Module 2: The Evolution and Impact of Mass Communication

Getting Started
  1. Review the module introduction and outcomes to help you gain an understanding of the main topics and expectations.
  2. Work through each lesson in this module and complete the Check Your Knowledge activity.  You can take notes on each lesson by clicking on the “take notes” tab on the bottom right of your screen. You can take notes for each lesson and they will appear on your dashboard. Make sure you save your notes before continuing to another lesson or quiz.
  3. Complete the Module Quiz (located at the bottom of this page) with a minimum score of 80% once all lessons are finished in full.

Note: If you would like to learn more about this module’s topics, click the Module Toolbox or Module Glossary for additional and supplementary resources.

This module focuses on mass communication. Mass communication is a broad topic, so this module will break it down into different parts to make it more understandable. You’ll begin by learning about mass communication in a general sense: what it is, how it’s changing, and how it impacts daily life. Then, you will dive into the realm of traditional media and learn about print news, television, and radio. From there, you will learn about public relations: how it is used, how it is different from advertising, and how to do it well. After PR, you will continue to learn about advertising and marketing: the difference between the two, how to do them well, and what ethical issues to be mindful of. Finally, you will learn about the ethics of mass media in a general sense: how you reach a targeted audience, and what ethical obligations you have toward that targeted audience.

After completing this Module, you should be able to:

  • Define mass communication, explain the uses of mass communication, explain the benefits of mass communication, and identify the harms of mass communication.
  • Define traditional media, explain the evolution of traditional media, explain the ethical obligations of traditional media, and explore arguments against traditional media.
  • Define public relations; contrast public relations and marketing; define ‘the public’; examine public relations best practices; and explain ethical obligations in public relations.
  • Define marketing; contrast marketing and advertising; explain ethical obligations in marketing; and Identify advertising target audience.
  • Identify target audience of mass communication; understand how a mass communicator reaches their target audience; clarify ethical obligations of mass communicators toward their audience; and clarify ethical obligations of mass communicators toward those outside of their audience.

Lesson 1 –What is Mass Communication?

AJAX progress indicator
  • mass communication
    the large-scale sending of a message, often through media or technology, to a large number of receivers
  • media
    the channel that is used to share a message; the plural form of medium
  • mediated medium
    any channel that is assisted by technology to share a message
  • mobilization
    organizing large groups of people during times of crisis or need
  • sensationalization
    putting forward the most captivating information to try to excite receivers

Lesson 2 –Traditional Media

AJAX progress indicator
  • convergent media
    the intersection of traditional and digital media
  • digital media
    any form of media that can be created and displayed on a digital device
  • retraction
    drawing something back in, in the context of media, because of a printing error — a typo or wrong information — then reprinting once it has been corrected
  • the Fourth Estate
    a synonym for the media, the Fourth Estate is an entity that has large social influence on political events but is not part of the government directly itself
  • traditional media
    any form of mass communication that is not a digital media, including things such as newspapers and magazines, television, radio, and books

Lesson 3 –Public Relations

AJAX progress indicator
  • crisis
    any large issue that could do serious or irreparable damage to a brand and its image
  • crisis communication
    a brand’s attempt to communicate to its public about a problem it is facing
  • public
    those that are aware of, affected by, and/or influenced by the specific act or campaign
  • public relations

Lesson 4 –Marketing and Advertising

AJAX progress indicator
  • marketing
    the term used to define the umbrella over every effort that a business or organization takes to be successful.
  • place
    where the product is sold.
  • price
    how expensive the product is.
  • product
    the thing that you’re selling.
  • promotion
    the specific marketing campaign you engage in to sell a product.

Lesson 5 –Ethics and Mass Communication

AJAX progress indicator
  • brand
    social media, the specific kind of content and persona that a profile uses to reach their target audience
  • conscientious
    wanting to take actions that will help your audience without causing harm to others
  • diversity
    large amounts of differing ideas, content, and producers from different backgrounds create content without discrimination
  • mindful
    being aware of the impacts of your words
  • social media
    a kind of mass communication that allows for people to create profiles and share information between profiles as a means to network on the Internet