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Mass Media

  • By: Michael Basil
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The mass media are channels of communication through which messages are distributed to a large audience. Historically these media have consisted of newspapers, radio, and television, and now may include the Internet. They primarily provide a one-way flow of information and entertainment. Mass media have seen much use to provide health information, though the effects of this information are often limited.

History

The notion of communicating with a large audience can be traced to public performances of dramas in large auditoria, such as ancient Greek plays. However, public speakers, public debates, and town criers probably also functioned as early sources of information for the population.

Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in the late 14th century was the beginning of more formal mass media in which the ...

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