• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The discipline of communication has grown in popularity from the time professors of journalism and speech decided, in the mid-1960s, that the term “communication” was an excellent general descriptor for the theory and research that each group aspired to create.  Over time, the two groups grew closer and recognized significant overlap in their theoretical and research interests, but there were also differences in their traditions that kept them apart.  While both groups agreed that communication is a practical discipline, journalism professors focused a great deal of their attention on the education of media professionals.  Speech professors, on the other hand, often were more oriented to the liberal arts and valued the fact that communication could be approached from a variety of traditions, including the arts, ...

The Speech Tradition
The speech tradition

Were a natural set of categories for subjects and study. But just like everything else, disciplines and departments in the contemporary U.S. university have a history. What we think of as “communication” may be covered by two or three different departments, and all of them may have started out very different from their current form. We currently imagine communication as a universal process that happens in different media (television, radio, print, the Internet) and is attached to different professions (journalist, writer, producer, actor). The development of all these things proceeded by complex paths, however, and the bewildering diversity of communication departments reflects this. In some places, all kinds of communication are in the same department or college. In others, the ...

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