Mass Communication

Mass Communication

Living in a Media World

Ralph E. Hanson


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Transform your students into smart, savvy media consumers.

A book that students find fun to read and instructors consider educationally valuable, Mass Communication: Living in a Media World provides the media literacy principles and critical thinking skills that students need to become self-aware media consumers. Known for his storytelling approach, bestselling author Ralph E. Hanson uses examples drawn from everyday life to explain the many dimensions of mass media that operate in our society. This newly revised Eighth Edition highlights how social and digital media, video games, and the global pandemic are changing the face of media today.


  • New chapter opening vignettes reflect the newest developments in media news such as how the story broke in early 2020 about the novel coronavirus, how Amazon founder Jeff Bezos became the owner of the Washington Post, and how COVID-19 transformed the movie and sports industries.
  • Updated coverage of the latest shifts in the media business world, including the increased use of  tv and movie streaming services and popular social media apps, as well as how these new technologies shape advertising, media law and ethics.
  • Seven Secrets They Don't Want You To Know About The Media has been updated to reflect the growing importance of mobile and social media.
  • New chapter on social media and video games explores how interactive technologies affect relationships through non-stop global connections and information-sharing on everything from news, politics and gaming.


  • Chapter-opening vignettes exemplify chapter themes by engaging students with current stories about the people at the center of newsworthy events.
  • Illustrated timelines showcase the development of mass communication in a broader historical context.
  • Test Your Media Literacy boxes ask students to read about current research, interviews, data, or events, and then answer questions that encourage critical thinking to elicit analysis of the topic presented.
  • Test Your Visual Media Literacy boxes showcase images from various media,  seeking instinctive reactions from readers, before providing context and questions that encourage critical assessment.
  • Review questions at the end of every chapter encourage students to apply critical thinking to examples of mass communication from literature and popular culture.   
  • The Seven Secrets are highlighted to underscore the importance of media literacy principles.
  • A glossary helps reinforce key concepts.


Ralph E. Hanson:

Ralph E. Hanson is a professor in the communication department at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he teaches courses in writing, blogging, reporting, and mass communication. Previously, he was on the faculty at West Virginia University and Northern Arizona University. He has been teaching introduction to mass communication for more than twenty-five years, and he has worked extensively on developing online courses and degree programs. Hanson has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and anthropology from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in journalism from Iowa State, and a doctorate in sociology from Arizona State University. He recently completed a book chapter on the long-standing connections between the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the NFL’s Super Bowl. When Ralph is not out on his motorcycle riding to places a long way from Nebraska, he is blogging on mass communication issues at He tweets as @ralphehanson.