--we filter, interpret and resist what we see and hear if it contradicts our
experiences and beliefs.
-- Overall the interaction between audiences and media sources, the media usually
The Rise of the Mass Media
Most of the mass media are recent inventions
-- The first developed systems of writing appeared only about 5500 years
ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia (now southern Iraq)
-- First inexpensive newspaper costing a penny first appeared in the 1830s
in the USA. At that time long distance communication required transportation eg. Use of
horse, or a ship
-- The newspaper was the dominant mass medium even as late as 1950.
When Samuel Morse sent the first telegraphic signal in 1844, long distance
communication no longer required physical transportation.
--instant communication by telegraph made it possible to coordinate time and
establish just six time zones in Canada.
Most of the electronic media are creatures of the twentieth century.
-- The first commercial broadcasts date from the 1920s (1928 in the United states,
1931 in Canada.)
-- The U.S Department of Defense established ARPANET in 1969. ( It was
designed as a system of communication between computers that would automatically find
alternative transmission routes if one or more nodes in the network broke down because
of say, nuclear attack. APRANET begat the Internet, which in turn begat the hyperlinked
system of texts, images and sounds known as the World Wide Web around 1991.
Causes of Media Growth
The rise of the mass media can be explained by 3 main factors: one religious, one
political and one economic:
1. The Protestant Reformation
In the sixteenth century, Catholic people relied on priests to tell them what was in the
- In 1517, Martin Luther wanted people to develop a more personal relationship
with the Bible by reading it themselves. Within 40 years his new form of Christianity
known as Protestantism was established in half of Europe. An all of a sudden millions of
people were being encouraged to read. Therefore it became the first mass media product
in the West and by far the best selling book.
There were technological improvements in papermaking and printing (made the
diffusion of other books possible as well)
- The most significant was Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.