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Mass Communication is the term used to describe the academic study of various means by which individuals and entities relay information to large segments of the population all at once through mass media.

In the United States, many university journalism departments evolved into schools or colleges of mass communication or "journalism and mass communication," as reflected in the names of two major academic organizations. In addition to studying practical skills of journalism, public relations or advertising, students also may major in "mass communication" or "mass communication research." The latter is often the title given to doctoral studies in such schools, whether the focus of the student's research is journalism practice, history, law or media effects. Departmental structures within such colleges may separate research and instruction in professional or technical aspects of newspaper and magazine publishing, radio, television, and film. Mass communication research includes media institutions and processes, such as diffusion of information, and media effects, such as persuasion or manipulation of public opinion.

With the Internet's increased role in delivering news and information, mass communication studies -- and media organizations -- have increasingly focused on the convergence of publishing, broadcasting and digital communication.

The academic mass communication discipline historically differs from media studies and communication studies programs with roots in departments of theatre, film or speech, and with more interest in "qualitative," interpretive theory, critical or cultural approaches to communication study. In contrast, many mass communication programs historically lean toward empirical analysis and quantitative research -- from statistical content analysis of media messages to survey research, public opinion polling, and experimental research, including an increasing interest in "New Media" and "Computer Mediated Communication."

Graduates of Mass Communication programs work in a variety of fields in traditional news media and publishing, advertising, public relations and research institutes.

Such programs are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC).

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) is the major membership organization for academics in the field, offering regional and national conferences and refereed publications.

The International Communication Association (ICA) and National Communication Association (formerly the Speech Communciation Association) include divisions and publications that overlap with those of AEJMC, but AEJMC historically has stronger ties to the mass communication professions in the United States.

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