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This chapter
lays down the definitions of the various keywords and other important terms
that one must understand in the process of understanding the local press
scenario in Chennai. Communication and Community go hand in hand. It is what
gives the feeling of being a part of the community, being a part of the whole.
Communication has a ritual function, in that it involves “the creation,
representation and celebration of shared values,” and it is through the use of
communication that communities are “created, maintained, and
transformed” (Emke, 2001).  

Communication and Mass Communication

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As with any
studies that explore the wider arena of media and communication, one of the
first tasks is to understand and define the term ‘Communication’, which
even according to scholars is not easy to define. It is important and more so
for this particular project because, journalism is but a form of communication
and it is communication that binds the community together that is being
investigated by the researcher.

Communication has been
systematically studied since antiquity but it has become all the more important
in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is acknowledged by scholars
that the common lexicon of the verb, ‘to communicate’ is not easily captured
for scientific use. To that end, Frank Dance outlined a number of elements that
can be used to distinguish communication. He states that there are three points
of ‘critical differentiation’. The three dimensions according to him are as
follows. First, the level of observation or abstractness. Second is
intentionality followed by the third dimension – normative judgement (Littlejohn & Foss, 2008).

While the first
dimension, level of observation deals with definitions that are either
inclusive or restrictive, like the concept of communication as a process and a
system respectively. The second dimension works around the need for the purpose
for the communication to occur and the third concerns with the success,
effectiveness or accuracy.

This sentiment
is echoed by Dennis McQuail. According to him, ‘communication’ is a process,
which increases commonality but also requires elements of commonality for it to
occur at all (Haasan, 2013). Having established
that, there are various major forms of communication of which one is ‘mass
communication’. So, what is mass communication?

The term ‘mass
communication’ came into use in the late 1930s, but its essential features were
already well known and have not really changed since… The most obvious
feature of the mass media is that they are designed to reach the many (McQuail,
In short, mass communication happens when a medium broadcasts or multiplies
messages and takes it to a large audience simultaneously. In other words, mass
communication is said to have occurred “When an organisation employs a
technology as a medium to communicate with a large audience” (Baran & Davis, 2016).

This definition
of mass communication fits the purpose of the study on community or local
press. For all intents, one can establish that the ‘organisation’ to be local
press which publishes local community bilingual weekly and the medium and/or
technology is the newspaper itself.

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