages and obtain particular effects.



 Models provide a simplified view of something to be studied. We choose those elements of interest and use the model to help us frame questions and predictions. The element we include and the relationship between them that we represent will by necessity dictate the domain of inquiry. What we don’t see we cannot study.


A) Lasswell mass communication model

The Lasswell communication model was created by sociologist Harold Lasswell on 1948. He was most interested in mass communication and propaganda. His model is linear and includes five components that are accompanied by questions: Who says what in which channel to whom with what effect.


Lasswell’s model


Source: Berger, A. A. (1995). Essentials of mass communication theory. London: Sage publications.


In order to understand this model, one must consider the background of the communicator and their intent. In the context of mass communication and propaganda, this is called control analysis. The second component is the actual message. The vehicle which the message is sent is called the channel. When deciding which medium to use, the composer should contemplate what medium would meet their target audience best. The message travels though the medium to the receiver. The last step in this model is the effect that the message creates. This effect is measured through feedback. We communicate achieve something so feedback, both positive and negative, gives insight on to what is successful, and what needs improvement.


B) Gerbner’s model of mass communication

George Gerbner has developed a model somewhat like Lasswell’s model. The model also emphasizes the dynamic nature of mass communication.


Gerbner’s model

Source: Berger, A. A. (1995). Essentials of mass communication theory. London: Sage publications.


Berger, A. A. (1995), says that Gerbner also developed some complicated diagrams to show his model in operation. He expands upon the Lasswell formula, focusing attention on perception and reaction by the perceiver and the consequences of the communication.


C) The Osgood-Schramm Circular Model

 Osgood-Schramm Circular Model, focuses attention on the individual involved in the communication process.


Osgood-Schramm Circular Model



In this model, we see that message senders also are message receivers. Encoding here is understood to mean putting information into a form that can be understood and sending a message; decoding refers to receiving the encoded message interpreting it.




 Berger, A. A. (1995). Essentials of mass communication theory. London: Sage publications.