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INTRODUCTION
The characterization of modern societies as ‘information societies’ has become commonplace when recent technological developments and the future of our social environment are discussed. In general, all societies are constituted by communication, as all social processes are performed by the exchange of information. But more than ever before, the control of infor- mation has now become the central determinant of political power and social structure (Bell, 1973; Salvaggio, 1989). Success and failure of indi- vidual and collective actors alike depend increasingly on their ability to accumulate and distribute information. Because of the growing complexity of modern societies, public communication cannot be left to the sponta- neous intuition of do-it-yourself campaigners. Rather, it needs systematic planning in order to reach its goals. According to the rule that ‘there is noth- ing more practical than a good theory’ we believe that a theoretical under- standing of the communication process can provide the practitioner with useful criteria for planning and designing campaigns.
In this chapter we present an overview of major concepts of communica- tion theory and their application to public communication campaigns. The focus will be on the ‘input’ processes of communication, i.e. how messages are conveyed to the recipient and how the content of messages is con- structed. ‘Output’ processes, i.e. how messages are perceived by the recipi- ent and to what extent they can influence attitudes and behaviour, will be discussed in other chapters (see chapters 10 and 11).


Original text

INTRODUCTION
The characterization of modern societies as ‘information societies’ has become commonplace when recent technological developments and the future of our social environment are discussed. In general, all societies are constituted by communication, as all social processes are performed by the exchange of information. But more than ever before, the control of infor- mation has now become the central determinant of political power and social structure (Bell, 1973; Salvaggio, 1989). Success and failure of indi- vidual and collective actors alike depend increasingly on their ability to accumulate and distribute information. Because of the growing complexity of modern societies, public communication cannot be left to the sponta- neous intuition of do-it-yourself campaigners. Rather, it needs systematic planning in order to reach its goals. According to the rule that ‘there is noth- ing more practical than a good theory’ we believe that a theoretical under- standing of the communication process can provide the practitioner with useful criteria for planning and designing campaigns.
In this chapter we present an overview of major concepts of communica- tion theory and their application to public communication campaigns. The focus will be on the ‘input’ processes of communication, i.e. how messages are conveyed to the recipient and how the content of messages is con- structed. ‘Output’ processes, i.e. how messages are perceived by the recipi- ent and to what extent they can influence attitudes and behaviour, will be discussed in other chapters (see chapters 10 and 11).

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