Mass Communication Theories and Principles Every Journalist Should Know

Here are top 4 theories which you will come across while studying journalism and mass communication.

1. Shannon and Weaver model of Mass communication

In simple words, this is a theory written by a mathematician and a scientist. They explained how a message is encoded by the sender through a medium and that message is decoded by the receiver. For example, suppose I am the sender and I am encoding this message using my Gmail account (medium). Now, you are the receiver who will decode this message based on your situation.

Remember, the encoded message might be decoded wrongly. For instance, if I use a phone call to send my message, you might not be able to decode my message properly due to noise or any other problem. So encoding means what the sender is actually sending and decoding means what the receiver end up understanding.

2. Gatekeeping in the 21st century

In simple words, a reporter or journalist has to decide which news is important based on various factors. He or she also decide that which news source is more trustworthy. They also decide the time it should be shown on TV or the page and location it will be shown in a newspaper just like our mom decide which food should be included in breakfast and dinner.

3. Convergence and divergence in media

The description varies from person to person. However, in simple words, it is a theory about the changes media and journalist have faced over the years due to development of technologies. Here, ‘convergence’ means the imagination and the word ‘divergence’ here means the market.

4. Media the watchdog of our society

In simple words, a watchdog keeps an eye on all the activities of other people and inform the same to everyone using his communication skills whenever he finds any wrongdoing or strange activity. In the same way, a journalist keeps an eye on everyone’s activity and inform the viewers or readers whenever he/she find any wrongdoing or any important fact.

2 Main Principles of Mass Communication and Journalism:

1. Find Truth in Rumors and Fact in Myths

You just got a news that Salman Khan is finally getting married from a popular TV channel like AajTak (just an example). Now, you are super excited that your readers or viewers must get this news from your website or video. You published whatever you heard from that news. But that news was not true, the reporters were just trying to get some TRP, which they usually do. Now, who is losing visitors? Yes, both of you. Checking the fact is the responsibility of every individual who is trying to inform viewers or listeners in written, oral or visual form. Journalism is mainly about the news. So, as a journalist, if you haven’t seen something, you can say it evidently or reportedly happened while writing about any situation which took place. You can share your views while writing reviews or promoting a brand or celebrity. But make sure your listeners or viewers are aware that you are a critic or PR person.

2. Always Verify and Stay Loyal to Your Viewers

As a film critic, you might get tons of money to write a negative review of a film. You need to keep in mind the fact that your audience will understand your review is fake within a week and they won’t be able to trust your review again. In the same way, if you try to create fake rumors about a celebrity or politician, your readers or viewers will find that out too.

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