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Vaughans Vocabulary Understanding the role of mass media in life and society...

December 21, 2010

In the spring semester I am going to be teaching Introduction to Mass Communications online and in the classroom. “Mass communications” refers to message-distribution systems and industries, including both mass media such as publishing and broadcasting, and common carriers such as telephones and servers.
The word “mass” is not referring to the size of the audience; “mass” is referring to the industrial, mass production process of creating the communication message, whether the media message is CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful, Tony Evans’s message of Christ on the Urban Alternative broadcast, Joe Buck’s play-by-play on Fox Sports, or Vaughan’s Vocabulary.
COM 2483 is a study of the history, organization, and mechanics of various mass media, and is designed to help the student understand mass media’s role in life and in society. This week I am quizzing you on some mass comm terms and names.

1. Gutenberg is associated with
A. the telegraph.
B. the printing press.
C. radio.
D. television.

By 1450 Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press that had moveable letters, a technology that engendered the production of books and propagated the arts, sciences and religion.

2. Which one occurs when the receiver (the person or group that gets the message) responds to the message with what the source perceives as a message?
A. feedback
B. non sequitur
C. decoding
D. encoding

3. The plethora of media channels has brought about
A. larger network audiences.
B. audience fragmentation.
C. higher quality programming.
D. less commercials.

No. 2 is A. No. 3 is B. With the overabundance of media channels came audience fragmentation, fewer people watching (or listening to) each one. For example, a local FM station might have only a handful of listeners, as it were, even during drive times.

4. global village (GLO-bul VILL-ij)
A. because of communication technology distance is inconsequential
B. nascent communication technologies allow us to become increasingly involved in one another’s lives
C. because of communication technologies, we feel that the world’s population is small
D. ownership of media companies by multinational corporations

5. convergence (cun-VUR-juhns)
A. when content that has traditionally been confined to one medium appears on multiple media channels
B. focusing on improving the quality of media content
C. the concept that corporations are better media owners than single, local owners
D. the concept that single, local owners are better media owners than corporations

D under No. 4 is Stanley Baran’s definition of globalization. B is the answer. The last one is A, and the definition came from Joseph Turow’s book Media Today.
Last week’s mystery word means a humorous person and is the same as the first three letters in the last name of the composer of The Bridal March. You are right if you said “wag.”
This week’s mystery word to solve means the number of people who listen to a radio station for at least five minutes in any one day.

Contact Don Vaughan at

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