The term “mass media” was developed in the mid-20th century. It reflected the nature of the media industries at that point, when a handful of newspapers, radio and television networks, and film studios created standardized content to appeal to wide audiences—“the masses.”
While the ideas that the early scholars, observers, and critics of media still inform and shape our contemporary understandings, they are insufficient in thinking about the role of media in today's society. Economic imperatives have led to the creation of niche, rather than mass, audiences. Digital technologies enable audiences to act not as simply passive consumers, but as active “prosumers.” Globalization has transformed the ways culture and commodities are produced and distributed.
Thus, “media studies” allows for a broader conceptualization of the role media play in our contemporary society. It more accurately reflects the scholarship our faculty do. And it better frames the questions and debates that are relevant to CSUSM students as they develop media literacy skills necessary for 21st century employment and citizenship.
Check out the Media Studies pages