THE EVOLUTION OF MASS MEDIA Sending a message to a large number of audiences using technology is known as mass communication. Mass media helps in connecting people and brings the globe into our glance. Mass media includes print media like newspapers, magazines, brochures and pamphlets, electronic media like radio, television, documentaries and cinema and new age digital media like ads, internet, blogs and podcast. The history of mass media is long and complex.
It stretches back beyond recorded history to the people that figured out that they could reach a larger audience through painting a picture on a cave wall rather than just telling the story to whatever group happened to be present. These distant mass communicators also used drums, smoke signals as well as sound, gesture and activity. They communicated by hitting sticks on walls and experimenting with the sound and vibration of the stick. They used folk arts (songs, tales, poetry, ballads, anecdotes, rhymes, proverbs, elaborate epics, traditional music, masquerades, dance and drama) as effective mass media.
A very primitive form of mass communication is leaflets/letters that were written from the court of kings and sent to nobles and notables and may be considered as early attempts to approach the masses through written words. The next move was to write books on matters of social life, philosophies, religion, health and scientific advancements. The hand-written books took views of writers to hundreds and thousands of people across countries. In the late fifteenth century, a cross between a brochure and a pamphlet was dispersed among the people; the text contained highly sensationalized stories along with description of the current news events.
It was in Europe that merchants distributed newsletters written by hand containing information regarding the weather, economic conditions, wars and human-interest stories. The country accredited with the creation of the first newspaper is Germany. Later, 39-year-old Johann Gutenberg came up with a printing method, where, by arranging stamps displaying the letters of the alphabet, one could construct a page of literature to be copied numerous times. This became known as the Gutenberg Press, one of the greater inventions the fifteenth century held.
In the early 1800’s a steam-powered press, the development of continuous rolls of paper and a way to use iron instead of wood for building presses enhanced the original Gutenberg Press. This new form of mass media spread rapidly throughout the world. However, radio became the dominant form of media during and after World War II, as it could provide war information much faster than newspapers, and people desired current news of the war situation and of their relatives fighting overseas. Newspapers still supplied daily information and advertising Television came to dominate the media industry in 1950s.
It seemed to give the best of both media: pictures and sound. With the advent of television, print media and radio were forced to rethink their approaches towards news and entertainment. In 1962, with the communications satellite Telstar-I in space, followed by other satellites, news reports from around the world could be transmitted directly, giving television unprecedented power to communicate major world events in real-time. Satellite television reported events across the world live. With competition from 24-hour cable television news, many newspapers disappeared.
Cable news and subscription cable television also rose in popularity, competing with network television. In the latter half of the 19th century, cinema began to be a large scale entertainment industry. Motion pictures developed gradually from a carnival novelty to one of the most important tools of communication, entertainment and mass media in the 20th century and into the 21st century. Motion picture films have substantially affected the arts, technology, and politics. As the 20th century was coming to an end, a new media was born – the Internet. It links people together through their computer terminals with ables and wireless modems connected via telephone lines. It has become the latest and most popular of the mass media. Here, information is been generated through various websites and search engines. One can play games, listen to radio while working and chat with friends and relatives, irrespective of location. It also gives information on various topics such as literature, politics, science, sports, fashion, movies, education, career, jobs etc. Thus, due to the progress of science and technology, mass media has evolved and reached the present-day world of internet, cellular phones, blogs, podcast and RSS feeds.