Mass Communication – Development – Media – Its characteristics

Mass communication is a form of communication that utilizes printed, electronic and online media channels, these media are very useful in the communication process between the communicator and the communicant. Learning about mass communication is endless because we ourselves have also applied it directly in our own lives. Many studies are discussed in mass communication, as a branch of communication studies, mass communication is one of the most frequently discussed because of its very important role in this modern era. 

In everyday life, humans need a medium to exchange information. This method is known as communication. Through communication, a person can deliver a news, exchange information, submit an idea or ideas, or socialize with others. Communication can occur between one person with another person, communication between two or more people, someone to an organization or community, even communication directed directly to the wider community. The types of communication are very diverse. Communication is not only done face to face, but now it can be done through digital media or online. Communication can be done through intermediaries of words and sentences, symbols, signs, and behavior.



Mass communication ( mass communication ) can also be referred to as a mass media communication ( mass media communication ). Therefore, mass communication clearly means a way of communicating or delivering information through mass media ( communicating with media ). The hallmark of mass communication is the type of communication addressed to the public or the wider community through mass media intermediaries. If you hear the word mass, then you can interpret it in terms of the plural, massive, and in very large quantities. The most common definition of mass communication is the same way of delivering messages, to a large number of people, and at the same time through mass media. Mass communication can be done through all existing mass media, namely print media, electronic media, and online media. There are no media restrictions in the use of mass communication.

Development of Mass Communication

As with Communication Studies, the development of Mass Communication follows the development of human life. As we know that communication and human life are two sides of a coin which are contiguous and inseparable. Therefore, its development follows human development.

  • Kingdom of Egypt in 1705-1367

It was during the time of Emperor Amenhotep III that for the first time mass communication was used. At that time Emperor Amenhotep III sent hundreds of reporters to send news to all officials throughout Egypt. The incident was considered as the embryo of journalism. (Also read:  Communication Barriers )

  • 1609 First Newspaper

The development of mass communication continues at the next stage along with the human need for mass information. In this period for the first time a German newspaper, Avisa Relation Order Zeitung, was published. The magazine’s publication serves to meet the information needs of the community on a regular basis every week. This period became an important milestone in the development of the study of mass communication. (Also read:  Indonesian Communication System )

  • 1702, Birth of a Daily Newspaper

1702 became an important note in the development of mass communication. This period was born the legendary daily in London England Daily Courant  who routinely proclaim information in English every day.

Also read: principles of communication

  • Mass Communication in the Modern Era

After the success of the Daily Courant in England, the development of mass communication was unstoppable and spread throughout the country. Newspapers became a very successful mass media. Even its growth is growing very rapidly where now not only newspapers, but various modern mass media are emerging. After the era of print media in the form of newspapers, radio became the next belle with a wider and easier reach. The next era of mass communication is the digital era.

Also read:  Cross Cultural Communication

The digital age is marked by the birth of television that is able to provide information through visual shows. After the advent of television, now its development is much more rapid with the birth of the internet. The existence of the internet allows one to obtain various information from various parts of the world very easily and openly. (Also Read:  Political Communication  )

Mass Communication Media

  • Print media

Print media is the first type of mass communication media and it still exists until now. Generally we know two types of print media, namely newspapers or newspapers and magazines. Newspapers are media that have a main function, namely:

  1. Inform the reader objectively about what happens to a community, country and world. (Also read:  Communication Management)
  2. Comment on the news by developing it in a focus of news studies.
  3. Provides information needs for readers through advertisements.

Besides having a main function, newspapers also have a secondary function, namely:

  1. Spread the news about the community environment to help in certain conditions.
  2. Providing entertainment for readers through entertaining content such as humorous stories, comics, short stories etc.
  3. Become an agent of information for readers as well as a struggle for rights.

Meanwhile, according to Dominic there are five magazine classifications, namely:

  1. General magazine.
  2. Business magazine.
  3. News magazine.
  4. Literary magazines and scientific articles.
  5. Public relations magazine (Humas).

Then, the function of the magazine itself is adjusted to its more specific goals. Presented with a more attractive appearance and classified on certain focus according to the request of the reader. This is the difference between newspapers and magazines. Where newspapers have a more general discussion. (Also Read:  Organizational Communication  )

  • Electronic Media

Electronic media is a mass media which has a very important role in its development. Electronic media is mass media that uses electricity as power to run it (electronics). Of course we already know that is included in electronic media, namely:

  1. Radio

Radio is the first and oldest electronic media in the world. Radio has the advantage of being very flexible to use. radio can be anywhere at home, office, car, bed and so forth. Therefore radio in its time became an extraordinary trend and phenomenon. Various kinds of radio channels were created in various corners of the world to meet the information needs of its users. Not only that, in his time radio was also a means of entertainment to be excellent.

  1. Television

the birth of television in the following decade made a significant shift in the use of electronic media. The birth of television made the radio sink and began to be abandoned. The advantage of television over radio is that television is not only able to display sound (audio), but is also able to display moving images (video). Until now, television is still the belle of mass communication media throughout the world.

  • Digital Media

The development of information and communication technology in human life also affects the development of mass communication studies. In this Digital Age, mass communication has become very easy with the birth of the Internet. With the internet, it has become very easy to obtain information from various parts of the world.

Not only that, the shift in the use of electronic media to digital media is moving so fast. Almost everyone now knows the internet. Various facilities on the internet are also very supportive in the development of easier mass communication. Like the birth of social media like Facebook, and Twitter that makes it easy for us to connect with others.

