8 Mass Communication Theories and Why They Matter

Mass Communication Theory

Why do mass communication theories matter?

Theories of mass communication are important because they shed light on how people use, interact with, and distribute media. These theories offer a framework for comprehending the impact that the messages in media may have on audiences. For professionals working in related fields like journalism, marketing, or broadcasting, mass communication theories may be applicable.

8 mass communication theories

There are many significant communication theories, but those that emphasize mass communication in particular might be useful to you professionally. Eight theories of mass communication are listed below.

1. Agenda setting theory

According to the theory of agenda setting, news organizations, such as media outlets, work to develop a public news agenda. These news organizations have the power to affect how much the public cares about a specific event, issue, or story through the development and dissemination of these agendas. According to agenda setting theory, news organizations have an impact on how the public perceives the news, prioritizes stories, and reacts to the media.

For example, imagine that a large-scale political event takes place. When the media covers this event, they might present it from a specific angle. Furthermore, editors may choose to place the story on the front page, which could give the audience the impression that it is extremely important. These different options demonstrate how the media can determine the news agenda.

2. Aristotles communication model

In the year 300 B.C., Aristotle created an early type of mass communication. C. relating to public speaking in particular and the part that the audience plays in these circumstances Over time, this theory has had a significant impact on numerous other communication theories. The model focuses on the following five main elements:

3. Entertainment education

A mass communication strategy called entertainment education involves the conception and production of specific media. It specifically refers to programs made with the intention of educating and entertaining the audience. This approach claims that the entertaining elements of media can keep viewers’ attention long enough to introduce educational ideas. This method has been widely employed to develop engaging educational messaging The theory contends that entertainment education can influence social behavior, change social structures, and inspire change. This is accomplished by modifying the audiences’ attitudes and, eventually, their actions.

For instance, if a group wants to increase public awareness of a social issue, they might develop a television program that combines entertainment and education. The viewers of this program may find the information entertaining while also learning about the problem. This can aid the original group’s efforts to raise awareness of their situation.

4. Gatekeeping theory

Gatekeeping theory is a facet of agenda setting theory. It claims that only one person, the gatekeeper, has the authority to determine which data or messages can pass through the allegoric “gate.” In essence, the gatekeeper makes decisions about what messages to convey to the audience.

For instance, in the news media, an editor may serve as the gatekeeper when they put together the front page for the following day’s paper. The editor is in charge of selecting which stories to publish on the front page and which to hold back. This illustrates the connection between agenda setting and gatekeeping because one person or group can affect the messages that are conveyed to the audience.

5. Limited effects theory

According to the limited effects theory, there are certain types of effects that media can have on people. In essence, the theory contends that, despite the fact that a person might feel affected by the news or other media, the influence is probably very slight. Instead, the limited effects theory places the onus on the audience, contending that each person has the power to decide which media they choose to consume and which they do not.

The media can serve as a source of reinforcement for a person, according to this theory. This indicates that a person is more likely to select news sources that support the ideas and beliefs they already hold. According to the limited effects theory, these decisions show how the media itself has less of an impact than the individuals’ decisions.

6. Media dependency theory

According to the media dependency theory, there is a connection between the media, the audience, and larger social systems. It asserts that the three participants depend on one another for information and to accomplish their objectives. According to the media dependency theory, audiences’ needs for understanding, information, or entertainment are among the causes of dependence. Other factors that may influence dependence include:

7. Media richness theory

According to the media richness theory, necessary information is accessible through a variety of media sources with varying degrees of richness. According to the theory, equivocality and certainty are two indicators of how comprehensive the media’s response should be. For instance, the media must be well-versed in information, specifics, or statistics if there are several questions about the nature of an event. Additionally, the media must ask a lot of questions about an event that has multiple interpretations in order to get to the bottom of the matter.

Based on the following criteria, researchers may categorize some media as richer than others:

8. Mood management theory

According to the mass communication theory of mood management, a person’s mood is related to the messages and information they take in. It asserts that someone can interact with a specific kind of media in an effort to improve their mood. For instance, someone who had a difficult day might decide to watch a comedy film in an effort to improve their disposition or mood generally.


What are theories in mass communication?

A mass communication theory is a body of assertions that formally describes relationships between concepts that are measurably by variables referring to the traits or conditions of entities involved in the mass communication process (people, groups, institutions, units of content, etc.).

What are the five theories of mass communication?

Let’s examine the following five basic theories of mass communication: (1) the magic bullet theory, (2) the two-step flow theory, (3) the multi-step flow theory, (4) the uses and gratification theory, and (5) the cultivation theory.

What are the four theories of communication?

The Authoritarian Theory, the Libertarian Theory, the Soviet-Communist Theory, and the Social-Responsibility Theory are the four theories.

What are the 3 theories of communication?

These prominent theories are as follows:
  • (a) Classical Theory of Communication:
  • (b) Human Relations Theory of Communication:
  • (c) Open System Theory of Communication:

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