3.3 Message Purpose

Another important consideration when clarifying a message task is to determine the ultimate purpose of the message. Messages fulfill seven functions:

  1. they provide information about the availability of products and services: advertising and publicity
  2. they entertain: special features, advertising
  3. they inform: basic news, advertising, publicity
  4. they provide a forum for ideas: editorials, interpretive stories, documentaries, commentaries
  5. they educate: depth stories, self-help stories and columns, informative pieces, advertising with product features and characteristics
  6. they serve as a watchdog on government: investigative pieces and straight coverage of trials and other public events
  7. they persuade: advertising, publicity, editorials and commentaries (ftnt 2)

Communicators pay attention to these expectations as they seek information for messages. In order for a message to have audience appeal, it must meet the audience’s expectations in purpose and form. Analyzing the context for a message includes the task of clearly understanding the purpose of the message. All of the subsequent information-gathering steps are affected by this basic requirement.