This edition: Media History
This program begins with a look at how language evolved from cave paintings and other early forms of symbolic representation. The development of writing continued the expansion of cultural complexity and abstract thought. When print spread these patterns into the cultural mainstream, the “mass” communication model—a central source and a dispersed audience—was born. Print culture spread mass communication throughout Europe and became central to the colonial experience in the United States. The early nineteenth century marked a dramatic increase in mass publication of newspapers, magazines, and books. In the twentieth century, several new media technologies emerged and converged: audio recording and film led to “talkies”; radio and film led to television; print, the telephone, television, and computers led to cyberspace, which continues to push the mass communication frontier. “Media History” outlines the historical patterns of mass communication as a foundation for understanding the rapidly changing media environment.