Not only that, now the use of conventional newspapers is slowly being abandoned. Now, various online news sites are popping up that are much easier and faster to access without a certain time limit. It is predicted that in the next few years, digital media will be able to subvert the dominance of electronic media. (Also Read:  Interpersonal Communication  )

According to Defelur and Denis  there are seven components in mass communication including;

  1. Communicators, those who deliver messages to the general public.
  2. Message, Content made from the perspective of the mass media of the creator of a particular problem or issue. (Also read: Gender Communication)
  3. Media, Channels that are physical in nature such as print media and electronic media.
  4. Communion, a collection of individuals who receive messages from the mass media.
  5. Gate keeper, the authorities choose the message to be conveyed to the communicant or not.
  6. Disturbances, Constraints in mass communication both technically and non-technically.
  7. Reciprocity, public response in the form of public meaning of a message delivered to him.


Mass communication has several characteristics. The characteristics of mass communication can be divided into 4 main signs of mass communication. The four main signs of the characteristics of mass communication were conveyed by an expert, Suprapto. The characteristics according to Suprapto, 2006: 13 about the four main signs are as follows:

1. Mass communication has a communicative nature

This is because the target of mass communication is a relatively large community and has a heterogeneous and anonymous nature. This society cannot be measured by how many people there are, what is their educational background, age, religion, ethnicity, occupation, and so on. What can make all these differences merge is the same interests and common interests.

2. Mass communication has a fast and simultaneous nature

Conveying the message simultaneously is done simultaneously by the communicator to the communicant who has a large amount. If delivered simultaneously, the communicant’s attention will focus on the message conveyed by the communicator. The nature of fast message delivery will enable the message to be conveyed in a relatively short time.

3. Mass communication has a public nature

It is clear that the message to be conveyed is addressed to the wider community, not to certain groups. So the contents of the message delivered must be more general. Because it includes a general and universal environment.

4. Coordinated communicators

Because the mass media is an organizational institution, mass communication must have well-organized and professional communicators such as journalists, directors, broadcasters or hosts, and so on. The message to be delivered is the result of teamwork, so that the success of a mass communication also depends on various factors within the mass media organization.

In addition to the four main signs, mass communication has the characteristics of classical concept of mass communication. These concepts are aimed at the wider community, which is heterogeneous, scattered, and not limited to geographical and cultural boundaries. Other classic concept characteristics are general nature, how to deliver messages quickly and reach many people in a short time, one-way message delivery, communication activities carried out in a planned and conceptual way, communication is done periodically or periodically, and the message delivered covers all social, economic, political and cultural aspects.


Mass communication has several effects that can affect individuals, society and even culture. The effects according to Steven A. Chafee are as follows:

1. Effects on individuals

Mass communication can have an economic effect on each individual. This is reflected in the vacancy services provided by the mass media industry. The second effect is the effect on daily habits. Every morning people will have the habit of reading the news first before starting an activity. The third effect is entertainment, the mass media can be a means of ‘escape’ from fatigue and stress. This can be done through various social media online applications.

2. Effects on society

This effect is closely related to the character possessed by someone. Society will judge based on nature, interaction, and way of thinking of someone in accordance with what is shown by the media. The mass media will indirectly ‘invite’ the public to give the same assessment to someone based on the assessment of the mass media itself.

3. Effects on culture

Often the things displayed in the media, both print media, electronic media, and digital media will be different for each culture embraced by each region. For example, about how to dress. The style of dress in each country is certainly different, but when the mass media airs it, it will affect fashion tastes in other regions.

Besides Chafee, one of the figures named Effendi also pointed out the effects of mass communication. The effects according to Onong Uchyana Effendi (2006) are:

1. Cognitive Effects

This effect is informative. For example, is how someone gets information or a picture from the media about a place that has never been visited.

2. Conative Effects

This effect results in actions taken daily by someone after receiving information from the mass media. For example, a housewife who was inspired to open a handicraft business at home after seeing a crafting workshop through the media.

3. Affective Effects

This effect is more about one’s feelings or psychological factors. For example, after getting information through the mass media, someone becomes happy, angry, sad, compassionate, touched, happy, resentful, and so forth in accordance with the information reported.

Mass Communication Function

Lasswell (1948) proposed three functions of mass communication, namely:

  1. Social oversight function.
  2. Socialization Function.
  3. Social correlation function.

Meanwhile Mc Quail (1987) suggested two categories of mass communication functions, namely:

  • Function of the Community

According to Quail, mass communication has a function for the community which includes;

Also read:  Language as a Communication Tool

  • Functions of Individuals

Meanwhile functions for individuals include:

  1. Personal identity.

Also Read:  Political Communication

Effects of Mass Communication

The effect of mass communication is part of the impact of messages conveyed by the mass media that is related to human behavior after receiving the message. The effect received by each individual is certainly not the same. according to Efendi (2006), the effects of mass communication include:

  1. Cognitive
  2. Affectivein the form of feelings and emotions.
  3. Behavioralform of behavior.

Also read:  Philosophy of Communication

Benefits of Learning Mass Communication

Studying mass communication has many benefits for us. Where the mass media has a very large role in human life. The mass media becomes a communication bridge to connect with wider information. Where Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Ze Dong once said “if we want to rule the world then we must master the media”.

It would be so beneficial to study mass communication from these words. In fact, by studying mass communication, we become more stable individuals in the face of public information turmoil. Nowadays, public information often leads to the coupling of opinions which leads to negative things. Therefore, by studying mass communication we will become smart and critical individuals in responding to various existing public information. (Also read:  Islamic Communication )



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