Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on the libertarian, social responsibility, and political economic theories regarding role of mass media in society.

Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on the libertarian, social responsibility, and political economic theories regarding role of mass media in society. Mass media is any medium used by an individual or group of persons to transmit a message to a large group of audience. Essentially, mass media provides the venue for social communication, which helps in the administration of human affairs (Lorimer, Gasher & Skinner, 2008). Numerous scholars from the fields of journalism, humanities, and sociology have pointed out that in order to thoroughly understand mass media, it is important to study it in the context of mass communication.

Mass communication, like any form of communication, is defined both as message content and as a communication process, which results from the interaction between the sender and the receiver of the message. The result of this interaction is the shared meaning about a certain phenomenon, and grouping together these ‘shared meanings’ can help in the construction of social reality. Contextually, therefore, mass communication influences the way people perceive themselves, other people, and the society they belong in.

While it is easy to claim that mass communication plays a vital role in the shaping of social reality, determining who dominates this process is a more difficult task. Is meaning dependent on the senders of messages, who control not only the content of the message but also the venue for its delivery? Or does it rely on the understanding and behavioral response of its intended audience? The key to answering these questions lies in revisiting the different forms of mass media today.

The forms of mass media can be categorized as traditional or digital. Traditional mass media is comprised of print, radio, and television, while digital mass media heavily concentrates on the internet. The ‘one-to-many’ nature of communication in traditional mass media has led scholars to believe that it is indeed the senders of messages who determine the meaning of communication message. This view is entirely different from the ‘many-to-many’ nature of communication in digital mass media, in which the variety and accessibility of information and the interactive environment both contributed to the creation of a more dynamic, empowered, and critical group of media consumers.

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