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Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication

(20 reviews)

Pub Date: 2016

ISBN 13: 9781946135261

Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing

Language: English

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Reviewed by Bill Bettler, Professor, Hanover College on 3/8/19

This text is comprehensive on several levels. Theoretically, this text echoes the framework employed by Pavlik and McIntosh, which displays sensitivity to convergence. However, this text understands convergence on multiple levels, not just the... read more


Reviewed by Hsin-Yen Yang, Associate Professor, Fort Hays State University on 11/29/18

Understanding Media and Culture: an Introduction to Mass Communication covers all the important topics in mass communication and media history. It also provides case studies, Key Takeaways, Exercises, End-of-Chapter Assessment, Critical Thinking... read more


Reviewed by Hayden Coombs, Assistant Professor, Southern Utah University on 8/2/18

Perhaps the best quality of this text, Understanding Media and Culture is a very comprehensive textbook. I have used this text in my Mass Media & Communication course for two years now. Each chapter focuses on a different type of medium,... read more


Reviewed by Heather Lubay, Adjunct Faculty, Portland Community College on 8/2/18

Overall the book is comprehensive, covering everything from books to radio to electronic media & social media. Each topic has a descent amount of information on both the history and evolution, as well as where we are today (though, as tends to... read more


Reviewed by Randy (Rachel) Kovacs, Adjunct Associate Professor, City University of New York on 6/19/18

I like the way that the author has broadened the scope of the book to incorporate so many aspects of culture, society, politics and economics that some people would be inclined to distinguish from the mass media, when in reality, all these aspects... read more


Reviewed by Craig Freeman, Director, Oklahoma State University on 5/21/18

The book covers all of the topics you would expect in an inter/ survey course. read more


Reviewed by Stacy Fitzpatrick, Professor, North Hennepin Community College on 5/21/18

The presentation of the historical context of media evolution in the US is clear and reasonably detailed, providing a good foundation for an introductory level course. As other reviewers have mentioned, this text was published in 2010 and is out... read more


Reviewed by Stacie Mariette, Mass Communication instructor, Anoka-Ramsey Community College on 5/21/18

This OER is very comprehensive. I used it for an online course as a PDF textbook. While this discipline evolves faster than any other communication area I teach, this book remains solidly grounded in a wide variety of resources and foundational... read more


Reviewed by Kateryna Komarova, Visiting Instructor, University of South Florida on 3/27/18

The title Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication suggests that we are looking at a comprehensive introductory text. In my opinion, this book is the most valuable to GE courses and entry level courses across Mass... read more


Reviewed by Joel Gershon, Adjunct Professor, American University on 2/1/18

The book should be the perfect fit for my course Understanding Media, as it indeed covers all of the subject matter of the course. The problem is that it is not up to date and therefore detracts from the complete picture that each one of these... read more


Reviewed by Shearon Roberts, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, Xavier University of Louisiana on 6/20/17

The textbook hits the standard areas for a typical Introduction to Mass Communication course: evolution of media industries, media and society, media effects and theories, media law and ethics, the digital age, and global media. It is... read more


Reviewed by Suzi Steffen, Instructor, Linn-Benton Community College on 6/20/17

This text is rather comprehensive, at least for the time it was published. It covers pretty much any topic one might want to cover in a Media and Society or introductory media and communications class, though for those interested in topic areas... read more


Reviewed by Gwyneth Mellinger, Professor and Director, School of Media Arts & Design, James Madison University on 6/20/17

The book covers all of the subject areas typically touched on in a media and society survey course; however, the discussions within chapters would benefit greatly from more examples and, in some cases, greater detail in explanation. I often... read more


Reviewed by Elizabeth England-Kennedy, Assistant Professor, Rhode Island College on 4/11/17

The book is extremely comprehensive. Not only does it include all forms of mass media, but it intelligently and thoughtfully addresses critical concepts such as ethics and culture. Photojournalism (especially the work of muckrakers such as Jacob... read more


Reviewed by Kevin Smith, Instructor, Chemeketa Community College on 2/15/17

This text is comprehensive in its coverage of all major media platforms and key general concepts related to mass media. There are times (e.g. Chapter 2: Media Effects) when some concepts are defined vaguely, but this is not indicative of the book... read more


Reviewed by Amy Rawson, Professor, Century College on 2/8/17

Interestingly, this textbook was more comprehensive than I originally expected. The text covered all of the major areas to be expected in a mass communication textbook: Media, Books, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, Movies, TV, Games, Internet &... read more


Reviewed by Tom Grier, Professor, Winona State University on 8/21/16

The book is comprehensive, covering the study of media and its intersection with culture, through an in-depth look at each of the major mediums, then content considerations, economics and ethics issues related to the mass media. read more


Reviewed by Nick Marx, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University on 1/7/16

The text is a broad and comprehensive overview of all relevant forms of media today. Although this is a common organizational approach for survey textbooks of media, this particular volume utilizes it in a particularly clear and cogent manner. ... read more


Reviewed by Robert Kerr, Professor, University of Oklahoma on 1/12/15

This book devotes almost 800 pages to achieving an impressive level of comprehensiveness, considering the vast subject material upon which it focuses. Moving from Gutenberg’s 15th-century invention of the movable type printing press, through the... read more


Reviewed by Doug Trouten, Professor, University of Northwestern - St. Paul on 7/15/14

The text covers all of the major forms of media and significant related topics (advertising, media economics, ethics, etc.). While the text lacks a dedicated chapter for journalism, this topic is covered at length in some of the other chapters. No... read more


Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Media and Culture
  • Chapter 2: Media Effects
  • Chapter 3: Books
  • Chapter 4: Newspapers
  • Chapter 5: Magazines
  • Chapter 6: Music
  • Chapter 7: Radio
  • Chapter 8: Movies
  • Chapter 9: Television
  • Chapter 10: Electronic Games and Entertainment
  • Chapter 11: The Internet and Social Media
  • Chapter 12: Advertising and Public Relations
  • Chapter 13: Economics of Mass Media
  • Chapter 14: Ethics of Mass Media
  • Chapter 15: Media and Government
  • Chapter 16: The Future of Mass Media

About the Book

According to the author, the world did not need another introductory text in mass communication. But the world did need another kind of introductory text in mass communication, and that is how Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication was birthed.

The only question was: What would be the purpose of another introductory mass communication text?

Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication was written to squarely emphasize media technology. The author believes that an introduction to mass communication text should be a compelling, historical narrative sketching the *ongoing evolution* of media technology and how that technology shapes and is shaped by culture — and that is what he set out to deliver with his new textbook.

Today's students are immersed in media technology. They live in a world of cell phones, smart phones, video games, iPods, laptops, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, and more. They fully expect that new technology will be developed tomorrow. Yet students often lack an historical perspective on media technology. They lack knowledge of the social, political and economic forces that shape media technology. This is not knowledge for knowledge's sake. It is knowledge that can help them understand, comprehend, appreciate, anticipate, shape and control media technology.

With this focus, Understanding Media and Culture becomes an appropriate title. Indeed, the title has particular significance. Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media is a key text in media studies. Written in the 1960s, Understanding Media was the subject of intense debates that continue to this day. Its central message was that the technology of media — not their content — was their most important feature. In a typically pithy phrase, McLuhan said, "The medium is the message." The title, Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication, situates the introductory text in a large, engrossing theoretical conversation.

The goal is to adopt a textbook that will support and complement your teaching of this course. Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication will support an engaging and interesting course experience for students that will not only show them the powerful social, political and economic forces will affect the future of media technology, but will challenge students to do their part in shaping that future.