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OHIO / Art / MDIA 1010 / What is media?

What is media?

What is media?


Midterm Study Guide 

What is media?

∙ Technology constantly evolve, fail, succeed, forgotten ∙ Symbolic content is permanently under suspicion of being false ∙ Media history is a product of the 19th century  

∙ History is a result of human action  

Media and History

∙ Media in historical perspective  

∙ Influence of media on what we know about history  ∙ As history

Studying Media

∙ Media as Communication

o “the media”=mass media

o Mass society theories  

o Focus on impact of mass media

o Audience research  

o Media effects

o Political economy of mass media  

o Social science

∙ Media as History  

o Originates from study of Canadian history  

o Greater focus on media tech

o Toronto School of Communication

o Humanities

∙ Space Bias vs. Time Bias

o Space=easy to carry (paper/book)

o Time=long lasting (rock carving)

Why did humans begin to write?

∙ Media as Artifacts

o Originates in literary studies, arts, and philosophy o Focuses on artifacts and creative process

o Continental Europe

o Critical of mass communication  

∙ Media as Culture

o Originates in British cultural studies in 1960s

o Interest in popular culture

o Materialist approach

o Marxist inspired  

 Class conflict, social change

o Postcolonial  

 Racism is acknowledged  

 Britain was colonial power and shaped colonies  

∙ Media can be grouped by

o Technical function-communication media  

o Sense organs they engage  

o Presence of technology

o Process

o Anthropological status  

Media Evolving

∙ Communication and collaboration

∙ Science

∙ Historical factors  

∙ The law  

∙ Social norms

∙ Technology  

What are the consequences of printing?

∙ Creativity  

∙ Education

∙ Chance

∙ Socioeconomic factors

∙ Sociopolitical factors

Ice Age Media

∙ Cultural  

∙ Mathematical  If you want to learn more check out the purpose of secondary sources of law is to increase uniformity and fairness across courts in the 50 states.

∙ Ancient Media

o Walls, Skin, Cave paintings, Graffiti

Media Revolutions

∙ Writing: 3000BC

∙ Printing: 1450-1500

∙ Visual Revolution: 1839-1927

∙ Electronic Revolution: 1842-2009

∙ Digital Revolution: 1989-present

Why did humans begin to write?

∙ Mortality=powerful motivation for production symbols (awareness that  we die)

o Egyptian Tombs-pyramids

 Used hieroglyphic writing  

∙ “hieros” means sacred

∙ “gluphe” means carving

o Mayans

 Calendars

o Chinese Oracle Bone 1400-1200BC

 Tortoise Shell

∙ Power=helped rulers legitimize their position, to glorify their own  actions and rule over their people

o Code of Hammurabi; Babylon 1754BC

o Rosetta Stone; decree issued by Ptolemy V in 196BC

∙ Administration=organizing growing amount of info in expanding  empires  

o Envelope from Susa; Iran 3300BC

 Clay tokens and tablets for accounting

o Sumerian Cuneiform (type of writing) was the oldest found tablet  Used a stylus made of reed

Full Writing

∙ Full writing or complete writing is a “system of graphic symbols that  can be used to convey any and all thought.” If you want to learn more check out venistration

Logographic symbol=represents objects or an idea

∙ Chinese, Japanese, Korean---cryptographic code  

Phonographic symbol=represents sound

∙ English, French, Finnish---phonetic notation

o Desert ǀde’zertǀ

o Desert ǀdezertǀ

Consequences of Writing  

∙ Writing detaches communication from body

o No more face to face interaction

o Plato’s Criticisms

 Writing will lead to loss of memory

 Writing will lead to pseudo wisdom-misinterpretations  

because you cannot ask a text or writing the meaning of  We also discuss several other topics like david paradice auburn


 No possibility of dialogue

 Written language doesn’t have a soul-it’s not real

∙ Writing makes us think differently

 Frees mind from having to memorize  

 Writing allows objective and abstract thinking, allows  


 Allows sense of an autonomous self-you have different  writing from everyone else

∙ Vision over hearing

 In visual culture seeing=knowledge “I see” means “I  


 Writing separates fact from fiction

 Writing promotes linear thinking  

∙ Writing is a one-dimensional medium or a linear medium o Vilem Flusser (1920-1991)

o Four-dimensional-no media, complete integration with world o Three-dimensional-figurines, plaques, objects If you want to learn more check out rahul warrior uci

o Two-dimensional-images

o Zero-dimensional-age of the electronic age


o Scrolls (up to 300CE)-manually find  

 Romans burned down library in 391AD, lost important  If you want to learn more check out autonomic restrictors

scrolls about medicine, philosophy, and science  

o Codex (100CE-present)-table of context in books

 We scroll with our phones and computers but have search  engines to bypass table of context


