Posted by: alansylvestre | October 6, 2014

Communication as a linear or circular approach

Throughout history, many people have thought of the communication field as a linear model, i.e. where journalist and communication professionals gather information and disseminate that information to the public. But I think that given the advent of modern technology and the digital era, communication is becoming a circular, or two-way, method of information gathering. In the days of purely print journalism, reporters and editors did not have large interactions with the public as news progressed throughout the day. They had to wait for letters to the editors to gauge the reception of their material by their respective audiences.

Given the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and other minute-by-minute ways of syndicating information to the public, I believe communication is transforming into a cyclical environment, where journalists give share information with the public, and can instantly see how they react; therefore altering their approach to storytelling to tailor it around the needs and wants of the public. The way in which the public receives their news can now be measured easily through analytics and comment sections, therefore transforming the communication platform among professionals to a point-to-mass-to-point model, replacing the traditional point-to-mass method of communication and placing emphasis on civic engagement.

I’m curious to see what your thoughts are on this. Is the traditional method of communication changing as technology changes?


  1. That’s a good question. I think that traditional methods of communication are certainly changing. Just look at the shift of newspaper content from traditional print papers to online subscriptions. What I really wonder after reading this post is how traditional news sources themselves have changed in response to this circular, immediate feedback loop. Has it made content creators more cautious about what they write, or has consumer response stayed relatively the same since the “letter to the editor” days?

  2. True, I agree that content providers have a much stronger relationship with their audience due to the availability of numerous two-way channels. Information is presented, the audience digests and responds, and the original content provider subsequently absorbs the feedback; in many cases, respond once again.

    The question then becomes how does the original content provider weed out the positive from the negative? The independently objective from the subjective? Is it possible for the ideology or integrity of the content provider to weaken or otherwise alter over a period of time due to an influx of skewed perspectives which are the loudest to respond to their content?

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