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История Intro into History of Mass Media
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Part 3. Media. How is America influenced?

Pre-reading task. Discussion club.

Get in pairs and discuss:

-) Do you agree with an opinion that media is the 4th power?

-) Should there be some ethical restrictions on media?

-) Freedom of speech – a myth or reality in Russia?

Reading. Read the text carefully and retell it close to the original. Be ready to discuss it.

The history of mass media can be traced back to the days when dramas were performed in various ancient cultures. This was the first time when a form of media was "broadcast" to a wider audience. The first dated printed book known is the "Diamond Sutra", printed in China in 868 AD, although it is clear that books were printed earlier. Movable clay type was invented in 1041 in China. However, due to the slow spread of literacy to the masses in China, and the relatively high cost of paper there, the earliest printed mass-medium was probably European popular prints from about 1400.

The term "mass media" was coined with the creation of print media, which is notable for being the first example of mass media, as we use the term today. This form of media started in Europe in the Middle Ages. Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press allowed the mass production of books. He printed the first book on a printing press with movable type in 1453. The Gutenberg Bible, one of the books he published, was translated into many different languages and printed throughout the continent. The invention of the printing press in the late 15th century gave rise to some of the first forms of mass communication, by enabling the publication of books and newspapers on a scale much larger than was previously possible. The invention also transformed the way the world received printed materials, although books remained too expensive really to be called a mass-medium for at least a century after that. Newspapers developed from about 1612, with the first example in English in 1620; but they took until the 19th century to reach a mass audience directly. The first high-circulation newspapers arose in London in the early 1800s, such as The Times, and were made possible by the invention of high-speed rotary steam printing presses, and railroads which allowed large-scale distribution over wide geographical areas. The increase in circulation, however, led to a decline in feedback and interactivity from the readership, making newspapers a more one-way medium.

The Notion Of "Mass Media"

The phrase "the media" began to be used in the 1920s. The notion of "mass media" was generally restricted to print media up until the post-Second World War, when radio, television and video were introduced. The audio-visual facilities became very popular, because they provided both information and entertainment, because the colour and sound engaged the viewers and listeners and because it was easier for the general public to passively watch TV or listen to the radio than to actively read. In recent times, the Internet has become the latest and most popular mass medium. Information has become readily available through websites, and easily accessible through search engines. One can do many activities at the same time, such as playing games, listening to music, and social networking, irrespective of location. Whilst other forms of mass media are restricted in the type of information they can offer, the internet comprises a large percentage of the sum of human knowledge through such things as Google Books. Modern day mass media consists of the internet, mobile phones, blogs, podcasts etc.


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  • - Intro into History of Mass Media

    Part 3. Media. How is America influenced? Pre-reading task. Discussion club. Get in pairs and discuss: -) Do you agree with an opinion that media is the 4th power? -) Should there be some ethical restrictions on media? -) Freedom of speech – a myth or reality in Russia? Reading. Read the text carefully and retell it close to the original. Be ready to discuss it.The history of mass media can be traced back to the days when dramas were performed in various ancient cultures.... [читать подробенее]