Final Exam: Essay 1

Lisa Fralinger

Essay #1

word count: 661

Printing presses

Printing presses (Photo credit: Sigfrid Lundberg)

“It is difficult, indeed dangerous, to underestimate the huge changes this (digital) revolution will bring or the power or developing technologies to build and destroy—not just companies, but whole countries.”  Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer, expressed him concern about the dramatic changes that is occurring with the printing press. He is just one of many people who is noticing the shift that is taking place in our world. The change is not only affecting companies at a rapid rate (King, Cook, & Tropin, 317).

Newspapers made their first appearance in Europe during the mid-17th century. Freedom of the press emerged during the revolutionary era. This was a time when New World colonists were fighting England’s interference in their lives and businesses (317). The First Amendment to the United States Constitution allowed for the freedom of the press. This meant that newspapers and magazines in the US had little government control whereas other countries had censorship and government ownership (317). To this day, the United States continues to gleam as a country where freedom of the press is a living concept (317).

For a number of years, the printing press was the dominant source of medium. It was not until the second half of the 20th century when newspaper industries began to notice a decline. During that time there was a sudden decrease in newspapers that were published and a decrease of people reading them. The United States had 267 fewer newspapers in 1990 than it did in 1940. By the year of 1992, there were only 37 US cities that had separately-owned daily newspapers (321). Once the economic recession in 2008 struck, it seemed as if newspapers were hit harder than ever. The recession forced many businesses to board up their doors.  There were some businesses that would do anything to survive. By doing so many reduced the size of their newspaper by making their pages narrower and making the pages thinner as well (321).

One of the biggest competitors for the printing press was television. This new phenomenon forced many newspaper businesses to end their long era of success. Television not only offered entertainment but also information as well. National networks like NBC and ABC ranked in a tremendous amount of viewers (323). These accredited news stations provided informative information to its audiences while also providing some means of entertainment. Television was a way for non-literate individuals to be able to tune into to current affairs happening around them.

Today, societies rely on the media. The media convergence changed the newspaper and print industry. This convergence can seem adverse yet there are some positive aspects.  The convergence demonstrates the process our society has in technological terms. This also allowed for more job opportunities for people. Nowadays, people want their information fast. The Internet allows for people to constantly be updated with new information about worldly affairs. With the big uprising of smart phones, people are able to access news on the go. This is a primary reason as to why the printing press could not outdo the Internet. The printing press is unchangeable and irreversible once it is out on stands, while the Internet news is being updated frequently.

The irreversible and unchangeable printing press comes with a price. Each day civilians must go out and buy a newspaper in order to be updated on current events. Even though the price of a newspaper was little to nothing, most people will take any opportunity to save money.

It is evident that the printing press has a lot to compete with the media. There is little that the printing press can do to bring back its success. Newspapers are now converging their articles to the Internet. The Baltimore Sun is an example of a newspaper that is available online. By allowing viewers to view this paper online, the company hopes to bring in user participation since media is the dominant medium in the world today.

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