By Puteri Nuraqidah
Have you always had the knack of speaking in public? Are you interested in how the media influences our realities? Do you love writing stories and connecting with people? Then it looks like you have a passion for being a Mass Communication practitioner without even realizing it.
Some say that going down the Mass Communication field is the easy way out for a lazy student to go college, but that could not be further from the truth. Mass Communication world has always been misunderstood by the public, as the assumption is the mere fact that the student who is studying Mass Communication chose this major because they wanted to become famous on the big screens, the extroverts and love to socialize, they would be lazy and relatively less smart and the assignments are easy. But I beg to differ, being a Mass Communication student, is more than meets the eye.
A Mass Communication practitioner is the backbone, the muscle and the brain of a production house creating entertainments for TV, radio, movie theatres, reality shows, soap operas and so many more.
Broadcasting students work behind the scenes to shoot videos and edit the footage to produce a film or a clip that involves technical skills and requires an eye for detail. They learn how to cater their speech towards all classes of the society, from the elite to the working class and knows what is in and what is out. With that being said, reading and writing makes the world go round for them. It shapes how they want their audience see the world through their eyes. These practitioner study so many theories and social sciences to predict their audience beforehand and score.
So here are four theories that every Mass Communication Practitioner must know and you might just be interested in it;
- Magic Bullet Theory or The Hypodermic Needle Theory
This theory was initially developed in the 1920s and 1930s, it is basically based on the audience and its relationship with the media. This theory shows that there is so much power with the media it is almost addictive, injecting the audience with what the media want them to believe and the audience will be passively accepting it in their subconscious realm. This theory was originally looking at the propaganda and the audience who are consuming it particularly during the Second World War, where propaganda images were scattered around the society and whether the people were believing and reacting towards the propaganda or not. Nowadays, this theory can be seen in advertisements, where an advertisement can persuade the audience to purchase or hire the service without knowing they want it in the first place. It changes your mind just because the media is telling you to do so and that power is immensely effective.
- Uses and Gratification Theory
Why do we watch the videos on YouTube? What do we read online? Why do we choose certain media? To some benefit or just merely to kill time? To get information? To learn something new in tutorial videos?
There is a theory known as uses and gratifications theory, which is an approach to understanding why and how people actively seek out specific media to satisfy specific needs. This theory is an audience-centred approach to understanding mass communication. Uses and gratification theory builds off of a history of communication theories and research. Jay Bulmer and Denis Mc Quail laid the primary groundwork of this research in 1969 with their categorization of audience motivations for watching political programs during the time of the 1964 election in the United Kingdom.
- Cultivation Theory
This theory was created by George Gerbner, it is a view that the audience and the media are equals, not quite but it is there. The media is reinforcing what the audience already believes, it is not telling the audience what to think and how to think when at the same time it is reaffirming what the audience perceives as truth. In fact, the audience goes out to seek media just to reinforce their idea. What starts to happen is that those who are consuming a lot of the media are going to see a distorted view of reality that is quite far from the truth. Nevertheless, the more the media is consumed, the more the audience will be affected by it and as a result the more succumbed the audience would become to its impact.
- Spiral of Silence Theory
Have you ever thought why you hide your opinions? Knowing you are part of a minority group? It is because it exists. This is the Spiral of Silence theory, founded by Elizabeth Noelle Newman. Spiral of silence is the term meant to refer to the tendency of people to remain silent when they feel that their views are in opposition to the majority view on a subject. The theory claims that the people remain silent for a few reasons; first it is the fear of isolation when the group or public realizes that the individual has a divergent opinion from the status quo and fear of reprisal or more extreme isolation, in the sense that voicing said opinion might lead to a negative consequence beyond that of mere isolation. The spiral effect is experienced insomuch as this activates a downward spiral where fears continually builds within the minority opinion holder, hence the minority opinion is never voiced. Since it’s appearing on this blog you could assume that the theory posits that the mass media has an effect on this process, if you’re assuming that… then congratulations! You’re right on. The media plays an important role in this process, especially in dictating and perpetuating the dictated opinion of the majority.
Mass Communication has so many theories to learn from, and these theories help us understand why the audience and the media view an image for the way it is and so much more. Interested in learning more Mass Communication Theories? Come and enroll in our Communication Department from the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies in City University today! Remember that your influence on the world of tomorrow begins with your decision today!