Knowledge gap- Information Rich and Information Poor
Mass Media Role
Knowledge gap Theory
The mass media are diversified media technologies
that are intended to reach a large audience by mass
one of the great promises of mass communication is
that it provides people with the information need.
It has the potential of reaching people who have not
been reached by other means (poor and undeveloped
Example : Sesame Street (which combined information with
entertainment for pre-school children).
The Knowledge gap theory was first proposed by
Tichenor, Donohue, and Olien at the University of
Minnesota in the 70s.
Philip J. Tichenor
Clarice N. Olien
George A. Donohue
This theory is concerned mainly with “Information”
and “knowledge” and emphasizes that knowledge is
not distributed equally through out the society.
They believe that the increase of the information in
society is not evenly acquired by every member of
- People with higher socioeconomic status
tend to have better ability to acquire information
As the infusion of mass media information into
social system increases, segments of the population
with higher economic status tend to acquire this
at a faster rate than the lower status
segments, so that the gap in knowledge between
these two segments tend to increase rather than
People of both high and low socio-economic status
will gain in knowledge because of the additional
information, but that persons of higher socioeconomic status will gain more.
This would mean that the relative gap in knowledge
between the well-to- do and less well –off would
Relevant Social contact
Media target markets
Many of the technologies are very expensive.
Because of the cost, these technologies may be more
available to the well –to-do than to less-well-off.
If the access to these information services is not
universally available throughout the society, then
those already “information-rich” may reap the
benefits while the “information-poor” get relatively
A widening of this gap may lead to increase tension.
is digital divide?
The digital divide is the gap between people with
access to digital information technology, and those
that have limited access to digital information
The digital divide causes an increased knowledge
› People who lack access to the internet will not be
receiving the information provided by the internet
› People who have internet learn how to interpret
and understand information the information
The information Rich have access to information and
information technology equipment such as many TV and
radio channels , books, newspapers and journals and of
course computers and world wide web.
The information poor tend to not to have access to the
web and probably find out difficult to access relevant
books and journals . Even in general conversations a
discussion about a television program shown on satellite
Tv will be lost on people. The information Poor may lack
the skill or knowledge to access information.
The gap between the information rich and
information poor is often called as Digital Divide. It
is not a gap between those with lots of money and
The gap can exists between:1. Old and young
2. English speaking and non english speaking
3. Third world and developed world society.
4. Different cultural groups
5. Rural and Urban Locations.
According to Clement & Shade (1996), in Gurstein (2000), the
model aims to provide basis for universal access to the new
technologies and point to concrete steps that need to be
considered for achieving this objective and aiming to bridge the
In 1970s Tichenor, Donohue and olien at the
University of Minnesota, they conducted a research
to identify the knowledge gap among people
For that they divided into two groups : One with
individuals with a higher education , and one with
individuals who have lower education who know
Particularly the theory believes that people of lower
socio- economic status have little or no knowledge
about the public affair issues, are disconnected for
news events and important news discoveries, and
they usually don’t concerned about their lack of
Their study asked respondents of either college, high
school, or grade school education to answer the
question of “Whether astronauts would ever reach