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The Rise and Fall of Mass Communication


William L. Benoit and Andrew C. Billings

Mass communication theories were largely built when we had mass media audiences. The number of television, print, film or other forms of media audiences were largely finite, concentrating people on many of the same core content offerings, whether that be the nightly news or a popular television show. What happens when those audiences splinter? The Rise and Fall of Mass Communication surveys the aftermath of exactly that, noting that very few modern media products have audiences above 1–2% of the population at any one time. Advancing a new media balkanization theory, Benoit and Billings neither lament nor embrace the new media landscape, opting instead to pinpoint how we must consider mass communication theories and applications in an era of ubiquitous choice.
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents



List of Tables

List of Figures


Introduction: The Rise and Fall of Mass Communication

Chapter One: When ‘Mass’ Meant ‘Massive’: Cohesive Audiences and Heavy Impact

Chapter Two: Partisan, Hostile, Fake, or Real: The Fragmentation of News

Chapter Three: Not ‘Must See’ for Me: The Balkanization of Entertainment

Chapter Four: The Customization of America: My Reality Is Not Yours

Chapter Five: The Illusion of Modern Mass Media: False Cultural Barometers and Why Nothing Truly ‘Breaks the Internet’

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