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Journalism vs. Mass Communication: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 23, 2023
Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information, while mass communication is the process of disseminating messages to large audiences via various media channels.

Key Differences

Journalism primarily focuses on the production and dissemination of reports on recent events. It involves researching, writing, editing, and presenting news or news articles in various media (newspapers, television, radio, and the internet). Mass communication, on the other hand, is a broader field encompassing not only news but also entertainment, educational content, and persuasive messages, distributed through mediums like television, radio, internet, and print.
The essence of journalism is to inform the public about events and issues and to serve as a watchdog over public affairs. Journalists often strive for objectivity, accuracy, and fairness in their reporting. In contrast, mass communication covers a wider range of objectives, including entertainment, advertising, public relations, and propaganda, and may not always prioritize objectivity.
Journalism typically involves investigation and reporting on current events, trends, issues, and people. The work is often fast-paced, with a focus on timeliness and relevance to current events. Mass communication, however, can include the creation and distribution of evergreen content, educational material, or entertainment that is not necessarily tied to current events.
In journalism, the audience is often seen as citizens who need to be informed about their world, whereas in mass communication, the audience can be viewed more broadly as consumers, students, or general public with diverse needs and interests, including entertainment and education.
Journalists often adhere to ethical guidelines and journalistic standards, emphasizing fact-checking and credibility. Mass communication professionals, while also concerned with credibility, often employ techniques aimed at persuasion, audience engagement, and entertainment, which might include advertising and public relations strategies.

Comparison Chart

Primary Focus

Reporting news and current events.
Disseminating a wide range of messages to large audiences.


Informing the public, serving as a watchdog.
Educating, entertaining, and persuading the public.

Content Type

News articles, reports on current events.
News, entertainment, advertising, educational content.

Audience Perception

Viewers as citizens needing information.
Viewers as consumers, students, or a general audience with varied interests.

Ethical and Professional Standards

Emphasis on accuracy, objectivity, and ethical reporting.
Broader range, including persuasion and audience engagement strategies.

Journalism and Mass Communication Definitions


Journalism is reporting facts and presenting analysis of news stories.
Investigative journalism uncovered the corruption scandal.

Mass Communication

It's the process of conveying messages widely via media technologies.
Mass communication through online platforms reaches global audiences instantly.


Journalism is the activity of gathering and reporting news.
She pursued a career in journalism to report on international events.

Mass Communication

Mass communication is disseminating information to large audiences.
Social media has become a powerful tool for mass communication.


It is a profession of collecting, writing, and publishing news articles.
Journalism in wartime requires courage and ethics.

Mass Communication

Mass communication encompasses news, advertising, and entertainment.
The documentary served as an educational mass communication medium.


It involves creating content about current events for public dissemination.
His journalism work highlighted the issues in the political system.

Mass Communication

It involves using media channels to communicate to a broad audience.
Television ads are a form of mass communication.


Journalism serves as a watchdog over public affairs and issues.
Local journalism plays a key role in community awareness.

Mass Communication

Mass communication is used for education, information, and persuasion.
Public service announcements are an important aspect of mass communication.


The collecting, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles.


Material written for publication or broadcast as news
"the anonymous journalism he wrote from Washington" (Garry Wills).


The activity or profession of being a journalist.


The aggregating, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles for widespread distribution, typically in electronic publications and broadcast news media, for the purpose of informing the audience.


The style of writing characteristic of material in periodical print publications and broadcast news media, consisting of direct presentation of facts or events with an attempt to minimize analysis or interpretation.


The keeping of a journal or diary.


The periodical collection and publication of current news; the business of managing, editing, or writing for, journals, newspapers, magazines, broadcasting media such as radio or television, or other news media such as distribution over the internet; as, political journalism; broadcast journalism; print journalism.
Journalism is now truly an estate of the realm.


The branch of knowledge that studies phenomena associated with news collection, distribution, and editing; a course of study, especially in institutions of higher learning, that teaches students how to write, edit, or report news.


Newspapers and magazines collectively


The profession of reporting or photographing or editing news stories for one of the media


What media are used in mass communication?

Television, radio, internet, print media, and social media platforms.

Can mass communication be used for education?

Yes, it can be used for educational purposes and public service messaging.

What does mass communication include?

It includes disseminating news, entertainment, and advertising to large audiences.

How is advertising related to mass communication?

Advertising is a form of mass communication aimed at persuading consumers.

What is the main purpose of journalism?

To report news and inform the public about current events and issues.

How do journalists gather information?

Through research, interviews, and investigation.

Does mass communication always target a specific audience?

No, it often targets broad and diverse audiences.

Is objectivity important in journalism?

Yes, objectivity is a key principle in journalistic reporting.

What role do ethics play in journalism?

Ethics guide journalists to report truthfully, fairly, and responsibly.

Can journalism influence public opinion?

Yes, it can significantly shape public perspectives and discourse.

How do journalists ensure accuracy?

Through fact-checking, sourcing, and adhering to journalistic standards.

What is investigative journalism?

It's a deep examination of issues, often uncovering hidden truths.

How has digital media impacted journalism?

It has expanded reach and immediacy but also challenges like misinformation.

What is the difference in audience between journalism and mass communication?

Journalism often sees its audience as needing information, while mass communication targets more varied interests.

How do public relations fit into mass communication?

Public relations use mass communication to manage public perception of organizations.

What impact does journalism have on society?

It informs the public, influences opinions, and holds power to account.

Are social media platforms considered mass communication?

Yes, they are key channels in contemporary mass communication.

What skills are important in mass communication?

Effective communication, persuasion, and understanding of media platforms.

Is entertainment a part of mass communication?

Yes, entertainment is a significant component.

What challenges does journalism face today?

Challenges include misinformation, media bias, and digital transformation.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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