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A comparison of the importance of television and the printing press

Writing has existed since the 4th Century BC. However, its evolution beyond a basic counting method into a structured language was the preserve of religious institutions and the ruling elite.

  1. By the late 1800s, photographs could be mass-produced and included in existing print-based mass media like books, newspapers, and magazines. The original Internet was used as a means of sharing information among researchers, educators, and government officials.
  2. The following timeline provides an overview of some of the key developments related to the Internet. The introduction of FOX as a fourth network signaled a programming change as the new network tried to appeal to a more specific audience with some of its shows.
  3. While we had to adapt our brains to decode written language and our arms, hands, and fingers to be able to produce written text, the turn to listening to the radio and watching and listening to television and movies was much more comfortable, familiar, and effortless.
  4. Technology Leading to Visual Mass Media As with the birth of any mass medium, technological advances had to take place to move us from interpersonal or group engagement with visual media to mass engagement. Although not a mass medium, ancient Greek theater as a visual medium was critiqued for its content much like movies and television have been in more modern times.

Books were written by hand, which made them rare and expensive. The invention of the printing press, using movable type, by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 made books cheaper to produce, encouraging writing and the sharing of knowledge.


The printing press was the first of a series of mechanical devices that helped expand access to knowledge. This process has lead up to the development of the Internet. Advancements The printing press was followed by the typewriter, the telegraph, the photocopier, printer and scanner. The computer with its programmable core evolved from a mechanical loom that took programmable patterns fed into it on punch cards.

Early computer programs were translated into punch cards and computers using this system for input still existed in the 1960s.

Once the idea had been tested, the Internet took fifty years to develop into the global knowledge network we know today. Detractions Although the printing press made teaching materials cheaper, and gradually improved literacy rates, after almost six hundred years in existence, the printing press still hasn't created universal literacy. Access to education is focused in the wealthier nations, which have benefitted most from the distribution of knowledge that spread from the invention of the printing press and its successors.

Similarly, Internet access is concentrated in those same wealthier nations. The Internet is of little use of those who cannot read or write.

The Relationship Between the Printing Press & the Internet

Even though websites can provide information in video format, the ability to operate a computer, follow instructions and connect to a website requires literacy. Relationship Literacy is the key connecting factor between the printing press and the Internet.

  1. Allyn and Bacon, 1996 , 159.
  2. Ambrose Fleming and Lee de Forest paved the way for much more controlled and manageable receivers.
  3. Stubblefield, a melon farmer from Kentucky, and Reginald A. Radio also took advantage of new technologies to become portable and follow people out of their house.
  4. Lee de Forest, in particular, was interested in competing with Marconi by advancing wireless technology to be able to transmit speech and music.

Any method of knowledge sharing requires planning and cooperation and this can only be achieved in writing plans and distributing tasks. Although the Internet is an innovative system for distributing information, the origins of that information still lies in the hands of national government institutions, the same authorities that controlled knowledge before the invention of the printing press.

Future The Internet has already had a detrimental impact on printing. Some newspapers have failed and others are struggling to make a profit, because their readership has moved to free online versions. Libraries compete for funding in a world where information online is instantly updated. The Internet is as unregulated as printing: It is far cheaper to put up a Web page than to print a book, making it easier to spread false information, propaganda and personal opinion masquerading as fact.