Part 1 (250 words +) Media today, no matter how different they seem, are dependent on a few things. First, our human ability to make and use symbols. Second our ability to communicate these symbols through a variety of methods and modes and, third, our ability to create technological forms to extend this ability. Let’s start with language . While noted linguist Edward Sapir * says that, “Language is primarily an auditory system of symbols “, by language I mean any symbolic system that can communicate meaningfully. We have sign language , film language, the language of music, the International ISO that standardizes signage, and so on. Read the brief article on language from the syllabus, chapter 1 from Edward Sapir, Language ( https://www.ugr.es/~fmanjon/Sapir,%20Edward%20-%20Language,%20An%20Introduction%20to%20the%20Study%20of%20Speech.pdf) and an interview with Noam Chomsky (https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/noam-chomsky-interview/ ) What makes human language so special? What advantages did it give to our species? What are some of it inherent limitations ? Part 2 (250 words +) As we have mentioned , the printing press has had a profound influence upon many cultures and cultural values. It can be argued that it was major reason that there could be a Protestant Reformation, since a major tenet was the idea that everyone should read and interpret The Bible independently of a priesthood. To do this you, of course, needed accessible Bibles, which were hard to come by before printing. The printing press was also an instrument of Enlightenment values and a “voice” for spreading the very idea of democracy. In the US, Freedom of The Press actually pre-dates other First Amendment rights by 56 years having been established in 1734 by the acquittal of John Peter Zenger of libel charge against the Royal Governor in the New York Colony. The first newspaper in the American Colonies was printed in 1704 and by the time of the revolution there were weekly newspapers in every colony. Daily newspapers, often just one page, the technology being slow. began by 1780 and by the time of the US Constitution there were about 100 of various types. The first rotary press was used in Baltimore in 1840s and by the end of the US Civil War (1865) daily newspapers had become more common. The invention of the linotype machine in 1885 made multiple revisions of a daily newspaper possible. New editions were printed up to six times a day on a fixed time basis with “Extras” for what we now call “breakin news”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspaper_extra#/media/File:Honolulu_Star-Bulletin_December_7th_1941.jpg Newspaper also played a critically important role in the creation of the new nation. From the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 until the US Constitution was adopted in 1789, this new country was rather fragile. Newspaper played a critical roll in decimating the Federalist Papers giving citizens details of what a new government might look like. If you’ve seen the show “Hamilton”, this is “sung” about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHVPNOHySk Before we go into the factors to that led to changes newspaper in the 19th and 20th centuries, I’d like you to do an exercise. First tell me how you get your news today (which many of you have mentioned in the Medialogs) and give a personal assessment of how well you think you’re informed about world events. Second, talk to someone at least a generation older than you, such as a parent or grandparent. Ask them how they got the news when they were younger. How have their daily news habits changed as the delivery of news has changed? How do they feel about these changes As we know, newspapers are more than news. They “transmit” information but to many they were also a “ritual” of daily life. What other roles did print newspaper play in the past? Think about them as business models as well. What needs and services did they fulfill?
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