We accept

Harold Lasswell's Narrative Model

What is communication? According to G. G. Brown, it means the copy of information to one person to another, if it elicits self-confidence. However the information moved must be understandable to the recipient. " Therefore, in order to communicate, one can use the medium as a route to cross over a piece of information to another person but set up communication gets through wonderfully, it'll be totally up to the individual's interpretation. However, Lasswell's model does not take the audience's thoughts and opinions into account. This is one of the many weaknesses of the 64-year-old model. Communication is actually to provide and find information, persuade the readers and express our emotions. A model can help create ideas and indicate the relationships between your elements.

Lasswell came up with the model initially to answer five very important questions to ensure a clean communication process which contains who(Communicator), what(Meaning), which(Medium), whom(Recipient), and what effect(Impact).

Lasswell was encouraged by the initial mass communication model that the famous philosopher, Aristotle initiated and tried to improve the model by adding the route as a medium to displace 'occasion' that was previously proposed by Aristotle. Aristotle mainly emphasized on the role of the audience in his model and presenting and public speaking rather than interpersonal communication. For the occasion model, Aristotle recommended constructing speech for the different types of people at different occasion to obtain the response that are desired. The function of creating the speech is performed by the presenter. For every presenting and public speaking session, the loudspeaker must be completely prepared by making certain he understands the actual audiences' interests are before speaking. What the speaker says must have some sort of any affect to the audience and make an effort to persuade the audience along with his great ideas.

Thus, Lasswell's model concentrates more on verbal communication exactly like Aristotle's model. The model includes a speaker who passes on information to an audience through the mass media such as radio, tv, newspaper, publications, music and so many more to efficiently deliver the communication.

A model is usually used to describe the procedure of mass communication. For Lasswell's model, it is described in words and not in diagrams.

Who: Communicator(Control examination)

The first component of the model is control evaluation which involves the communicator to control the messages that are being handed down. This is usually the gatekeeper's responsibility. In a way, a gatekeeper could be keeping too much ability as they can choose to cover up information that may be important for the general public to know but may not be beneficial to their personal cause. Only the actual media choose to create may the public, thus so that it is unfair for the other party especially during elections where only those who possess greater political influence can benefit from. This rule is quite like the agenda setting theory. Regardless of how bias the problem may seem, gatekeeping is actually a very necessary tool to both public and marketing. With vital information that the marketing has, they would be able to educate the general public so they might not be ignorant towards their surroundings and starts off to be more aware about the existing worldwide issues.

The advertising would only transmit what they think is newsworthy and interesting to entice more visitors. Therefore, they tend to disregard the audience's safe practices and rights to all information. However, there are still many factors to be put into consideration before deciding about what to publish, the gatekeepers actually proceed through a lot of trouble researching about the owner of the newspapers company, their goals, the result they might have to face for submitting about certain issues, their political commitments and many more. The communicators might appear irresponsible and selfish with the business decisions but that is just the way certain gatekeepers work.

Says what: Note(Content evaluation)

The communication is the main topic of the content research. Maybe it's a piece of reports about the recent natural catastrophe in Japan or even gossips about whether or not Britney Spears is pregnant. Lasswell was particularly worried about the particular mass media's response towards the communication that was portrayed by the marketing. This resulted in the benefits to a new research called content research. Questions of representation were usually asked, it is particularly to make sure the women, and the blacks were properly symbolized on television set or tabloids. Other than that, Lasswell researched the role of population in the movies carefully for collecting statistics purposes. In Lasswell's research would entail calculating the amount of occasions of a specific representation and evaluate the results with a target measure like an official statistics to acquire accurate results. The solution may also be applied to our daily life and improve our interpersonal skills without having to consciously think too much about our communications. From clothes you wear to how you will smell, your appearance can inform people a lot about your personality, style in music and text messages about you. Each one of these examination would be useful to the media to construct a message accordingly. The media must be careful with this content of the meaning so that the public wouldn't normally be offended or upset.

