The 20th century has seen an explosion of mass communications, using the old medium of the printed word as well as never ones such as radio, moving pictures, television and, most recently, computers and the internet.
The earliest of the “mass media” was the newspaper, which brought information and opinion to its readers, but the earliest newspapers were not intended for the “masses”. Copies of these weekly papers were purchased by the small number of literate people among thhe relatively affluent classes. Late in the 19th century, the invention of a technology for making paper from wood fibres, rather than rags, made paper less expensive to produce.
The first electronic means of communication to be invented was the telegraph. It was a point-to point system of communication, from a sender to a specific receiver, but later it was compiled daily news summaries from newspaper reports and transmitted these by Morse Code to all of the telegraph offices on thhe island.
Not long after the end of the First World War, many technically adept Newfoundlanders began experimenting with radio technology. It became the main way to hear the newest political news. Even two churches also began using radio to br
Of course, After the invention of television, radio lost its dominance of the business of informing, entertaining and retailing products to “the masses.” Radio evolved into specialized formats (such as country music stations).
Television broadcasting systems were established in the decades following Confederation. Two stations produced some of their own programming. Starting in the 1970s, cable television brought an increasingly large number of “channels”.
In the final analysis, mass media provide a vital public sphere in which people participate in debating and formulating political policies and social attitudes. But these functions are always subordinate to the task of creating a mass of consumers whose attention can be sold to advertisers.
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