Reevaluating “The End of Mass Communication?”

Gabriel Weimann, Nirit Weiss-Blatt, Germaw Mengistu, Maya Mazor Tregerman, Ravid Oren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is hard to imagine a more challenging arena for communication research than that presented by new media and their impact on our society. We have witnessed the fastest evolution in communication technology in human history and, along with it, the evolution of communication conceptions and theories used to assess its impact. More than a decade has passed since Chaffee and Metzger first published their intriguing article “The End of Mass Communication?” and suggested that the new media will change the notions of mass communication and, as a result, the theories used in communication research. Today, we know more about new media and its effect on communication, society, and communication theories. The present article, therefore, sets out to reassess Chaffee and Metzger's claim by describing the development of several core theories of communication research, namely the agenda-setting theory and the notions of media audiences and the Digital Divide, in light of the new media. Our review shows that the role played by communication technologies in social, cultural, political, and economic processes is as central and influential in the new media era as it was in traditional media environment and that, although theories may change to accommodate the changes of the new media environment, researchers are still dealing with the “old” issues of power and resistance, and structure and ownership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-829
Number of pages27
JournalMass Communication and Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Copyright Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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