8 Elements of Mass Communication
Since mass communication is a type of communication, so the elements of communication will be the same as that of mass communication, i.e., source, encoding, message channels, decoding, receiver, noise, and feedback. But the elements of mass communication will be explained specially and distinctively in the context of mass.
The Following are the elements of mass communication given below:
The source is that which initiates the communication activities. For example, if the Prime Minister wishes to give a talk on Doordarshan, the people employed by Doordarshan will edit the messages and broadcast them in a suitable manner for the benefit of the public. In this case, the Prime Minister is the source as he has initiated the communication.
Encoding is a process in which the brain gives meaning by structuring a language or thought properly. For example, a news writer for a newspaper thinks variedly and then decides on an effective intro- writing. This processing or structruralizing of intro writing by the correspondent will be described as encoding and this particular encoding is a glaring example of encoding in a mass communication situation.
The message in mass communication includes news, views, reviews, interviews, previews, features, editorials, articles, etc. These messages are collected, evaluated, selected, edited, encoded, processed, produced, and then transmitted by a team of professional experts.
For example, in a newspaper, the entire desk people like News Editor, Chief Sub Editor, Senior Sub Editor, and the reporting staff who has filed the story, are integral parts of the message processing. Then production people take further care of it. So is the case in other media organizations. The message in mass communication should be very general and cater to a variety of heterogeneous and large audiences.
And it has to cater to the needs, interests, attitudes, and aptitudes of the individual members of the anonymous audience, keeping an eye on simplicity and commonality. In the present emerging scenario, the messages are generally featurised and a professional attempt is made to mix the messages with infotainment, edutainment, and infotainment.
The mass media channels are newspapers, magazines, news agencies, radio, film, television, the internet, etc. This relates to the Medium Theory by Marshall McLuhan which McLuhan has comprehensively explained in his pioneering book ‘Medium is the Message’. He means to say that medium or media or channels not only differ in their forms but also influence the impact of the media or channel.
Decoding is an activity, step, and process of receiving the message. This retention is done by a mass audience. It is really a complex process as mass, anonymous, heterogeneous, and geographically scattered audiences differ in their need, attitude, aptitude, level, intelligence, behavior, and understanding.
That is some of the audience strongly like a message; some just like it; some neither like it nor dislike it; some dislikes it while some strongly dislike it. As individual audience members differ from one another, so it is not equally liked or equally disliked but their degree or intensity differs from category to category of the audience.
Audiences vary from medium to medium and even within medium they vary from column to column and from program to program. For a commercial film, the audience may be large while for an art film, it may be smaller. Again for a newspaper, it may be larger.
But for a magazine or book, it may be smaller. Since the audience of mass communication is disorganized and shapeless as a whole, so each member in the audience has a separate and distinct character. Hence, they respond to a message differently.
They retain according to their perception, self-concept, or frame of reference. The audience of mass communication has also been divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary. The original audience of the medium is called the primary audience. But after discussion and discourse of people from the primary audiences, several secondary audiences and tertiary audiences are automatically created.
As discussed earlier also, the feedback in mass communication situations is always untimely and delayed as it is linear and one-way. Even in the era of instant and fast-paced communication, feedback in mass communication activities is indirect and rarely instantaneous.
For example, in Indian newspapers, we have several prominent feedback columns entitled letter to Editor, Grievances, SampadakkeNaamPatra, PatraApke, Pathaknama, ShikaveShikayat, AapkiAwaj, Janvani, Lokvani, Lokmanch, NajarApni-Apni, etc. Similarly, on radio and television also there are prominent feedback columns like ‘Aapaur Hum’ ‘MeriPasand’ ‘SawalJawab’ etc.
As we know, noise is a natural phenomenon in communication. It can be natural or inadvertent. It can be intentional. It can be at any point of communication, i.e., anywhere from source, message, channel to the receiver.
In the newsroom, when the team does not work properly, or there are some conflicts between the News Editor and Chief Sub Editor, then the front page or even the page make-up is disturbed creating a kind of psycho-technical noise. Sometimes a lot of language mistakes are there which creates linguistic noise.
Sometimes some news is filtered or censored because of proprietors’ or publishers’ pressure. All these create noise in newspaper situations. After the production of a film, the poster is sometimes burnt by some activist audience before the release of the film which creates noise in film activities.
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FAQ Related to Elements of Mass Communication
What are the elements of mass communication?
These are the elements of mass communication given below: