Communication 245

Mass Communication and Culture

Elizabeth M. Perse, Ph.D.

Mass Communication and Culture is the first course in the Department of Communication's mass communication sequence. The course is required for all Communication majors. In addition the course fulfills a Group C (Humans and their environment) breadth requirement for the College of Arts and Sciences and the communication requirement for several other Colleges in the University. The course is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of mass communication and its various applications in contemporary society.

Mass Communication and Culture provides a basic overview of the forms, structure, and process of mass communication and considers the history, structure, functions, and effects of the various media. Course material highlights how mass communication is similar to and differs from other forms of communication. While much of the class considers traditional mass media, print, photographic, and electronic media, there is significant focus on newer mass communication technologies and how traditional media are adapting and changing to meet the needs of a society that is becoming even more information- oriented.

While one aspect of the course is the role and power of U.S. mass media internationally, most of the course focuses on the relationship of the mass media to the other institutions of U.S. society. The course material includes the links of the mass media to U.S. policy and regulation; the discussion of the various audiences of the different media, the conflict between various groups in society concerned about the effects of mass media, and speculation about the effects of media content on individuals and society.