We teach the same models of communication today that we taught forty years ago. This can and should be regarded as a mark of the enduring value of these models in highlighting key elements of that process for students who are taking the process apart for the first time. It remains, however, that the field of communication has evolved considerably since the 1960's, and it may be appropriate to update our models to account for that evolution. This paper presents the classic communication models that are taught in introducing students to interpersonal communication and mass communication, including Shannon's information theory model (the active model), a cybernetic model that includes feedback (the interactive model, an intermediary model (sometimes referred to as a gatekeeper model of the two-step flow), and the transactive model. It then introduces a new ecological model of communication that, it is hoped, more closely maps to the the range of materials we teach and research in the field of communication today. This model attempts to capture the fundamental interaction of language, medium, and message that enables communication, the socially constructed aspects of each element, and the relationship of creators and consumers of messages both to these elements and each other.
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