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Mass Media, Lecture 1. A Brief History of Mass Media

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Ron Jacobs

on 5 October 2015

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Transcript of Mass Media, Lecture 1. A Brief History of Mass Media

Main questions for today:
1. What are some of the key dates in the history of media technology?
2. What is the basic history of the US media industry?
3. What is really new in today's media environment?
media shape our social understandings
and expectations
media shape social relationships,
occupations, and professions
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr
invention of the printing
press (Gutenberg)
1837: telegraph
1839: photography
1876: telephone
1895: first radio transmission (Marconi)
1896: motion picture (Lumiere)
1897: cathode ray tube (Braun)
1927: first movie with sound (The Jazz Singer)
1941: first commercial TV broadcast
1949: first network TV broadcast in the US
1956: VCR
1969: internet (Pentagon)
1990: World Wide Web
1. media technologies are often developed far in advance of their ultimate use,
and often are intended for purposes very different than their ultimate destination
2. The development of mass media as an industry of popular culture is really a
pehnomenon that takes off in the 20th century
Development of the modern press (1840-1920)

Radio, television, and the rise of the broadcasting industry (1920-1970)

Creation of media conglomerates (1970-
Before 1840, newspapers were mostly political tracts intended for a small and elite readership of partisans
by 1920, the newspaper had become the first real mass medium in the US
tremendously profitable
emphasized impartial information, with a particular focus on political and economic information
established primarily as an entertainment medium
two key phases:
radio (1920-1950)
television (1950-)
Media Use In the US, 2010
What is Really New:
1. Global multimedia synergy,
convergence culture

2. user-generated content
3. Always connected
How do these new developments get connected to existing patterns of media production and consumption?
How are these patterns connected to changes and differences in media policy?
How is the US different from other parts of the world?
But, our social relationships and social understandings also have an impact on media
1973: first mobile phone
Extra Credit options
go to Sage study website:
Select a reading that is not assigned on the syllabus
answer the questions
Good answers = 1 point
mediocre answers = 1/2 point
can do as many as five extra credit assignments
must complete the assignment before the test covering that chapter
Full transcript