Print Media Evolution: The trend affected by media technologies
Print Media Evolution: The trend affected by media technologies
Communication is one of the major underpinnings of society - Print Media Evolution: The trend affected by media technologies introduction. Communication is not only a human activity, but a function that gives distinction to how people interact with each other, influence one another, and grow and develop into societies that share the same knowledge and encourage more dialogue.
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Communication channels are essential in information dissemination and exchange. There are several traditional communication channels. Aside from interpersonal communication which engages two or more personal interaction, several forms of mediums are used to converse essential information in the society. There is the broadcast media that encompass both radio and television and is often characterized with the application of technology in mass media, and the print media which is associated with traditional mediums such as newspapers and magazines.
The History of Print Media
The use of print media to spread news and information to the general public started long centuries before during the Roman Civilization with the Roman Acta Diuma in 59 B.C, the earliest recorded newspaper.(Anonymous) It features important social and political events and orders to be implemented in cities under Julius Caesar’s reign. Written on large white boards and posted on public places, it evolved into the first hand-written news sheets which appeared in Beijing during the 8th century. It was not until the 14th century when Johann Gutenberg developed the printing press which started a new era in the print media. (Anonymous)Newsletters were a popular source of information and were being predominantly circulated in German cities. By the first half of the 17th century, newspapers emerged as frequent publications and the first modern newspapers were influential in most European countries. In the latter half of the 17th century, there is the dramatic shift on news content as local issues became the predominant focus of the publications. There was still censorship that dominated the print media that discourage opposition from contributing ideas. It was in 1766 that Sweden became the first country which passed a law protecting the freedom of the press.(Barber) The invention of the telegraph in 1844 also influenced the print media as news can be transferred from one point to the other in a matter of minutes. There is more timely and relevant reporting. (Barber)
The golden age of print media was recorded in the 19th century when newspaper became the primary means of information dissemination and acquisition.(Barber)Many significant people contributed during this period along with the establishment of huge publishing empires. Figures such as William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer not only dominated the print media industry but also achieved wealth and power. The golden age of print media also encompassed many achievements in the form of content and function. Newspapers had become influential in revolutionary propaganda from the European countries to Asian countries. (Barber)
The print media industry was challenged by the emergence of the broadcast media during the 1920’s. The print media was forced to re-evaluate their role in the society as the primary information source. The emergence of an alternative media challenged the print media industry to broaden their area of topics, content and stories which provided more in-depth coverage. The print media was again challenged with the emergence of the television, obviously a more powerful medium. 1940 and 1990 are years that witnessed the struggle of most publishing companies in cutting down their circulation in the country. The newspaper industry did not succumb to these challenges as major newspaper industries reformatted their content and even used colored printing to level off with television. (Barber)
The Death of Print Media?
The technological revolution experienced today by societies creates new challenges and opportunities for the often regarded traditional media, the print media. The print media industry has witnessed the changes times and accessibility of people on information. Today, information is greatly accessible to many people through the revolutionary adaptation on the use of Internet. There is the posing question on the viability of the print media to sustain new technological advances and the changing times. The amount and immediacy of information accessibility granted by the Internet is a great challenge, however, newspapers and magazines still remain one of the more popular and powerful medium for both reporting and analysis of current events and situations.
There are many challenges posed by the influence of the Internet in the print media industry. For one, in terms of volume and variety of writing, information can be readily found online.(Dyer) The emergence of “blog” and web journals also entails opportunity for common people to create and publish their own work. People have the opportunity to publish their ideas and information today unlike several years ago when writing and publishing is a privilege only available to the person holding writing as a profession. “Blogging” has also become a source of income in terms of advertising that helps many people. This new form of information exchange and transfer creates a notion of more freedom and accountability. However, as Jon Landman, deputy managing editor of the New York Times, puts it, the “blogging” phenomenon does not mean the end of the reporters. There still exists that line that separates amateur journalism and professional journalism. (Dyer)
Aside from the threat received by the print media industry, in particular the newspapers and magazines, another challenged media are books. Encyclopedia for example is placed under scrutiny with the emergence of Wikipedia, an online reference tool that is widely available and can be edited by anybody. Despite the revolutionary achievement of Wikipedia, it is still challenged in terms of its credibility and integrity. In time, reading hard-bound books and visiting the library to smell ancient covers and pages will become an extinct activity for societies. The electronic book versions will make hard to find books accessible to more people. Publishing electronic version of books has received much criticism, one of which is violation of copyright laws and the question on how this event shall consequently cause changes in the moral culture of societies. (Dyer)
Several traditional print media industries decided not to contest the changing times, rather, to adapt and fit into the entirely new scenario.(Elliot) One example is the New York Times. Despite several management crisis experienced by many publishing companies, the New York Times saw the potential in adapting to the wide-use of the Internet. The company is now following a principle that they do not care whatever media people choose to acquire information, so long as people get it. The company had expanded their content into new formats such as blogs, discussion forums and photography. According to Jon Landman, people will benefit from these changes as information can be acquired whenever, wherever, and in whatever form people want. (Dyer)
There lies also the question on how new media technologies affects income source of the print media industry. Most newspapers and magazines still depend on printed advertising, or classified advertisements. Although the existing crisis persists in decreased circulation activities and decreased advertising, it has forced newspapers to publish online and get advertising funds online.
