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masscomm - SP108 The Functions of Mass...

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SP108 – The Functions of Mass Communication* *Adapted from Functions of Mass Communication , Instructional Video, Maumee, Ohio. 1989 What is mass communication? It includes books, radio, magazines, newspapers, TV, movies, the net, cd’s, tapes, exhibitions and exhibits, conferences,…in short, anything designed for a mass audience. As a small experiment, add up what you have spent on mass communication in the last month. How much of a role does mass communication play in our lives? What are its functions? 1. Surveillance . This is the ‘watchdog’ function of the media. Think Watergate, Monica Lewinsky, Sixty Minutes, the 2000 election coverage, video of recent events in Tehran. Can you think of another example? 2. Correlation . This is the ‘framing’ function of the media; that is, the selection and interpretation of information . The media decide which stories are noteworthy and how they fit together. What do they mean? How do they relate to the larger context? One example: With the election situation in 2000, the media gave us interpretations of each development, as well as the history of similar situations and how this particular election was similar or different. Recent coverage of the economic crisis
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