Reflection on ‘Culture and Communication: Basic Concepts.’





Reflection on ‘Culture and Communication: Basic Concepts.’

Question One

  • Mass media plays an imperative role in the development of popular culture.
  • Culture entails the various factors that influence our behaviors in the present society.
  • Contemporary culture unlike in the past is produced in large quantities through mass media.
  • Mass media passes through three stages namely the elitist, popular and specialized phases in its maturity process.
  • Semantic noise distorts understanding of a message without alteration of the signal structure.
  • People protect themselves from offensive information in three ways namely selective exposure, selective retention and selective perception.
  • People are inclined to search for information consistent with their behavior, values, beliefs, and attitudes.
  • Mass communication consists of three stages namely professional communicators sharing information, transmission over some technological medium and retrieval by large audiences.
  • Mass media through the function of agenda setting determines what the society thinks and worries.
  • Mass media through gatekeeping control the level of access to information, news or entertainment the society has.
  • People do not pay attention to all the information available to them to avoid information overloads.

Stan Le Roy Wilson in the article gives vital insight on how mass media manipulates the communication process in the determination of popular culture. Through the article, the reader understands how mass communication is applied to push or kill off an idea in the society for the benefit of the few. Most important is the understanding that in mass communication, access to raw information is the path to the truth. Editors, broadcasters and newsroom staff all manipulate raw information to shape political realities of the reader. However, readers also prevent themselves from accessing the truth through selective filtering of information. Readers learn only on what they deem as important (Wilson 10). Despite the media determining the level of access and content of information, readers only absorb a fraction of the message (Wilson 10). This suggests mass media in mass communication is not the only determinant of popular culture.

Question 2

Stan Wilson presents an accurate argument on the imperative role editors, broadcasters, and newsroom staffs have in the determination of popular culture. However, the author gives too much power or precedence on mass media in its relationship to present or dominant culture. 21st-century technological advancements have resulted in the emergence of more influential sources of information in accordance with delivery time, reach, content and user absorption. Social media has negated mass media’s gatekeeping capacity, as individual sources are able to transmit raw information to large audiences before news corporations can edit. Blogs, personal websites, and other social media platforms have reduced the ability for media houses to control access to information. In addition, through social media, people can validate the truthfulness of information transmitted through mass media channels.

Mass media still holds a greater chunk of the power in agenda setting, but it cannot do so effectively because of social media platforms. Presently, mainstream media requires validation from an external liberal source to push an ideal. For example, if the New York Times was to publish the allegation that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were having a divorce, people would not fully accept the news until the two celebrities affirm the assertions through their social media accounts. If they were to deny the allegations, scrutiny would turn towards the New York Times. The agenda-setting power is no longer national or universal because of present and newer news outlets.

Work Cited

Wilson, S. L. ‘Culture and Communication: Basic Concepts.’ In Mass Media/Mass Culture: An Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill. 1994. Print.

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