In which channel: Medium(Marketing analysis)

The third element could be the medium that is also called the media evaluation. In media research, there may be more than one channel to pass on a message. These programs are investigated in media examination. Lasswell introduced a competent way to study the mass media known as press content analysis(1927). It had been previously introduced to review propaganda but it started being used to study the tasks of communication that was becoming a lot more prominent in movies through the 1920s and 1930s. Media content research then turned out to be the primary research method in cultural sciences and mass communication studies with the appearance of tv in the 1950s(Barton 2012). It is also used to research about representations of racism, women and violence in movies, tv set programmes, magazines and publications.

To whom: Device(Audience analysis)

As the media's responsibility is to construct and effect the audiences, the receiver performs a very important role in Lasswell's model. The first theory about the press and audiences is named the stimulus-response(SR) that was comes from behaviourism. The audience are perceived to be fickle-minded, easily inspired and must be shielded. The vulnerability image of the audience that was made limits their use of advertising and content. This is due to the communicator and medium's doing rather than the other way around. Lasswell often pay attention to the mass media, their content and audience and the consequences of the mass media on the audience(Nielson, 2004 )

Lasswell considered his audience to be the unaggressive type that will not like to interact with others, rather than likely to give in to the pressure merely to fit into population.

The second theory is functionalism that was originated from media sociology. Functionalism is the contrary of the stimulus-response theory as the audience are thought to be independent and with the capacity of making their own decisions. The people here are of blended culture and democratic so they are more laid-back about multimedia content and use. In functionalism, in order to fulfil their sociological and mental needs, they use advertising content. The partnership between the press and the audience are closely related as the multimedia affects the audience's behavior. This theory talks about how important the mass media is to the population. It brings order, balance, change, culture and values and many more. Without functionalism, the world would not learn how to act or speak correctly.

With what effect(Effect analysis)

According to Lasswell, there must be an effect at the end of every communication process. It is because then this will determine on set up communicator could change or inspire the audience's frame of mind. The audience's a reaction to the news would determine how successful the communication process was. The more believable the source is, the more likely it will influence the audience.

The way the model works

In 1948, Lasswell launched an interpretation of the media over a macro-sociological level. Functionalism in multimedia sociology explains interpersonal practices and organizations in conditions of the needs of world and people. Specializations that carry on certain functions are : 1) The security of the environment; 2) the relationship of the parts of society in giving an answer to the environment; 3) the transmitting of the communal heritage in one generation to another. The media do not merely supply facts and data, they provide information on the ultimate meaning and need for events. They act to confer legitimacy to advocacy categories and market leaders of social motions, whose success is dependant on attaining vast mainstream attention. The advertising functions as a catalyst to speed up issues onto open public agenda.

Lasswell theorized that culture and the marketing were determined by each other. He said that world used mass media as a security tool to screen salient information around their environment. Monitoring of the surroundings is the collection and circulation of information by the marketing. This function is easily seen on information programs and newspapers. For example, As mass media report illegal activities moving in the society, it awakes the awareness of people. Also, the info is allocated to everyone in the culture, rousing equalitarianism. However, they have side effects. Reporting the international occasions of certain countries may endanger the political stability of the countries and could even induce over-tension among society.

Lasswell state governments that "If the stimuli acquiring and disseminating habits operate smoothly, the number of parts of the animal work in concert in mention of the enviroment ('nourishing', 'fleeing', 'attacking')". Relationship of parts of society identifies the interpretive or analytical activities of the multimedia. It functions to interpret issues and present solutions to the general public, which alternatives eventually affects the forming of the public's behaviour. Columns, editorial articles, criticisms and explanations are cases. The correlation function differentiates itself from monitoring function by delivering subjectivity as the Surveillance Function supposedly sustains objectivity. Correlation function serves during editing and enhancing process, deciding 'what kind of media to choose', 'which information to offer more importance', and 'where to highlight'. The medial side ramifications of this function is the fact that it can declare news without fairness. The papers may exclude important communal problems. This brings limited interpretation of information and blocks the development of social revolution. This also drops the individuals' capacity of self-interpreting and self-criticizing.

