In this article, Steven Chafee and Miriam Metzger argue that the term “mass communication” in the modern world is losing significance because a new area, called the media, has emerged due to technological developments.
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According to the two authors, mass communication is no longer an accurate description of communication in the present situation due to the increased rate of development in computing and information technologies. These developments took place in the 20th century while new changes are expected in the 21st century. As such, they argue that there is a debate on whether the term “mass communication” should be replaced with the term “media”, in order to embrace a description of all these technologies.
In their thesis, the authors attempt to address the question on whether mass communication is a purely 20th century phenomenon that is also a fleeting idea. In addition, they address the question on whether the new paradigm should be a focal point in communication during the 21st Century if the term “mass communication” is dropped altogether (Baran, Davis and Davis 63).
In this context, it is clear that the two authors have noted a significant change in terminologies, which is a result of technological developments in information and communication technology. With the development of computer-based communication technologies, the university should focus on this issue in determining the impact of technological changes on mass communication and the need to change the courses offered at the Lindenwood University’s School of Mass communication.
How does the change in terminology affect Lindenwood University Mass Communication?
Chafee and Metzger based their arguments on the need to include internet and allied technologies in the new topic of mass communication. Since internet-based communication cannot fit in the term “mass communication”, it is necessary to shift the terminology by eliminating the term “mass” and replacing it with a new term- the “media”.
First, Lindenwood University needs to focus on the inclusion of internet and computer based technologies as a form of communication. The university has integrated many new technologies in its curriculum over the last few decades. Therefore, the terminology “school of mass communication” should be replaced with a new name “School of media and communication technology”.
By adopting a new name, the university will create a new perception among students and the public that it incorporates the new knowledge in technology. By retaining its old name “school of mass communication”, it creates a notion that it primarily offers some courses based on the old model that only included radio, television and print media.
Secondly, some aspects of the curriculum at the university need to be beefed up in order to be in line with the arguments developed by Chafee and Metzger. For instance, it has been argued that there is a new focus on the internet and internet-based form of communication (Carlsson 228). The university should include some courses on information systems in order to ensure that students graduate with adequate knowledge.
In the previous model, the university only offered such courses to students taking computer science, information technology and computer engineering. In the new context, it is clear that mass communication has substantially adopted computer-based communication in its activities. Apparently, there is no mass communication without information systems. In fact, mass media is one of the sectors that are the largest consumers of IT in the modern world.
The new aspect of communication emphasises on data as the main asset in communication, where all forms of information are treated as “data”. As such, the university should include some courses such as data management and information system in its curriculum. Such students must graduate from the school having the adequate knowledge on data and data management as a part of mass communication.
Moreover, the university should focus on eliminating some parts of its old curriculum that have been rendered obsolete by modern concepts of mass communication. For instance, the curriculum still provides some lessons, and courses on analogue media, whereas the modern forms of mass media have shifted to digital communication.
Some of the equipment used in teaching and practice at the university are based on the old model. The university must change certain these areas of the curriculum in order to provide students with modern knowledge in media technology. This will ensure that they obtain the necessary concepts and experience before they seek employment in the field.
From this analysis, it is worth noting that the article serves as a lesson for the university to change some aspects of its mass communication department in order to integrate modern knowledge in its curriculum.
Baran, Stanley J., Dennis K. Davis, Baran, and Paul Harold Davis. Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2012. Print.
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Carlsson, Ulla. “Media and Mass Communication Research Past, Present and Future: Reflections from a Nordic Horizon”. Nordicom Review 50.1 (2007): 223-229. Print
Chafee, Steven and Miriam Metzger. “The end of mass communication?”. Mass communication and the society 4.4 (2001): 365-379. Print