Thursday, February 14, 2013

ELEMENTS OF MASS COMMUNICATION


Elements of mass communication are:
– source;
– coding process;
– message;
– channel;
– decoding process;
– receiver;
– feedback;
– noise.
The source may be an individual, group or
organization. A letter to the address of a
newsroom, a spontaneous protest at the
Employment Agency or a senator’s press
conference are examples of traditional sources
of communicators in the field of mass communication.
The sources depend on communication
skills. They may or may not know the receptors.
The source initiates the process of mass
communication from an idea, and wants to
convey it into another entity. The coding
procedure refers to all procedures through which
a source passes by to be perceived by the senses.
If phone, radio and television coding is done by
wireless means.
The message is the reporter’s work put on
paper. The message is the real product that the
source encodes it. In mass communication
messages are public. Messages can be simple or
complicated, cheap or expensive. As Lauren]iu
{oitu stated, the message consists of a set of
signs. “A piece of information is only what
comes from outside and changes the ambience
of the receiver, so only if there is such a
reorganization as reception we can talk about
information that ultimately is given by the
new brought message or the amount of
unforeseeable”1.
The channel is the way the message reaches
the receiver. Broadly speaking, the term channel
is used to designate an organization of the
television media. The term channel (BBC1 or
M6 etc.) is never replaced in the international
standard terminology by the term ‘post’, although
an inadequate term so used in Romanian. In the
international scientific language, the term ‘item’
is used only for receivers (radio, TV). “It is an
inappropriate expression to say TVR or Pro TV
station. It is correct to say: TVR1 channel, ProTV
channel”2.
Decoding is the process by which the message
is understood by the receiver and it is the
opposite of the decoding process. This means to
translate and interpret physical messages that
arrive in a form that has a meaning for the
receiver. Reading a book means decoding a
message. If you listen to the radio while reading
the newspaper two messages are simultaneously
decoded – the first referring to hearing and the
other to visual. As Joseph R. Dominick noted
“Both people and machines can be considered
decoders”3.
The receiver is considered the “final goal”.
One of the basic features that distinguish mass
communication from other forms of communication
is the public. At first sight, the audience
may appear homogeneous but studies have
revealed that its members differ in intelligence,
age, education etc. Joseph R. Dominick points
STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS OF MASS COMMUNICATION
Margareta ANDREESCU1, Maria FLOREA2
1. Lecturer, PhD, Dept. of Communication, Public Relations and Journalism, “Apollonia” University of Ia[i; Producer of Programs,
TVR Iasi, Romania
2. Lecturer, PhD, Dept. of Communication, Public Relations and Journalism, “Apollonia” University of Ia[i; Producer of Programs,
TVR Iasi, Romania
Corresponding author: marga.andreescu@tvr.ro
Case Study – Media Image
120 volume 2 • issue 2 April / June 2012 •
out that the members of the public remain
anonymous to one another. “The audience is
spread over a large geographical area and the
source and receiver are not in the immediate
vicinity”. But if the receiver chooses not to
participate in the message, the message is not
received4.
Feedback is the answer that can be positive or
negative and the receiver can become a new
source. This refers to those responses that alter
the receptor’s sources and subsequently
represents the reverse process of communication.
Feedback can be quick or delayed.
Specialists in television receive much attention
to noise in relation to the channel. Communications
experts define noise as the interference
in the way of transmitting the message. Too
much noise may prevent the message to reach
destination.
In a study on science communication
Gheorghe-Ilie Fârte chose as a model a press
release of a public TV station. The first contact,
as viewer was that with the presenters. These
broadcast the press release in a montage in
which they found comments, statements,
interviews etc. of some characters that have been
the object of the news. At the end of the show it
is found that those who made materials are not
announcers. The receptors of the speech acts are
the viewers, but the issuers of the messages are
more difficult to identify. The author finds that
the issuer is a sui generis person composed of
editors and presenters, employees or not of the
credible television station, and the broadcast
messages bear the seal of that channel.
