• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

“Arthur Asa Berger provides a succinct, accurate, and enjoyable introduction to the mass communications field. Although the book covers the same topics as other introductory works… his writing and organization make the material seem like a light repast rather than an overbearing meal…. Essential for all undergraduate collections in mass communication theory and mass media studies.”


Arthur Asa Berger combines his broad knowledge of the field with his unique ability to translate difficult theories into comprehensible terms and accessible language. He uses illustrations related to popular genres to make these theories relevant to students” lives. The concluding chapter provides questions for further work and discussion and is designed to help the student further contemplate the implications and applications of mass communication theory. An up-to-date bibliography and glossary provide a comprehensive resource on mass communication theory.


Having examined the complexities involved in interpreting a text, we move on to a discussion of media. I begin with an examination of some of the more interesting theories about media and the way the media function, such as transportation theory, responsive chord theory, and Marshall McLuhan's theories about hot and cool media. Next, I address various theories about media effects, such as those regarding the agenda-setting and gatekeeping functions of media, cultivation theory, reinforcement theory, spiral of silence theory, and the question of cultural imperialism. This is followed by a discussion of what research suggests about media effects (are they powerful or weak), the ownership of the media (if the media have few effects, it matters little who owns them), and the problem ...

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