chapter  1
Shaping the American Mass Media: A Brief Overview
Pages 17

T o understand the origins of both our contemporary mass media as well as the theories that explain their processes and their influences on their audiences, it is necessary to look back at where they came from and how they developed. It does not take any great flight of imagi-

nation to realize that the mass communication system we have today is quite different from what we have had in the past. Similarly, it is obvious that our system will continue to develop, and what we have in the future will not be the same as what we now have. For that reason, we begin with a historical overview of how our mass communication system developed within an ever-changing society to produce what we have today.