Mass Communication: Challenges, Trends and Future

Dr. Mansi Khanna*
Mrs. Manju Khanna**

Taking up Journalism and Mass Communication as your major is something that could be interesting for you who like reporting, writing articles or presenting news and so on. Mass Communication is the study of all types of mass media including newspaper, magazine, radio, films, television, and others. Those who graduate in this major study can work in many fields such as news and media publishing, public relations, and research institutes. This field of work is a fast growing industry that is looking for enterprising professionals. The journalism program is specially designed to make you have a lot of job opportunities in the mass media and communication field such as print, internet, radio, television and corporate communication.

Why should you take up Journalism and Mass Communication study program? You have to have a strong reason about why are you taking up a certain study program. For the Journalism and Mass Communication program, the strongest reason comes from its prospects. Information and news are very important these days. The sources of supplying them have increased manifold from newspapers, magazines, television reports and so on. Because of the increased number of these information fields, the prospects are endless. Globalization has made the job more challenging. The information media is not always about finance and economics, but it extends to a diverse field such as politics, culture, investigation, sport and so on for newspapers, magazines, radio and television.

The career prospects that you may have after completing the Journalism and Mass Communication study program a reediting, reporting, advertising, media management, public relations, corporate communication, television and film production, news presenter, and other related jobs.

The vast majority of graduates of journalism and mass communications programs leave the university with at least one job offer. In 2013, 73.8 per cent of the bachelor’s degree recipients from journalism and mass communications programs reported having at least one offer. The average number of offers held by the graduates was 1.4. Both figures are unchanged from a year earlier and also in 2012. Only a small percentage (3.2 per cent) of the bachelor’s degree recipients who looked for work in 2013 reported having no job interviews after they started looking for a job. More than nine in 10 of the graduates reported having had at least one in-person interview.

Mass communication nowadays is trending rapidly. If we conduct a survey and ask a number of students what they are planning for their future, the majority answers would be mass communication. Mass communication by name is a wide course prominently known as BJMC. The course offers numerous fields and job options, be it in the print media or the electronic media. This course provides the students more practical knowledge than theoretical knowledge.Nowadays mass media is a daily and important necessity for people who can get all the information they want. It goes without saying that we can’t imagine our life without mass media. I watch TV news almost daily when I come home and can spare some time for it. The radio is with me all the time because I can listen to it on the way and in the evening while doing my lessons. I don’t often read the newspaper because I prefer to use the internet more. The internet is very convenient and necessary for us. That’s why we get all the information that we want at any time. We can even read the newspaper on the internet, or can see all shows and news programs which we couldn’t see on the TV. Besides,before leaving home I usually decide on the type of clothes to wear after scanning the weather forecast on the internet. Internet has become indispensable for me and I prefer it more than other source.

Gone are the days of Facebook as a one-stop shop for all social-networking needs. Recent reports go back and forth on teens’ favorite digital hangout, but the fact is that these days, teens are diversifying: dividing their attention among an array of apps and sites that let them write, share, chat, and meet new friends. It may seem more complicated to share photos on Instagram, post secrets on Whisper and share jokes on Twitter, but tween and teens seem to enjoy keeping up with their various virtual outposts, and each one offers something different. These mobile apps not only allow users to text and call long distance connections without paying long-distance fees, but it lets them construct a world where their favourite brands, publications and services are consolidated into one personalized package that can be accessed anywhere. These apps allow us to connect socially and also take care of our society. In China, the popular free text and call app, WeChat, has integrated profiles of celebrities and major brands to its subscription list. This allows users to follow updates from their friends and favourite celebrities, get special mobile-only VIP “cards” to large department stores, book reservations at trendy restaurants with a text message and even donate to UNICEF on one integrated app. All these applications are interactive techniques which come under social media in mass communication.

Every field has a positive as well as a negative side. In the case of mass communication, we suffer many challenges. I believe that one major problem with mass media or communication is that the news is now driven by sponsors. The media is more about making money nowadays.  Sometimes we feel the media is way too biased.  The fact that big business and advertising are in control of the media is not only unfair to the public – in terms of the information we receive – but is also affects the people who work in the media industries, the journalists. Earlier media was not so influential and powerful and job opportunities were also fewer as compared to today. Presently, the mass communication industry invites several young and enthusiastic people for making a fruitful career in various streams of mass communication. There are wonderful job opportunities for talented people along with good remuneration, promotion and growth. A number of news channels in Hindi, English and regional languages offer multiple job opportunities in various streams of mass communication. Mass communication is one of the most chosen fields by the youngsters due to various interesting career options in this profession.