Although dispersed, the receptors are in a
relationship of solidarity, without being aware
of it. They are the public, or audience. “The
volume and structure of this new sui generis
people are rigorously evaluated by the TV
channels in order to determine its main
characteristics, so that the addressed messages
to suit any expectations. Like any service
provider, television stations survive only if they
form a loyal target audience, immune to the
media market turmoil” Gheorghe-Ilie Fârte finds
that the issuer and the receiver are
heterogeneous people5 . The issuers that address
a wide audience are forced to make concessions
when they have a message. One would be the
use of terms which ultimately can lead to the
distortion of real information. Another aspect
highlighted by the author is that naive receptors
can form the belief that if they understand the
messages they are already connoisseurs of the
popular scientific theory.
Gheorghe-Ilie Fârte concludes on mass
communication:
– the issuer and the receiver are sui generis
people made up of several factors;
– the issued messages by the media posts
that do not reach receptors are wasted;
– the quality of the technical components of
the transmission channels are in close
correlation with mass communication;
– the communication situation is a complex
act;
– the retrospective of the receptors is limited,
the data about communication quality is
only obtained post factum.
THE AUDIOVISUAL MESSAGE
Communication elements are centered on the
message. When we speak, our speech represents
the message. Its content can be addressed by one
person or to millions of people. Mass communication
messages break the boundaries of interpersonal
communication. They are built and
influenced by market laws and media product;
in this case the message behaves just like a
commodity. As regards the audiovisual message,
it has two distinct parts: picture and sound.
Patrick Charaudeau in “Media and information”
states that “the raw material of television is the
image and word. Television is picture and word,
word and image. “Not only is the image that
sometimes denounces the manipulation effects,
but the picture and the word is the solidarity in
a television, the structure of the meaning
depending on both elements“6.
To ensure expressiveness: the setting, what
we see at a time on the screen passes through the
cockpit assembly. The installation represents all
those binding staff procedures and there is an
element that acts upon the receiver. Recording
an instant action of the framework as well as
p. 119-122
Margareta Andreescu, Maria Florea
International Journal of Communication Research 121
that of the development of the assembly, we find
that the cinematic language elements are actually
focused. All the ways by which the film
expressive language are parts of the broadcasting
message giving to it the qualities that have
impose it in the competition with other means of
mass communication. The setting/framework
decreases or enlarges the view, approaching or
enlarging the plot, choosing the fragment of
reality to be seen at a time; simultaneously, the
angulation opts for a certain angle, the most
expressive of shooting, and the movement of the
device has that piece of static or dynamic reality
through that camera movement considered to be
the best for fixing the depicted moment.
The character is a component of message
structure and hence of the message expressiveness.
The explanation is simple: the character
brings all actor’s art (gestures, expressive body
movements, expressive eyes, etc.), as well as the
ability to characterize and suggest the relationships
between characters or of the character’s
relationship with the world that is part of the
oriented framework. The environmental arts,
costumes, make-up and especially the light (all
together form the framework design) complete
the arsenal of the coated image. In television the
light is a key factor of expression, of atmosphere
(both to external frameworks, such as where the
sunlight at sunrise and sunset or the lights and
shadows allow extraordinary effects as well as
to the staff inside, where light “puts itself” in
particular). Moreover: sometimes the light can
become a background, filling the absence of
objects without much loss in terms of framework
expressiveness, if the game of light and darkness
is well mastered. The assembly with specific
procedures inherited from the film art and with
special effects produced electronically by
computer in the assembly booth adds to the parts
of the filmed images. Its specific action causes
the atmosphere; the power of suggestion of the
image sometimes imprints the rhythm and even
tells through the use of the ellipse. This action of
expression is exerted by monitoring the recipient
of a suite of frames. The picture ends with the
alternative depiction of the footage: the video
presenter, which means the same. The framework
is static and extended far beyond the static limits
of the practiced filmed images, but some of the
described components are also found here with
all the consequences in terms of message
expressiveness. So, we meet again in the phrase
“video presenter” the art of acting, the ambient
arts with the entirely framework and angulation.
Hence, a first explanation of why the uncovered
news in footage on-site has another impact than
the newspaper text that communicates the same
information, the information is kept, but the
message is changed, is nuanced and increases its
own power by everything is compounded after
its change into the text entrusted to the TV
message. The word is used in off or synchronous
in video, spoken, read, rich in nuances, through
the persuasive power of an actor art (the
expressive and nuanced utterance is one of the
most important weapons of performing art). The
word-voice is accompanied and complemented
by the on-site noise (background noise), by the
musical soundtrack (rarely seen on the news but
very often used in reports), or special effects
added to the soundtrack installation (generics,
jingles, head-lines). The word is sometimes found
in the audiovisual message structure as well as
written text, not necessarily complementary to
the accompanying image on the screen. During
the transmission of sports events (football or
tennis matches) an insert of the text without
off voice crossing the screen (crawling) may
announce the result of other sporting event held
thousands of kilometers away at the same time.
