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The fourth edition of this essential text provides a complete and well-rounded introduction to the study of media and communication in the modern world. It explores the evolution of media and communication and surveys a full range of media theories, using these perspectives to explain social issues and navigate the constantly shifting media landscape in the 21st century. The new edition reflects significant contemporary developments relevant to the field, including the explosion of internet use, the growth of social media and major changes in the journalism industry in recent years. Still covering all of the key topics for introductory media and communication courses, the text draws on current and widely-recognised examples so that students can relate theory to their everyday experiences of media. Written in a lucid and engaging style, the chapters critically examine the role, ownership and constraints of media production, but helpfully clarify terminology and point students towards further reading and discussion topics along the way. The book stands as an invaluable resource for all students of media studies, communication studies and journalism.