Print Media

History of Print Media

(First Quarter)

It’s safe to say that advertising, the media, even life itself, would not be the same without the printed word. We learn about our world through shared writings: newspapers, magazines, and books. We decide what we want to buy from looking through advertisements that come in the mail. Printed media has shaped the way we learn, think, and act in modern society.

History of Text, text technology, and print

Yet it all began simply. Ts’ai Lun, a Chinese official, is attributed with the invention of paper in A.D. 105. Forty years later, Pi Sheng would invent the first movable type. It would take literally hundreds of years later, in 1276, for printing to reach Europe in the form of a paper mill in Italy, and another two hundred years until Johannes Gutenburg refined a method to efficiently print books and pamphlets on his Gutenburg press.

Ancient Text: Cuneiform, hieroglyphics, runes

Following the printing press, the next improvements in print media came through the developments of different typefaces. Nicolas Jenson invented a “Roman” typeface for publications around 1470, one that was far easier to read than the blackletter typefaces Gutenburg had used, which had copied the handwritten books of the time. In 1530, Claude Garamond opened the first type foundry. After Garamond’s death in 1561, his typefaces (in the form of punches and matrixes) were sold and distributed across Europe, popularizing  his designs.

Early Paper manuscripts papyrus, illustrated bibles

Composograph of Rudolph ValentinoThe late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century were an important time for print media and graphic design. Movements in style and technology would propel the print world into the modern age. The Art Nouveau movement began in 1890 and began an influence that would rule over all types of design, from layout to fonts to illustrations. Some companies that fueled the popularization of the style, like Liberty & Co. (Liberty of London), live on in modern society, still in vogue. The movements’ weight in print media is seen primarily in the posters of the period, characterized with lavish curves, leaf and plant motifs centered around beautiful women, flowers or birds. Also in the late 1800’s began the rise of media barons in the print industry. Men like Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst would run publishing companies which proved that there was a profit in advertising and journalism. Both Pulitzer and Hearst would go on to have political careers. Even when fierce competitions rose between print houses and newspapers, it only seemed to stir the public’s interest and the popularity of print media.
In 1935 the electric typewriter came onto the market. After World War II, these typewriters would become tremendously popular, in both the personal and business worlds, changing the way people wrote forever. Some typewriters accommodated different fonts with exchangeable cartridges, and offered variable leading.
Typefaces and fonts continued to evolve in the 20th century as the first extended font families (which would include different variations of a particular font) were developed. This trend started with Cheltenham (developed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, Ingalls Kimballin and Morris Fuller Benton in 1902-1913), and later examples include typefaces like Futura (designed in 1927 by Paul Renner) and Lucida (designed by Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes in 1985).

Guttenberg press, movable type technology

Printing press, product of the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution would usher in a new era for type and publication, particularly with Lord Stanhope’s invention of the first all cast-iron printing press, doubling the usable paper size and drastically reducing the use of manual labor. In 1880 the halftone process was developed, allowing for the first photo to be printed in a range of full tones. This in turn introduced a wave of sensationalist tabloids and the launch of a new craze: celebrities. Tabloids like the New York Daily News and the New York Daily Mirror published photo spreads (sometimes real, sometimes composographs, or manipulations) of stars like Rudolph Valentino, with immense success.

The vanishing newsroom, e books, interactive publication, and moving books

Resulta ng larawan para sa life magazineAlthough digital design and the computer age have been blamed for negatively affecting print media, in some ways it has only made the print world stronger. Print houses for magazines and newspapers would be unable to publish relevant stories and photos fast enough without the advances in software that allow designers to complete their jobs and meet publication deadlines. Computer software has even made print media more accessible to small business owners and companies than ever before. Even with the advent of the world-wide web and online blogs and news sites, the printed word has not lost its power. Ad campaigns assail us from our mailboxes, from store-front windows and are handed to us by salesmen. We perhaps take for granted the hundreds of years of development that led to our perfectly leaded and kerned newspaper headlines and the bright color photos blazoned underneath. Print media has evolved continuously over its long history, and hasn’t stopped yet.




Print Media

Media And Culture

(First Quarter)The+Social+Web

In cultural studies, media culture refers to the current Western capitalist society that emerged and developed from the 20th century, under the influence of mass media.The term alludes to the overall impact and intellectual guidance exerted by the media (primarily TV, but also the press, radio and cinema), not only on public opinion but also ontastes and values.

The alternative term mass culture conveys the idea that such culture emerges spontaneously from the masses themselves, like popular art did before the 20th century. The expression media culture, on the other hand, conveys the idea that such culture is the product of the mass media. Another alternative term for media culture is “image culture.”

Media culture, with its declinations of advertising and public relations, is often considered as a system centered on the manipulation of the mass of society. Corporate media“are used primarily to represent and reproduce dominant ideologies.” Prominent in the development of this perspective has been the word of Theodor Adorno since the 1940s. Media culture is associated with consumerism, and in this sense called alternatively “consumer culture.”


The Print Media

The Media And Its Traditional Functions

(First Quarter)


The media is not always seen as the monster that critical theorists may portray it as. Traditionally, the media has been seen as an important part of keeping government accountable by providing the citizenry with information about their politicians and their policies. Timothy Cook, a media theorist, argues that “news making is now a central way for governmental actors to accomplish political and policy goals” by disseminating information to the public. (605)

However, the media also works as a watchdog for political actors, disseminating information that could hurt political objectives or actors if they do not maintain their mandated course of action. Media has been seen as required for democracy because, as in Habermasian terms, it creates a public sphere, for which public discourse may occur surrounding politics and political activities. In today’s age of new media however, there almost seems to be too many public spheres being created by online users. In their article Boundaries Blurred: The Mass Media and Politics in a Hyper-Media Age, Jonathan Rose and Simon Kiss suggest that, “despite the explosion in the production of information, there is evidence that citizens are no better informed.” (606)The authors go on to explain that this is the case in politics, not because society is unable to use the technology but because society lacks the basic general knowledge of politics required to use the multitude of public spheres open to them.