In the “Audio-visual Rhetoric” book, Lauren]iu
{oitu reads: “In television the word is the one
that opens the perspective. There is an internal
dynamic of the show given by the movement of
ideas, emotions and characters acquired by the
word art”. The author notes that the text may
have a role to generalize, to translate, to
interpret, and to explain the contrast7 .
Because of the moving image, the television
manages to transform the information-publishing
messages in audiovisual performances and to
give the reception of these messages a double
determination: logical-rational and emotionalaffective.
So the publishing message reaches
viewers with novelty, accuracy, timeliness
characteristic to media, but also the power to
influence that sensitivity of the viewer that
STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS OF MASS COMMUNICATION
122 volume 2 • issue 2 April / June 2012 •
provides the ability to emotionally participate.
So the picture is not added to the word and
sound, but the element around which is structured
by synthesis, a mode of communication
with specific language, with specific ways of
expression, but also with known limits. “It is
clear that television rises. In part this was already
done by the radio, but the effect of awakening is
violent and, moreover, different. To wake up
with the help of the word (radio) cannot be
compared to the waking caused by the whole
world visibility that potentially visible reached
the homes of all. Until the twentieth century,
three quarters of mortals stood locked in houses
and slept in their villages (more than in their
towns). Now we are all six billion, more or less
awake or wake. “It’s a huge change whose
explosive impact cannot be measured yet”8 .
The fact that information-publishing message
is transmitted through a scene does not mean
that television automatically goes into Arts,
gaining its features and being under the laws of
theater or film.
The broadcast message depends on a
televised network, thus making it “movable” in
the most remote places. It can also be received
by the illiterate or the persons for whom reading
requires a special effort (pre-school children,
elderly, and people with disabilities).
The TV message makes television to get
specific functions. Gaining public attention is the
final target, the success in media and then the
message goes into the background. In response
to the communicators? approach, the public
attaches to certain programs and allocates more
time to media.
References
1. Charaudeau, Patrick (2004) Media [i informa]ia,
Bucure[ti, Ed. Antet.
2. Dr\gan, Ioan (2007) Comunicarea paradigme [i teorii,
vol I, ed. I, Bucure[ti, Ed. Rao.
3. Fârte, Gheorghe-Ilie (2002) Existen]\ Cunoa[tere
Comunicare, Ia[i, Ed. Univ. „Al. I. Cuza”.
4. Joseph R., Dominick (2009) Ipostazele comunic\rii de
mas\, Bucure[ti, Ed. Comunicare.ro.
5. Sartori, Giovani (2006) Homo videns – Imbecilizarea
prin televiziune, Ed. Humanias, Bucure[ti.
6. {oitu, Lauren]iu (1993) Retoric\ audio-vizual\, Ia[i,
Ed. Cronica.
Endnotes:
1 Lauren]iu {oitu, Retoric\ audio-vizual\, Ed.Cronica,
Ia[i, 1993, p. 87.
2 Ioan Dragan, Comunicarea paradigme [i teorii, vol. [2]
Ed. Rao, Bucure[ti, 2007, p. 288.
3 Dominick Joseph R. Ipostazele comunic\rii de mas\, Ed.
Comunicare.ro, Bucure[ti, 2009, p. 5.
4 Ibidem, p. 12.
5 Gheorghe-Ilie Fârte, 2002, Existen]\ Cunoa[tere
Comunicare, Ed. Univ. “Al. I. Cuza”, Ia[i, p. 234.
6 Patrick Charaudeau, Media [i informa]ia, Ed. Antet,
Bucure[ti, 2004, p. 90.
7 Lauren]iu {oitu, Retoric\ audio-vizual\, Ed. Cronica,
Ia[i, 1993, p. 99.
8 Giovani Sartori, Homo videns – Imbecilizarea prin
televiziune, Ed. Humanias, Bucure[ti, 2006, p. 31.
p. 119-122
Margareta Andreescu, Maria Florea

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