Dan Okrent named as Time Inc. Editor – at –large in 1999, delivered an editorial piece at Columbia University regarding the death of print. In his analysis, there are no more questions in the death of print. The print media is declaratively stated as dead. Why is this so? In the context of his editorial, the print media in due time will become an ancient technology like how in modern times we view horse and carriage transport as old. He explained that the extent to which new media has influenced the print media is incomprehensible. The effects to which the Internet and other new media influence current media should not be underestimated. Every technology has evolved and made available, and cheaper through time. The technology exists and thus guarantees more developments in the future. His second argument revolves around the sentimental value to which we connect the traditional mediums such as print. In our societies today, there is a hesitation that the modern technology being adapted will replace the more gratifying and physical, tangible and relevant connection with any printed medium.(Okrent) This brings us to the realization that although the development of new media is here and now, there still lays the pessimism to hurriedly advance into the new media because the print media industry has long penetrated our societies and had become an integral part of our history.
The impact of new media in our societies is seen as both a threat and an opportunity for the print media industry. It becomes a threat if the print media industry loses its integrity to become one source of crucial information. New media however can also open new opportunities for the print media industry to thrive, to adapt to new changes and caters to those people who still welcome the traditional forms of media.
20, 30 or 50 years from now, even communication will evolved into a more technologically driven and influenced phenomenon. Although integral part of the communication process is still there, (the source, the message, the channel, the receiver and the effect), traditional communication mediums will definitely be characterized as more advanced and complicated. Like any technology, it shall emerge and pass as times change. The manner in which people shall adapt to the changes and the events of the future will still depend on their preferences to adhere to what technology are present to them.
Newspapers, magazines and books hold special sentimental values to each one of us. Newspapers give timeliness, a magazine perspective and a book lasting values. (Okrent)Through these seemingly traditional media, people shared and exchanged information that had defined history in one way or another. Each traditional print media has entity and value, to which each one of us has a preference. These traditional forms of media had held societies together, whether it may be the news today, sharing common field of interests, or contributing to great knowledge.
The print media industry has sustained many challenges over the years. From simple publicized materials and announcements, to more society- concerned issues and localized topics, to revolutionary propaganda, the print media has defined and adapted its institution in the modern society. Although it has been challenged by the new media both content and context wise, new media “replacing” the traditional print media is still to be witnessed in the coming years. Although many have predicted that the print media, in traditional forms such as pen and paper will become inexistent in the future, many are still optimistic that it shall thrive in the coming months because of its unique approach in delivering messages to its audiences. The print media industry may have adapted to current new trends and media but it will not however prove to be one of the traditional forms of communication that shall remain in history books and ancient literary pages. The print media shall encompass new media and again, like it always had, evolve into a new form and re-evaluate its purpose in information dissemination and as an alternative means to promote and instigate development within and among existing societies.
Anonymous. “Newspapers: A Brief History.” (2002). http://www.wan-press.org/print.php3?id_article=2821. January 14 <http://www.wan-press.org/print.php3?id_article=2821>.
Barber, Phil. “A Brief History of Newspapers.” Historic Nespapers and Early Imprints (2002).
The End. 2006. David Giddens, August 21-23.
Elliot, Stuart. “So Much for Rumors of Print’s Demise.” June 22 ed: The New York Times, 2006. 1.
Okrent, Dan. “The Death of Print?” (1999): 1 pp. dirckhalstead.org. January 13 <http://dirckhalstead.org/issue0002/okrent.htm>.