Journalism has evolved immensely throughout history and transformative inventions are what supported its growth. In about 15,000 B.C. the only method of communication in existence was illustrations on the walls of a cave. Since then, we have obviously made huge amounts of progress. The sequence of events began with the invention of the printing press, the telegraph, birth of news, radio, television, cable, and finally digital communication. Each of these has had a profound impact on journalism, but I believe that the invention of the printing press and the television are the two most important transformations.
The printing press was invented in the year 1440 by a German named Johannes Gutenberg. This new machine made it possible to print mass amounts of books. Before this, the only way to copy a book or any type of writing was to hand write it. Depending on the size of the book, this could take months to finish! With this machine, books could be produced at a much quicker pace which made them available to a larger audience as well. According to Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, “The printing press left in its wake the transformation of Europe, the Renaissance, and the Reformation” (Blur, 15). It changed the way in which people valued the physical world and expanded literacy. No longer did anyone have to rely on others for interpretations, books were accessible and people were able to read them now. The early stages of journalism popped up due to the printing press. “News books” were written about current events and information was being shared. This established the idea that everyone had a right to their own opinion and it should be heard.The printing press also played a role in developing The Journalism of Verification. This is the model used when you think of traditional news, it values accuracy and context.
Television was the second invention that made the most impact on the development of journalism. Radio blazed the path and then twenty years later TV came to be. This was the first time in history where you were able to actually listen and watch the news or other TV programs. The first major anchormen, including Walter Cronkite, provide us with examples of great reporters. The television covered important events including the presidential election and wars-especially Vietnam. It quickly became the majority of American’s main source of news. It wasn’t possible to skip sections like you could with newspapers; this led to people being knowledgable about events they may not necessarily care about. National news became a bigger focus and many historical events, including the civil rights movement, were effected due to more of the population watching it live. TV also started the decline of newspapers and changed the content along with how it was presented. The model that took over during this time is called The Journalism of Assertion. The importance of accuracy and filtering stories decreased and instead, news channels focused on arranging discussions. Television played a huge role in the transition to this model.
Overall, the transformations that journalism underwent were highly relevant to the growth of media. I believe that the printing press kickstarted news as we know it and television was a catalyst. Both of these items revolutionized and transformed how the world got their information. It allowed for people to have their own individual opinions and feel the right to share them.
More Details Sextuple Stereotype Perfecting Press and Folders with Color Printing Attachment. 1988. Popular Science Monthly Model 56. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PSM_V56_D0215_Sextuple_stereotype_perfecting_press_and_folders_with_color_printing_attachment.png#/media/File:PSM_V56_D0215_Sextuple_stereotype_perfecting_press_and_folders_with_color_printing_attachment.png