Dictionary of Mass Communication & Media Research

By Stein, Andi | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

Dictionary of Mass Communication & Media Research


Stein, Andi, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


Dictionary of Mass Communication & Media Research. David Demers. Spokane, WA: Marquette Books, 2005. 358 pp. $59.95 hbk. $39.95 pbk.

Webster's Dictionary defines the word "dictionary" as: "A reference book listing alphabetically terms or names important to a particular subject or activity along with discussion of their meanings and applications." While traditional dictionaries are focused on enlightening the general public about the meanings of a wide variety of words, more specialized dictionaries are designed to provide users with an explanation of terms and phrases that pertain to a particular area of study or research.

Enter the Dictionary of Mass Communication & Media Research. This comprehensive volume is a collection of words and phrases related to the communications field, touching upon everything from "absolutism" to "zoom lens" and encompassing terms in between that relate to mass media history, law, theory, ethics, professional practice, etc. The book was compiled by David Deniers, associate professor of communication at Washington State University and author or editor of eleven other books including An Interpretive Introduction to Mass Communication, Global Media: Menace or Messiah?, and The Menace of the Corporate Newspaper: Fact or Fiction?

In the book's preface, Demers explains his reasons for creating such a specialized dictionary, noting, "My goal in writing this dictionary...was not to compose the definitive dictionary on mass communication. I do not think that can be done, nor do I expect readers to agree with all of the definitions I've provided herein. Instead, my primary goal was to write a dictionary that would stimulate new ideas and theories about mass communication processes and effects-something other social science dictionaries and encyclopedias have been doing for me for many years."

While the author makes no pretense of trying to cover it all, his book is certainly inclusive, as Demers has made an attempt to address many different aspects of the mass media field. For example, from a media history/biography perspective, while the dictionary contains brief biographical sketches of notables of the field such as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, it also includes entries on more recent contributors to the profession such as filmmaker Michael Moore and Tim Berners-Lee, Internet pioneer.

Capsule descriptions of well-known communications theories such as agenda setting, framing, and knowledge gap are included, along with mini-biographies of some noted theorists such as Jurgen Habermas and Noam Chomsky. …

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