Mass Communications Research and the Study of Popular Culture: An Editorial Note on a Possible Future for This Journal

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In the Spring 1959 issue of the Public Opinion Quarterly, Bernard Berelson explains why he thinks that communication research may be dead. The pioneers in this field, he says, have abandoned their original interests and those who have followed neither measure up to the pioneers nor have they anything very new to contribute. In passing, he cites the demise of the Committee on Communication at the University of Chicago as symbolic of this state of affairs. In their replies, Berelson's critics say, in effect, that it is uncomfortable but challenging to have to protest their own obituary. They cite numerous areas of inquiry and a variety of studies which, for them, are indicative of a continued vitality in the field of communication research. In the proliferation of examples, however, I think that the critics missed a chance to point out to Mr. Berelson exactly what is and what is not dead. By granting that something has happened to the pioneering type of communication research, it becomes possible to point out more clearly what is alive.

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Studies in Public Communication
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