mass medium

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From mass (bulk, noun) + medium (agency of conveyance, noun).


  • enPR: măs mēʹdē-əm


mass medium (plural mass mediums or mass media)

  1. Any means of public communication that reaches a large audience.
    • 1904 July 6, “Daily Newspaper Investigations”, in Printers' Ink, volume 48, number 1, page 8:
      The Inquirer seems to be the morning paper that reaches the greatest number of the masses, but touches the classes hardly at all. The North American is second as a mass medium, perhaps, and Philadelphia authorities credit it with considerable circulation among women on account of its fashion news, furnished through the Wanamaker store.
    • 1923, S. M. Fechheimer, “Class Appeal in Mass Media”, in Noble T. Praigg, editor, Advertising and Selling, by 150 Advertising and Sales Executives, Garden City, NY: Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, chapter 5, page 238:
      It is obviously impossible to sell the average technical product to the several million readers of a big mass medium because they have neither the means nor the need for it.
    • 1940, ——, quoting Wesley I. Nunn (Advertising Manager, Standard Oil Company of Indiana), The Newspaper as an Advertising Medium; a Handbook of the Newspaper in North America: Its Beginnings, Its Development, Its Services to the Public, and Its Usefulness to Buyers of Advertising, New York: Bureau of Advertising, American Newspaper Publishers Association, page 113:
      Newspaper advertising is the backbone of our whole sales program. We look upon newspapers as a mass medium having practically universal acceptance by the public.
    • 1960, Marshall McLuhan, “Classroom Without Walls”, in Explorations in Communication[1], Boston: Beacon Press:
      The movie is to dramatic representation what the book was to the manuscript. It makes available to many and at many times and places what otherwise would be restricted to a few at few times and places. The movie, like the book, is a ditto device. TV shows to 50,000,000 simultaneously. Some feel that the value of experiencing a book is diminished by being extended to many minds. This notion is always implicit in the phrases “mass media,” “mass entertainment”—useless phrases obscuring the fact that English itself is a mass medium.