Communication researchers have identified several major theories associated with the study of mass communication. Communication theory addresses the processes and mechanisms that allow communication to take place. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication] is the major membership organization for academics in the field, offering regional and national conferences and refereed publications.The International Communication Association and the National Communication Association are also prominent professional organizations. Each of these organizations publishes a different academic journal that reflects the research that is being performed in the field of mass communication.

The world has witnessed a phenomenal and unprecedented explosion in communication technology and media. All boundaries have been transcended, and the global community seems to have been brought together into one unified whole. And it is here that mass communication, as a stream of study, and as a career, becomes so important and enviable.Mass communication is not limited to journalism alone. To a great extent mass media is a modern reality which covers all aspects of human life. Moreover, a great change can be observed in the concept of people working in mass media. Careers in mass communication are not only high paying but also bring in a great deal of job satisfaction and expression of creativity.

Unlike engineering or medical streams there are no preparation strategies or set formulae for making a career in mass communication. A graduate degree in the field is good to start with but a post graduate degree or diploma is almost essential to be considered for responsible positions in any organisation. Meanwhile, you need to start blogging or work as a freelance contributor to newspapers and a host of online publishing sites to develop your communication skills. Maturity, objectivity and a sensible train of thought are essential.

IIMC offers scholarship for candidates in each branch i.e. print media English and Hindi and Electronic Media which is almost half of the fees – for first two toppers. Several other memorial scholarships at the institute are based on merit. Other mass communication institutes too provide merit based free ships and scholarships. Education loans are available from nationalized banks such as Allahabad Bank and Punjab National Bank wherein a student can seek a loan up to Rs 7.5 lakhs at low interest rates.A professional course in mass communication opens doors for a career in films & TV, publishing, public relations, journalism, editing, direction, film making, script writing, production, etc. In nutshell, mass communication widens the horizon of career options for a person. Depending upon personal interest and inclination a mass communication professional can choose a job. Attractive and high paying jobs as journalist, actor, director, editor, screenwriter, RJ, producer, VJ are available to the talented and trained individuals.

News Corporation of Rupert Murdoch, Disney Entertainment, Warner Brothers, CNBC, Guardian Group, BBC, ABC and many others are included among the large media groups which offer attractive jobs in mass communication at different levels and positions. In fact jobs in these organizations are attractive in terms of compensation and offer challenging job profiles. Indian professionals have an edge to work in international media houses for they have excellent command over English language.

Communication researchers have identified several major theories associated with the study of mass communication. Communication theory addresses the processes and mechanisms that allow communication to take place. Cultivation theory, developed by George Gerbner and Marshall McLuhan, discusses the long-term effects of watching television, and hypothesizes that the more television an individual consumes, the more likely that person is to believe the real world is similar to what they have seen on television.Cultivation is closely related to the idea of the mean world syndrome. Agenda setting theory centres around the idea that the media outlets tell the public “not what to think, but what to think about.” Agenda setting hypothesizes that media have the power to influence the public discourse, and tell people what are the important issues facing society. The spiral of silence, developed by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, hypothesizes that people are more likely to reveal their opinion in public if they believe that they are of the majority opinion, for fear that revealing an unpopular opinion would subject them to being a social outcast. This theory is relevant to mass communication because it hypothesizes that mass media have the power to shape people’s opinions, as well as relay the opinion that is believed to be the majority opinion. Media ecology hypothesizes that individuals are shaped by their interaction with media, and that communication and media profoundly affect how individuals view and interact with their environment. According to the Semiotic theory, communication characteristics such as words, images, gestures, and situations are always interpretive. All sign systems, entitled to be “read” or interpreted, regardless of form, may be referred to as “texts.” In the study of Semiotics, there is no such thing as a literal reading.

Communication researchers study communication through various methods that have been verified through repetitive, cumulative processes. Both quantitative and qualitative methods have been used in the study of mass communication. The main focus of mass communication research is to learn how the content of mass communication affects the attitudes, opinions, emotions, and ultimately behaviours of the people who receive the message. Studying cause and effect relationships in communication can only be done through an experiment. This quantitative method regularly involves exposing participants to various media content and recording their reactions. To show causation, mass communication researchers must isolate the variable they are studying, show that it occurs before the observed effect, and that it is the only variable that could cause the observed effect. Survey, another quantitative method, involves asking individuals to respond to a set of questions in order to generalize their responses to a larger population. Content analysis (sometimes known as textual analysis) refers to the process of identifying categorical properties of a piece of communication, such as a newspaper article, book, television program, film, or broadcast news script. This process allows researchers to see what the content of communication looks like. A qualitative method known as ethnography allows a researcher to immerse themselves into a culture to observe and record the qualities of communication that exist there.


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