∙   Rhine River, Germany

o Johannes Gutenberg-inspired by wine press (many vineyards in Germany) in 1400s

o In Strasbourg (Present day France), Gutenberg sold pocket size  mirrors (captured energy from relics) and pilgrimage badges to  the pilgrims  

o Pilgrimage to Aachen Cathedral (Germany), where there are  relics of Christian pilgrimageitems handled by saints

o Gutenberg returns to Mainz in 1450 and develops printing  press-integrated multiple technologies  

o Printed indulgence letters  

o Printed Bible because of religious market 1452-1455

Consequences of Printing

∙ Rise of Humanism  

o Putting the human being at the center of knowledge  

o Printing press made philosophy and sciences assessible to  scholars  

∙ The Reformation

o Printing Bibles and anti-Catholic propaganda  

o Martin Luther 1483-1546

 Did not agree with Catholicism.

 Translated Bible from Latin to German (vernacular  We also discuss several other topics like ch2=chch2ch3

language=language spoken by common people)

o Response of Roman Church to beginnings of modern era printing 1563-wrote “Index of Prohibited Books”

 Censorship

“The Gutenberg Galaxy” ---Marshall McLuhan 1962  

o Consequences addressed in book

 Standardization of languages  

∙ Critical of printing culture; not written like a book,  

written to disturb comfort of book culture

∙ William Bullokar-1586- “Brief Grammar for English”  

 Privileging vision over hearing

∙ Enhance consequences of writing  

 Emergence of Modern State-ruling over large territories;  central administration  

∙ Thomas Hobbes-1651- “The Leviathan”

o Used printing press to manage territories  

 Emergence of Modern Authorship  

∙ Originality and newness-something new to  


∙ Author’s rights to be identified with what you have  


∙ Authorship today-creates and is responsible for  

original work; receives credit for individual work  

(reviews, compensation, title)



∙ Copyright-first patent in England 1710

Published Media  

∙ Switzerland, Germany 16th Century

o collection of religious songs led to standardization process of  music publishing  

∙ Birth of Newspaper

o “News sheets” reported miracle, sensations, out of the ordinary  topics (i.e. strange bird found in Germany, reports of executions) o “The Truthful Newspaper”-papers had to state they were true  because there was a suspicion of their sources  

o Neue Zeitung=newspaper (in German)

o Secular news or social issues also became news worthy Early Printed Mass Media

∙ News books

∙ News Sheets

∙ Pamphlets

∙ Leaflets


∙ The Boston News-Letter- published by Bartholomew Green  o First newspaper in America 1704, but censored by British  government

o It was hard to get world news without it being weeks old, so  many papers were regarding local affairs  

∙ Newspapers are a double-edged sword

o Contain relevant information

o Force political views, and other forms of propaganda

∙ Journalists used symbols to support American Independence  ∙ Newspapers have grown all over the US since the 18th century

Freedom of the Press

19th century

∙ Rise of bourgeois society (middle class)-tradesmen, bankers  ∙ Industrialization-craft to mass manufacture

∙ Growth of cities-migration

∙ Mass society-new social form, crowds (cities where you actually don’t  know people)

∙ Imperialism

∙ Westward expansion of US-Indian war, Louisiana Purchase  Media: age of the machine

∙ The Press

∙ Visual Revolution-reproduction of photos and film

∙ Telegraphy-world function in real time; coded messages used ∙ Telephone-spoken word

∙ Sound Recording

∙ Wireless Communication-radio signals

∙ Age of Inventors and Patents

The Press

∙ Subscriptions to newspapers  

∙ Steam powered printing press 1812-Friedrich Koenig

o Produce more in less time, no longer a manual tool

o Problem: need to find more people to buy newspaper when mass  producing

o “Penny Press”-no more subscribing  

∙ Grow readership without relying on subscriptions

∙ Rotary Press (1860s)

o Even faster than the steam press

∙ Press tax abolished causes cheaper newspapers, less censorship, large  circulation economically necessary

