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4 Mass Communication
The term Mass refers to a great/large volume, range and extent of
people and production and reception of messages.
Communication refers to the exchange of thoughts and ideas
between two people or groups of people.
Therefore, mass communication is a communication with a large
sized, heterogeneous and anonymous audience.
It is technologically and institutionally based mass production and
distribution of symbols, images, messages or information to a
heterogeneous, geographically scattered audience.
The most indirect and impersonal type of communication.
Requires some kind of mechanical devices to transmit messages
such as television, radio, films, recordings or magazines and

Characteristics of mass communication

It is communication to a large groups of people that remain most often
unknown to the sender of the message.
Usually a one way communication to a large and heterogeneous groups
of people.
Has anonymous audience.
There is little or no feedback on the information that had been given to
the audience.
There is a separate contexts between the production and reception of
the information.
Comprises both technical and institutional method of production and
It has access to those audience who are far removed in time and space.
Products are mass produced and disseminated to a great quantity of

Differences between Public

Communication and Mass Communication
According to Franklin et al., modern mass communication is
from public communication.
We can differentiate them in the following ways.
The communicators in mass communication do not know
the nature of the audience but there is objective
knowledge of audience in public communication.
In mass communication, the audience is heterogeneous
but not in public communication.
In mass communication, the audience is separate from the
producer but this situation does not exist in public

1.4.2 Distinctions
Between Mass
Communication and
Personal Communication

S.N Mass Communication

Personal Communication


Professional communicators employed. They are Communicators are not professionally

professionally trained to collect, write, edit and
transmit the message


The audiences are simply unknown to the

source and each other.

The audiences are known to each other



Message is public

Message is private and simply informal


Both print and electronic media are widely used. Not widely used because communication
can be face-to-face.


The source and the audience are related in

formal relation

The relation between the source and

audience is personal


Feedback is most often delayed

Feedback is immediate


The message is formally controlled by the

responsible person

The message is not formally controlled.


The message is transmitted to the

geographically scattered and heterogeneous
audience at the same time.

The message is transmitted to the

particular audience once.


The flow of the message us unidirectional

The flow of the message is bi-directional


There is absence of an immediate interaction

between the source and audience.

Participants interact immediately.


Multiple originators such as reporters are


The originator of the message is single


The physical proximity between the source

and the receiver is relatively heterogeneous
and wider.

The participants are relatively very

close to each other.