Logically enough the authors begin with a chronological sequence of events in the study of mass communication. They talk about the theories, assumptions, and personalities who shaped the field in its infancy. Various media forms are given attention in subsequent chapters.
A seque is made to viewing media holistically from a systems perspective. From here we're taken to a discussion of media effects. This section of the book starts with the assumptions of the magic bullet theory in the early days of media research. It is explained how these assumptions and early theoretical works proved inadequate to explain the complexities of the actual workings of media upon audiences.
In the final section of the book media in contemporary society is addressed. This book accomplishes its goal of providing a history of media research and bringing readers up to date on current theoretical thought.