In response to:
Of all the technologies discussed in Chapter 2, select the one that you think has the most surprising history and explain why you feel that way.
Technology has drastically progressed throughout history, and there are many amazing stories on how each techology has built on each other. Out of all the technologies from Chapter 2 of Communication Technology Update and Fundamentals, the story of the Newspaper is the most surprising to me. It was an important way to spread information not only when it was first developed, but even to this day.
Many people could not tell you the first Newspaper in North America is. If you asked me I would assume it was the New York Times, or some other famous newspaper. Publick Occurences, Both Foreign and Domestick was shockingly the first newspaper created in North America. This newspaper was produced in 1690. When first developed, the newspaper was not very popular, which I found very surprising. You would think with one of the first technologies to be able to mass produce and spread information, that it would have been an immediate hit. But, you have to take the times into consideration. Illiteracy was very common during this time period. Education was a luxury, not a given right. No one could afford to buy a newspaper that they couldn’t read. Not only were the newspapers themselves expensive, but it was very expensive to be able to learn how to read. According to the text, it wasn’t until the 1800s, that newspapers started to grow. The Industrial Revolution made the newspaper more accessible to the general public instead of the just the wealthy. This is still surprising to me. I did not realize, or take into account, that the literacy rate drastically improved during this time period. Yes, the newspaper became cheaper because of the better ability to mass produce the printing process, but I never knew that during this time the middle and lower classes had the education to be able to read the newspaper. Wars seemed to speed up that process. The only way people could really get information on the Civil War and the Mexican War was by being able to read. I suppose this gave people an incentive to learn how to read. Also according to the book, during the 1950s, newspapers more than doubled in sales. This came to no surprise to me. This was considered the “Golden Era” television, the American Dream, everything was in full bloom. Education was not only accessible, but became mandatory. Illiteracy no longer was a problem. Even today, newspapers are still popular, many even branching into even newer technology.
The newspaper was the gateway of mass communication, and its story is one I never heard of. I was always taught how the television, telephone, and even printing press were created, but you never really hear about the history of the newspaper. It is a cools story that mirrors how society grew through history. I was surprised about a lot of problems the newspaper faced. This has given me a deeper insight on how important the newspaper has been to society.