Mass Communication: Principles and Practices

Mass Communication: Principles and Practices

Mass Communication: Principles and Practices

Mass Communication: Principles and Practices

Excerpt

Never before the history of Homo sapiens has one person been able to communicate to so many. Daniel Webster, famed for his ceremonial orations to thousands, and an audience of perhaps 20,000 at the dedication of the Bunker Hill Monument. Billy Graham, a leading evangelist, addressed over 60,000 in the Los Angeles Coliseum. On December 8, 1941, 60 million people listened on the radio to President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking Congress for a declaration of war. By contrast, over 100 million persons heard and saw President Richard M. Nixon resign. Thus we have seen a multiplication not only of listeners but also of viewers. Technology has given communicators vast audiences never dreamed of by the Demosthenes or by Chaka, the eloquent Zulu chieftain.

The twentieth century more than any other is the age of human communication. We are not quite sure what to do with the abundance of information or how to make good use of the speed with which it can be transmitted. Yet we seek more information and demand it with even greater speed, and we want to have the transmitting instruments at our own disposal. We are living in an age of senders as well as mere receivers.

What we have discovered in our rush to enter the information age is that our technology has brought us a greater accuracy in transmission. We can hope to be able to get along better with our neighbors, perhaps better communicate interculturally because what we say can be transmitted with fidelity. The media bring visual and vocal symbols into the homes of people who have difficulty reading books and newspapers, thus greatly enlarging the numbers who receive the message. Seeing and hearing allow more sensory . . .

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