Mass Communication can simply be defined as a message being sent from a sender to a receiver across a medium. In journalism, we mainly concentrate on the medium itself- whether it's a newspaper, magazine, television, radio, or nowadays the internet. Perhaps some of the most influential times in the history of journalism though has been where the journalist concentrates on the content of the message itself. This time line will be presenting two things. First, what I consider the ten most important moments in mass communication history. Second, by using those ten as a basis, I will be presenting an argument, being that with the advancements in technology and development in language behavior we have come to better understand our roles and responsibility as journalists. Mass Communication really only began with the development of technology. It paved the way for the thinkers, writers and orators to be able to deliver their message. With the development in technology also came the idea of how to control the content and gain the most attention. Eventually we began to gain a better understanding of the importance of responsibility, liability, and credibility.
Created by lupine on Dec 15, 2008
Last updated: 03/11/10 at 07:32 PM
Tags: Dina Mass Communication Final Top Ten Moments in History
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On June 4th 1989, hundreds of civilians were killed in a democratic protest at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. It was after seven weeks of protests (mainly of students) in response to the April 26th editorial in the Communist Party newspaper.
The Massacre at Tiananmen Square stands in stark contrast to the Holocaust and Nazi Propaganda of WWII. It was mainly students who led the protests in China, arguing for freedom of the press and democracy. While the only form of press they had was from the Communist Party, they still held opposition and demanded freedom of speech. It is a prime example that our understanding of language and speech has changed drastically over time- to the point where hundreds were willing to put themselves in danger for rights.
Another good link:
The history of the development of the internet is a little confusing- to start, you have to begin with the development of the computer, which is based on mathematical equations, and so on. It really began with the of the world wide web (www), which came about in the 1980's. The internet is without a doubt an influential development in the history of mass communication. It has changed our way of communicating, and in turn it changes with our behavioral responses. While it has combined both the of groupings and stranger interactions, people are still waiting for the next person who will once again create a program that will break social barriers.
The picture above is a map of the areas of the world where internet access is restricted.
Want to see a social map of the world? Go here:
The Civil Rights movement makes it into my top ten for one reason only: without the media, it would not have been successful, or at least as quickly as it was. While reporters tried to remain objective, Race Beat shows us that in such times, there is no such thing as objectivity. It gained national and international attention because of media coverage, and media was utilized by the protesters in order to create greater effects. Peaceful protests and sit-ins at the lunch counters were encountered with violence- and the media frenzy couldn't ignore it, no more than the world could.
Grotte de Lascaux- The Cave of Lascaux in France.
On September 12, 1940 a group of boys were wandering the surrounding woods of Montignac, France, and came upon what came to be known as the Grotte de Lascaux. It was later affirmed that the cave paintings were about 17,000 years old- the oldest known cave paintings on earth. It's wealth is measured in pictures- with 1,500 engravings and 600 drawings.
Language is a means for communication between people. It has been argued that language behavior first developed with cave paintings, which was then followed by the written word (which in turn led to developments like papyrus and cloth). With language came new social behaviors, which led to the necessity of more permanent and more easily widespread technologies.
Prior and during the years of WWII, the Nazi government of Germany utilized propaganda as a means to control the thoughts of the masses. They used all means of media, and it became essential to Nazi Germany.
This is an extreme example of propaganda. It shows how effective it can be, to the point of driving an entire nation down a dark and bloody path in history.
The Telegraph, which is no longer in use, works by transmitting electric signals over wires between places that translates into a message. The invention itself was not the difficult part of the telegraph- it was the code which would be used.
The telegraph was the first invention that took communication through the wires. It is an that eventually led to the television and the internet. At a time when communication was simply done by word of mouth and by hand, it was a large step outside the boundaries of common language behavior.
Like the camera, the television wasn't invented at a particular moment in time. It took many people over the years to add to the development of what came to be the television.
The television changed mass communication as we knew it. Not only did it bring news right into the persons' living room, but it also became more influential than any other medium prior to the internet. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a moving series of pictures is worth much more.
There are two examples of this presented.
One: The video which is attached, a Kennedy and Nixon debate which was aired on television, is said to have given Kennedy the upper hand in the elections. It is reported that those that listened to the debates over the radio favored Nixon, whereas those that watched them on the television favored Kennedy.
Two: The Civil Rights movement was made more effective when it was aired on the television, rather than written up in a story. This became effective with beatings, demonstrations, and mobs.
'A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words'.
In 1826, a French inventor by the name of Nicephore Niepce created the world's first permanent image from a camera. Over time many others contributed to the science and development of creating better images. It has now become a part of our daily lifestyles. In journalism today, stories typically come with photographs and videos.
Photographs have been known to have a profound effect on the observer. There is perhaps no greater example that I can think of other than the Civil Rights Movement. When images were taken of beatings at demonstrations, protests at lunch counters, and children attempting to go to school amidst angry mobs, many people were influenced to take action. Parents, students, and those who had similar experiences were influenced more by the images than by the words. The development of the photograph changed the way we approach journalism today. A photograph or a video is considered evidence of a happening or occurrence, and words alone are not effective enough.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
On December 15th, 1791, the newly formed country of the United States became the first country to include freedom of speech into its laws. From a time when free speech was not even considered, when uttering a single sentence could put you in jail, or even put to death, it was a revolutionary step. Since then, it has become a valuable right- a right in which we view as inherent, and even necessary to be guaranteed everywhere. Journalism as we knew it blossomed from this, and while we still continue to struggle with understanding objectivity, responsibility, and the term 'news' itself, we now see it in a new light. The phrase, 'dissenting is patriotic', most likely rose from this.
While technology paved the way for mass communication to form and spread, laws were also needed to be put in place in order for it to be seen as an important part in our everyday lives. The first amendment [mostly] guaranteed the protection of the content of the message. As freedom of speech was put into government law, it also carried with it a new level of responsibility.
Above image: Makola market in Ghana.
'Trade provides mankind's most significant meeting place, the market.'- historyworld.net
Trading as a history is said to have begun sometime around 3000 B.C. in Africa. While advancements in technology has altered our methods in trading, it still exists as a necessary component in our lives. It is considered as one of the reasons why communication developed. Being able to trade takes a considerable understanding of communication. Trading changed communication and social behaviors. It created a greater necessity for different technologies to develop to be able to supply the demand of the masses for means of communicating.