Communication process consists of a progression of stages by which message is transmitted from sender to receiver. The usual process of communication includes sender, encoding, message, channel, and receiver, decoding, and feedback. Mass communication process also entails some sequential steps to transmit a message. However, the process of mass communication is somewhat different from interpersonal communication or face to face communication process. Researchers have identified four elements of mass communication process. These are-
Source: Mass communication process begins with a specific source that has a message. The source can be an individual, an institution, a company or government.
Communicator: The second element of the process is communicator who collects a message from the source. Communicator is also termed as encoder. He plays a vital role in mass communication process. He is professional, trained and experienced person who develops the message in a way that the intended receiver can understand. A very simple piece of information may get enormous appeal to the audience due to the communicator. The communicator may be a reporter, journalist, lyricist, scriptwriter, author, official spokespersons and so on.
Message: Message is the actual information or news to be communicated to the audience. The message may be a movie, a novel, a recovered song and a billboard advertisement.
Channel: The channels are the mass media. These are the vehicles that transmit the message to the audience. Media of mass communication are newspapers, magazines, posters, lifter, radio, television, films etc.
Editor: Once a message is developed and the channel of transmission is selected, it is handed over to the editor. Editor is also an expert person. He controls the channel of mass communication. He also reviews the message of the communicator to ensure successful transmission of the message through the selected channel.
Audiences: Audiences are the ultimate recipient of the message of mass communication. They are large, diverse and heterogeneous in nature. Audiences differ in relation to their education, age, gender, income, profession, social status, geographical location, religion, beliefs, values, opinions etc. some of the audiences receive the message directly while others indirectly. It is also seen that some audiences are attentive while some are inattentive.
In mass communication, feedback or reaction of the audience can occur in numerous ways. The receivers can send their response either to the communicator or the source of information or to the editor. If the communicator gets the receiver’s feedback, he sends it to the sources of information through another channel. In the same way, the editor can also send the receiver’s response to the communicator by employing another medium. The receivers can also exchange their responses to each other. The feedback or reaction of the audiences depends on their learning, experience, ideologies and group affiliations. Audiences of mass communication are likely to exhibit diverse reactions to the same message.