Newspaper Readership

∙ “Jack the Ripper”-media frenzy in London

o Readers continued reading to read the next part of the story ∙ Yellow/Tabloid journalism (1880-1900)

o “The Yellow Kid”-about social tensions in New York

 Readers would buy newspapers because they would want  to know what he did

 War sells-Evil of press-rouse immoral criticism

Investigative Journalism

∙ Nellie Bly (1864-1922)

o “Ten Days in a Madhouse”-posed as a mad person to discover  how people were treated

o Published in New York World 1888

o Around the world in 72 days

o Elizabeth Bisland-Nellie Bly’s competition in Cosmopolitan  Professional Journalism and Diverse Readership

∙ Female readership was published in several languages

o “The Women’s Journal” (1887)-discussed women’s suffrage  *19th Century is when the Newspaper became what it is today* Mechanization-handwriting becomes typewriting

∙ Handwriting is a signature challenged by typewriter

∙ “Typographer”-standardized writing  

The Typewriter  

∙ Rhythm of the machine/age of the machine-Industrial Revolution ∙ Small convenient tools became necessary  

o Christopher Latham Sholes created the first successful typewriter (1878) in Wisconsin  

 With the same keyboard as today  

 QWERTY keyboard

o Hansen writing ball (1882)

 Created by Friedrich Nietzche

∙ Handwriting began to lag behind because there was less  miscommunication with typing  

o The government, military, and business all began to switch over Typewriter Creations

∙ Mark Twain’s Sawyer (1876)

o First typed manuscript

∙ Women

o Depicted women using typewriters in advertising posters o Typists jobs brought women into the workforce

o By 1930s, 95% of women used typewriter as typists or  stenographers, secretaries  

o Women could have their own income=independence

o Office romance  

∙ War

o WWI: fast way to communicate, less miscommunication o WWII

 German Enigma Cipher Machine

 British had to figure out how to crack the code of the  


∙ Music

o Used as a musical instrument by Leroy Anderson

∙ Newspapers

o Edward Wyllis Scripps (1854-1926) created the first chain of  newspapers in the Midwest

o Chain=range of small newspapers that catered to different topics o Science became newsworthy  

Integrated Media

∙ Press

∙ Typewriter

∙ Telegraph

o Detach communication from objects

 Physically giving a letter to the sender and them giving it  to the receiver

o First electronic media  

Types of Telegraphy

∙ Optical

o oldest form of telegraphy

o visual symbols

∙ Electrical

∙ Wireless

Communication before the telegraph

∙ Greek victory over Troy (1184 BC)

o Polybius Code-encrypt message with fire signals

o Used by military and rulers  

∙ Romans used watch tower with torches

o The number and position of torches corresponded to letters  ∙ Smoke signals were used on the Great Wall of China

o Smoke signals still used from Pope in Vatican City

∙ Semaphore created by Claude Chappe (1763-1805)

o Arms in different positions  

o Downfalls

 Line of sight

 Mistakes passed on-like the game of telephone

 Enemy takes down one tower and the system is done

∙ Shutter Telegraph

∙ Flag and light signaling

Creating the Telegraph

∙ Samuel Sӧmmering (1809) performed an experimental telegraph o Used one cable for each letter=tangle mess

∙ Five Needle telegraph by William Cooke (1838)

o Used for railway traffic in England

∙ Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872)

o Didn’t know of his wife’s death or funeral, motivated his  development of the telegraph

o In 1838 he sent a message through one wire, but had issues  finding investors

o Until 1844, when he demonstrated his invention in Washington  DC and sent “What hath God wrought?” to Baltimore

o Patented in 1847-Morse Telegraph  

o Morse and Alfred Vail developed the Morse code

 System of dots and dashes corresponding to Greek letters Wiring of the World  

∙ First transatlantic cable (1858)  

o England to France

o Many believed this would connect everyone and bring peace on  earth to create a community without violence  

o Rubber deteriorated so the message was barley heard  o Cable snapped from current and movement of ocean after 3  weeks

o Learning curve

∙ Second cable laid (1865)

o Wire loaded on Great Eastern, the largest ship in the world at the time

o Used a plant “gutta-percha,” form of latex instead of rubber ∙ By 1891 there were cables all over

o Britain dominated global technology  

∙ We still have submarine cables that carried 95% of global data o Satellites can’t hold that much because it doesn’t have fiber  optic cable

 1 petabyte per second=1 million gigabytes  

o Surveillance camera near cable to see any damage

 6% of cable destruction is from sharks and fish

 Rest is from fishing boats

Doubts of Telegraphy

∙ Henry David Thoreau (1854)

o Distract our attention

o Talk fast rather than talk sensibly  

o Learn new language

∙ New York Times (1858)

o Too fast for the truth

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