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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER THREE
Historical and Cultural Context Historical perspective helps us anticipate the future. Examples: effects of media content on audiences (similar concerns have been raised in response to the emergence of several media industries) technological life cycles (innovations in media distribution systems have diffused throughout society in similar ways) We chart the diffusion of messagesystem innovations in terms of the proportion of those in a given population who have adopted the innovation at a given time. 100% 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 | . | . | . | . | . | . | . | . | . | . |___________________________ TIME Milestones in the history of communication: Language Humans developed language. When and how humans developed language is inherently debatable. Writing The oldest surviving evidence of writing is pictographs preserved on Sumerian (modernday Iraq) clay tablets dating to 3500 B.C. The alphabet based on sounds instead of signs emerged in ancient Phoenicia (modernday Syria and Lebanon), traveled to Greece by 800 B.C., and then later to Rome. The Chinese developed paper by 100 A.D. Another 1,000 years passed before paper was widely used in Europe. The social impact of writing: created a division in society (those who could read and write, and those who could not) contributed the requisite record keeping necessary for the development of empires (e.g., accounting data) defined knowledge transmitted across generations in terms of what was written and stored in libraries contributed to the development of a consistent set of laws based on precedent. As trade increased throughout Europe, writing shops emerged for merchants, lawyers, and others who needed permanent records of events. Monks also reproduced religious books by hand. Each handwritten copy took as long to produce as the first. Few could afford to own personal copies of handwritten books. Printing
The oldest surviving book produced by printing via raised relief (a raised surface on a block of wood) dates to China in 868 A.D. Moveable metal type cast in copper or bronze was produced in Korea in 1241. Around 1450, in Germany, Johann Gutenberg and his partner Johann Fust began mixing lead and other metals to create individual letters of moveable type. Today Gutenberg is recognized as the inventor of record of modern printing via moveable metal type in Europe. Compared with the oral and scribal culture that preceded it, the printing culture that followed Gutenberg permitted the reproduction of manuscripts in exact form in multiple copies at low cost. Printing contributed to the spread of vernacular languages throughout Europe facilitated the sweep of the Protestant Reformation across Europe in the 16th century facilitated the sharing of knowledge by disconnecting communication from transportation routes, thereby speeding up scientific progress encouraged exploration and New World immigration contributed to an increase in the number of universities and students contributed to the development of news as we know it today via the newspapers of the 17th century Perspective on technological determinism, the belief that technology drives historical change "Contribute," "facilitate," and "encourage" do not mean the same thing as "cause." Printing contributed to complex phenomena such as the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment, but printing was not the sole cause of any. Three media industries emerged from innovations in printing technology. book publishing newspaper publishing magazine publishing Annihilators of time and space: The electric telegraph and the telephone The telegraph and telephone drew upon 19th century advances in the science of electricity. The industries that formed around telegraphy and telephony became common carriers of pointtopoint messages, rather than media of mass communication. A significant distinction Common carriers are delivery oriented industries (they deliver content produced by other industries). The media of mass communication are content oriented industries (they produce messages in various forms). The electric telegraph essentially the first method of communication faster than transportation (carrier pigeons, at 35 m.p.h., were the fastest means of transportation when telegraphy began) established the Congressional precedent of organizing subsequent U.S. communications functions (e.g., telephone, radio, television) as profitseeking businesses created a sense of national unity and international perspective. The telephone like the telegraph, conquered space and time unlike the telegraph, its use required no special skills introduced, via the switchboard, the notion of connecting one user with many others Media industries that emerged from innovations in telegraphy and telephony include: wire services (collective reporting organizations such as the Associated Press) that shared information among newspaper editors via telegraph circuits networks that shared programs among radio stations via telephone circuits Photography and motion pictures Photography emerged from 19th century advances in chemistry that enabled a surface to be permanently altered after focusing an image on it. Louis Daguerre and others refined chemical photography in the mid 1800s. The camera emerged before film in the form of the camera obscura, a device dating at least to the late Renaissance (p. 61, 10th ed.). For motion pictures, George Eastman developed a strong film on a base of cellulose nitrate, 35 millimeters in width, with sprocket holes to advance through a camera developed by Thomas Edison. Filmmaking emerged as a media industry around 1900. Soundrecording technology Around the time photography was possible, experimenters also began to devise methods of recording and playing back imprints of sound. Sound recording also emerged as a media industry around 1900. Wireless communication by radio developed along with 19th century advancements in physics began as a method of extending telegraphy and telephony to ships at sea Radio broadcasting to the public emerged as a media industry during the 1920s following a period of accelerated technological development during WWI became the first mass medium to bring realtime news and entertainment directly into U.S. households Television broadcasting to the public In the early 20th century, scientists explored both mechanical and electronic processes for television. Electronic television was perfected during the 1930s as a way to add pictures to radio programming. Electronic television broadcasting to the public diffused nationwide after WWII. The Digital Revolution (our contemporary way of life): divided media content into atoms vs. bits divided media industries into brickandmortar and cyberspace components created new revenue streams for established media industries followed by "digital divides" among both domestic and international audiences empowered individual audience members Characteristics of today's mobile media wireless portable connected to the Internet or worldwide telephone network blurring the distinction between mass and interpersonal communication Two patterns will become apparent as we study media industries this semester: History teaches us that it has been difficult to predict the ultimate use people will find for a technological innovation. The fundamental business functions of media industries remain stable, regardless of changes in the distribution systems by which messages are distributed. "Business opportunities always come from the clever application of technology, not technology for its own sake." Andy Grove, CEO, Intel Corp. (quoted in Fortune, 2/4/08, p. 28) New messagedistribution systems change, but rarely replace, existing media industries. STOP! END OF LECTURE MATERIAL COVERED ON THE FIRST EXAM! ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2011 for the course COM 250 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.
- Spring '08
- Mass Communication