Transmission of the interpersonal heritage identifies the power of the marketing to communicate ideals, norms, and styles across time and between organizations. It's the function that spreads the common norms and ideals among the public. This action is called socialization, which is helpful for the unification of a country. As residents are being handled with common norms and new ethnical practices of others, they can grow social adaptation skills. The function is also effective as an educational tool by providing valuable information to the mass, or as a rules tool by avoiding the publicity of information on criminal offense suspects. Individuals who arrive in international countries can get acquainted with the new culture by this function. However, getting only the organised kinds of information and the uniformed civilizations may lowered cultural variability and real human creativity.

Pros and cons


As for the great things about the narrative model, it is stated to be always a very clear-cut and simple model to comprehend that may be put on many communication theories. Lasswell was main few who came up with the concept and it is still being consumed till today.


The model only assumes that there would be an effect by the end but does not worry about if the result is good or bad. What the audience take into account the message was not taken into account so the improvement of the communication process can be non-existent. Its strengths and weaknesses are also due to it being a linear model. As easy as it looks, it does not allow for a two-way communication where the speaker can get an instantaneous feedback. The audience can lose interest pretty quickly if they have to pay attention to the presenter for a long time particularly if the presenter has a monotone voice and is talking about a boring theme. Those that has a very short attention span and is not a good listener would face that kind of problem.

Other than that, Lasswell did not think about the surroundings where in fact the audience might be facing. For example, audience that listens to the radio for daily information can face exterior distractions in the automobile such as thunder, audio of the car horn, or the audio from the automobile engine. These are noises that require to be resolved in order to get the accurate statistics of people who provided a desired response. There are also cases of those who may have a natural stand on current issues, thus not producing an effect. A lot of assumptions are created without verifying the results first that the results obtained is probably not very reliable. Which means model is not very realistic as it does not fully represent the physical truth.

Application in real life

According to Lasswell, there are usually three types of communicators in each world, the first type are those who are involved with politics such as the foreign advertising and diplomats while those who compare the state governments' reactions to the culture are called journalists. The last type of communicator are called the teachers, these are the individuals who spread information from the aged generation to younger generation(Lasswell 1948).

Targeting an organization helps it be easier for the marketing to specialize through advertising. It helps you to save them time and money to figure the particular latest pattern is through studies in order to maximise their profits. Along with the growth of technology nowadays, there tend to be satellite television broadcast and Internet channels available unlike during Lasswell's time where there were only a few types of advertising channels like tv set and radio. The public may easily obtain information which may seem limited on television from the web so it is now harder for the gatekeeper to enforce the agenda setting up theory on the public and change the audience's mind. This is because the band of audiences have become more separated due to their personal desire to the sort of marketing they choose to focus on. The killings at the Batman leading in Colorado can be used as an example for the narrative model. The communicator could be the media, the message would be the info about the quantity of men and women who died during the taking pictures, the medium would be Huffington Post(online newspapers), the device would be the public and lastly the effect would be emotions of distress by the individuals about the event.

Lasswell's narrative model is one of the initial forms of communication models and also the simplest. Lasswell's model could also be applied to all manner of other varieties of communication, from telephone calls to web discussions, etc. It acts as the basis of the development of future communication models. A whole lot of improvements can be produced to the model. Firstly, it should take into account the way audiences may perceive and interpret the subject matter that is being relayed to them, it will also look at the difference in circumstances that the communication is occurring, and whether or not the message grows to the receiver by any means, why would the audience want to search out that one information? It should also make recommendations to ideas like framework, "noise" (if the subject matter is received accurately and obviously and can be completely interpreted by the receiver), goal and feedback.

More than 7 000 students trust us to do their work
90% of customers place more than 5 orders with us
Special price $5 /page
Check the price
for your assignment