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Introduction to Mass Communication

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The rapid growth of print media in almost all the major parts of the world was bound to create
across-the-board changes in the life of people for it was after centuries that people were exposed to secular
ideas and the grip of the church in most parts of the Europe and America in manipulating social life started
losing ground. Since the massive change in communication occurred at a time when industrial revolution
also brought about change of thought process, the role of media triggered a bigger than expected changes in
the social life of the masses.


The first to benefit from the printed words was the language itself. Due to distance and the
literature getting into limited hands, common people were far from knowing a standard language of their
land. The printing of books and letters in high number standardized the languages and make them an
effective tool of communication by setting certain meanings of words, phrases, symbols and signs. It was
due to print impression that some of the sign got international recognition.

Economic ideas

The breaking down of church’s control over written communication, and involving more people in
the print communication by the early newspapers and periodicals, money generation methods and
increasing trade became common topics. The growth of economies due to understanding of monetary and
fiscal matters by more people further weaken the forces of religion in the west and the society continued to
bend towards a material world.

Knowledge of science and technology

The newspapers and manuals proved a great success in highlighting the work of scientists and new
ideas on technologies. Spreading the science ideas across the European continent, the print media worked
as a catalyst to gear up the industrialization which was based on the new technologies worked out during the
18th centuries. The invention of steam engine in return gave boost to the print media by spreading the
printed words to far flung areas and thus encouraging people from the small towns to participate in debates
on science ideas and cause a great thrust in the growth of industries.


By sixteenth century the world knew little about democracy and civil rights. But with the world of
civil rights spreading and voices were raised by sociologists. The sharing of political ideas grew in size to the
extent that in many countries a revolution against the dictatorial government and monarchs took place. The
setting up of parliaments and reports of deliberations from inside the parliament has always an interest for
common people. Till today most politics are done through media which is regarded as the forth pillar of


The print media has been largely responsible for running educational campaign for ordinary people.
Not only pieces of information or news are conveyed to readers, experts from almost all the major fields of
life – medicine, education, environment, economists and religious scholars – write in the print media. This is
an enormous thing to be done by the media.


Media has stood firm at the times of war or invasion by the enemy. It tells people what to do at war
time and keep the nation’s spirit high.

Sports and entertainment

Not that the media is always busy in serious and rather sober matters of education and politics, it
has done a great deal of entertainment by reporting articles and information about music, sports and other
recreational activities.

Bring world closer

The media has been responsible to bring the world closer. It tells similarities in human living and
the differences so that people intending to travel due to business, health or educational purposes know in
advance about the new land. It tells interesting features, discoveries and historical heritage to urge people to
visit each other’s lands and thus know each other better than before.

Historic perspective

The discovery and establishment of the printing of books with moveable type marks a paradigm
shift in the way information was transferred in Europe. The impact of printing is comparable to the
development of language, the invention of the alphabet, and the invention of the computer as far as its
effects on the society.
Gutenberg's findings not only allowed a much broader audience to read Martin Luther's German translation
of Bible, it also helped spread Luther's other writings, greatly accelerating the pace of Protestant
Reformation. They also led to the establishment of a community of scientists (previously scientists were
mostly isolated) that could easily communicate their discoveries, bringing on the scientific revolution. Also,
although early texts were printed in Latin, books were soon produced in common European vernacular,
leading to the decline of the Latin language.
In Korea and China, there were no texts similar to the Bible which could guarantee a printer return on the
high capital investment of a printing press, and so the primary form of printing was wood block printing
which was more suited for short runs of texts for which the return was uncertain.
Because of the printing press, authorship became more meaningful. It was suddenly important who had said
or written what, and what the precise formulation and time of composition was. This allowed the exact
citing of references and producing the rule. Before the author was less important, since a copy of Aristotle
made in Paris might not be identical to one made in Bologna. For many works prior to the printing press,
the name of the author was entirely lost. Because the printing process ensured that the same information
fell on the same pages, page numbering, tables of contents, and indices became common. The process of
reading was also changed, gradually changing from oral readings to silent, private reading. This gradually
raised the literacy level as well, revolutionizing education.
It can also be argued that printing changed the way Europeans thought. With the older illuminated
manuscripts, the emphasis was on the images and the beauty of the page. Early printed works emphasized
principally the text and the line of argument. In the sciences, the introduction of the printing press marked a
move from the medieval language of metaphors to the adoption of the scientific method.
In general, knowledge came closer to the hands of the people, since printed books could be sold for a
fraction of the cost of illuminated manuscripts. There were also more copies of each book available, so that
more people could discuss them. Within 50-60 years, the entire of "classical" knowledge had been
printed on the new presses. The spread of works also led to the creation of copies by other parties than the
original author, leading to the formulation of copyright laws. Furthermore, as the books spread into the
hands of the people, Latin was gradually replaced by the national languages. This development was one of
the keys to the creation of modern nations.

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