Is mass communication the study of communicating with the masses? Well, yes. But there’s more to it than that. Mass communication is about storytelling with strategy and purpose. The study of mass communication is centered around how messages persuade and affect the behavior and opinion of the person or people receiving the content.
Mass communication has become a vital and seamless part of everyday human life. Today’s society is dependent on mass communication —from morning television news to social media feeds and blog posts; from personalized advertising messages to branded content sponsored by a specific company. Messages sent by mass communicators help inform the public and often help set agendas and public opinion. Mass communicators help people develop an understanding of social problems and make informed decisions. The general public is dependent on mass communication for information about goods and services available for purchase or use.
Trained mass communicators know the best way for their messages to reach the most people or the people most interested in the messages. Through journalism, mass communicators use newspapers, television, radio, magazines, blogs, websites, mobile apps and social media to reach their publics. Through strategic communication, public relations or advertising practitioners craft strategic messages about a product, brand, company or service. With the diversification and evolution of mass communication, the field has expanded to a wide variety of social media and digital applications.
The use of effective mass communication channels is becoming even more important in today’s fast-paced and global environment. The study and implications of mass communication, as well as the understanding of effective, ethical and diverse messaging, has never been more important.
At the University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication, students gain the knowledge needed to become effective, informed, strategic and ethical mass communicators — regardless of the medium.