This chapterlays down the definitions of the various keywords and other important termsthat one must understand in the process of understanding the local pressscenario in Chennai.
Communication and Community go hand in hand. It is whatgives the feeling of being a part of the community, being a part of the whole.Communication has a ritual function, in that it involves “the creation,representation and celebration of shared values,” and it is through the use ofcommunication that communities are “created, maintained, andtransformed” (Emke, 2001). DefiningCommunication and Mass CommunicationAs with anystudies that explore the wider arena of media and communication, one of thefirst tasks is to understand and define the term ‘Communication’, whicheven according to scholars is not easy to define. It is important and more sofor this particular project because, journalism is but a form of communicationand it is communication that binds the community together that is beinginvestigated by the researcher.
Communication has beensystematically studied since antiquity but it has become all the more importantin the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is acknowledged by scholarsthat the common lexicon of the verb, ‘to communicate’ is not easily capturedfor scientific use. To that end, Frank Dance outlined a number of elements thatcan be used to distinguish communication.
He states that there are three pointsof ‘critical differentiation’. The three dimensions according to him are asfollows. First, the level of observation or abstractness. Second isintentionality followed by the third dimension – normative judgement (Littlejohn & Foss, 2008).While the firstdimension, level of observation deals with definitions that are eitherinclusive or restrictive, like the concept of communication as a process and asystem respectively. The second dimension works around the need for the purposefor the communication to occur and the third concerns with the success,effectiveness or accuracy.This sentimentis echoed by Dennis McQuail. According to him, ‘communication’ is a process,which increases commonality but also requires elements of commonality for it tooccur at all (Haasan, 2013).
Having establishedthat, there are various major forms of communication of which one is ‘masscommunication’. So, what is mass communication?The term ‘masscommunication’ came into use in the late 1930s, but its essential features werealready well known and have not really changed since… The most obviousfeature of the mass media is that they are designed to reach the many (McQuail, 2010).
In short, mass communication happens when a medium broadcasts or multipliesmessages and takes it to a large audience simultaneously. In other words, masscommunication is said to have occurred “When an organisation employs atechnology as a medium to communicate with a large audience” (Baran & Davis, 2016).This definitionof mass communication fits the purpose of the study on community or localpress. For all intents, one can establish that the ‘organisation’ to be localpress which publishes local community bilingual weekly and the medium and/ortechnology is the newspaper itself.