Thursday, February 19, 2009

Early Telegraph

The telegraph was a huge improvement to the communications network in the world. Both European and American people used this invention to their advantage but both used it differently. Europe only used it for the postal office and it was only controlled by the state.In America, it became a business, where they would sell the telephone to the public. Telephone became the first monopoly in America. In America, telecommunications development was on the rise and other technologies were being created. Americans played more of a significant role with the telegraph. They also increased the industrial and scientific development in the country. The telegraph sparked different ideas to improve in the communications network. The speed of communications rose to a high level. The travel of news between from South Carolina to New York City was 20 days in 1794, in 1841 it only took 5.5 days. It also expanded social connections throughout the states. The telegraph created many opportunities for the U.S. to grow

"less Dramatic"

"Taking a more skeptical view of the early social impact on the telegraph and telephone, several recent studies have underlined the limits of the initial use of the technologies and cautioned against an overemphasised on new inventions at the expense of less dramatic changes, such as improvement in postal service, that affected a far larger volume of communication.(Starr,P.155)
I feel that this quote is almost trying to hold us back in a way. "Less dramatic"? Isn't that implying to play it safe? Many inventions and discoveries were not accomplished by people playing it safe. Take Ben Franklin for example I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure standing in the middle of a lightning storm with a metal rod is not the safest thing to do. Although it might be important to improvement in the postal service so a larger number of people can be affected.

Who cares about Print?

In today's society we take granted how we receive our information, especially in today media, it is given to the public by the computer. During the early 1700's print became very huge with many people had the need to read and write. At the time "Europe royal courts were the centers of high culture and writers looked to royal and aristocratic patrons for material support and prestige". Reading was such a high demand because everyone wanted to read or be a writer. Nowadays you cant get much people to read unless they had to and i feel if we were to realize how difficult it was to get a book and to put it together, maybe today would could appreciate print a little more.


As much as technology has advanced in our day and age, it still sometimes amazes me how certain inventions came to be. The camera plays a vital role in today's society. Whether it be surveilance protection or the brocasting of the television shows we watch daily, The camera has definitely earned its keep as a staple in american culture. Perhaps the importance it has today is the reason why I find the discovery of its many uses so ironic. The Camera Obscura was first unveiled August 7, 1824, at fair week. An observer of the newly unveiled invention was tampering with the obscura and caught a glimpse of a fellow onlooker being pickpocketed through the camera. The birth of this new invention led to capture of the crook and his resignation over to authorities. Over one-hundred and fifty years later the Camera has developed quite a bit, but it was auggust 7th, 1824 when the revolution began.

Three Major Social Contexts for Photography

            "There is always, to us, a strange fascination, in portraits."   - Walt Whitman
Here we differentiate the differences in the private, public, and scientific photographs of early print. 
In the private realm of portraits, the image would be printed and remain in a small circle of trust, such as family and friends. These portraits would emulate paintings in the sense that the celebrity would be sitting down with an arm on a table lined with cloth or carpet. These portraits would be far less expensive than a painted portrait.
Public photographs were produced in the studio's usually of the photographer and kept in studio's to be seen by the public. It was found that people had an odd interest in looking at other people. The portraits would represent how other people lived and the public enjoyed to see those with money, or those who were poorer. Eventually the gallery owners would pay the celebrity so they could sell and keep the pictures able to be seen.
Other portraits captured "objectively" a subject who must be made to conform to a social type, these portraits were Scientific. They pictured "the primitive, the criminal, the insane, the poor - all those on the margins of the social order."

  - J. Benfaida

capitalism and democracy in print

The one thing that really stood out to me in this chapter is the rise od publishing. Publishing was a popular information and entertainment industry that took place on both sides of the atlantic in the nineteenth century, but it was under different conditions. publishing and printing goes hand in hand, so together they led to sn industry that was commercially freewheeling. whoevever came up with the idea about publishing and printing is a very intelligent and smart person. Could you imagine if those two things didn't expand the way they did? Life would definately be crazy.

Early Gossip Columns

In the 1830's news was becoming more popular. The demand for sensational stories grew as the Industrial Revolution progressed.

The Sun was a cheap, and easy way for people to get the news that they wanted. It was published in New York in the 1830's, the publisher of The Sun wrote that the mission of their publication was to give everyone the news of the day at an affordable price. The wide audience demanded different kind of news. So, they began printing stories that were entertaining. "Sensational news of crime, violence, and tragic death, as well as exotic stories of adventure..."

The article titled: POLICE OFFICE--(YESTERDAY) a good example of the kind of news people craved. "Gossip News" different from the gossip magazines that we all read and enjoy today. In this article we are introduced to 3-4 different characters, all amusing in their own ways. The last character we can observe is upset that his indiscretions were published in The Sun. But, the paper defended their right to free speech and freedom press. Just as we still stress that same issue now.

These stories are so reminiscent of modern day entertainment...Gossip News...Gossip Columns...even on the Internet, at sites such as TMZ. That allow us into the lives of people that we would probably never meet in person. That's the genius behind the gossip news.

Cheap Print

How Often do people pick up a book or a magazine or newspaper and think hmmm " I wonder how much this cost to print" just about never is what I imagine. In the early 1830s and 1840s the prices of books and newspapers were extremely cheap. Newspapers , books were at an all time low. "Two mid-nineteenth-century American culture innovations, the "the penny press" and the "dime novel" (124) . These names of course stemmed from the obvious low price rate. Book publishers how ever still published good stories for the simple fact of the mass distribution to the public. This is the era when reading and the demand for books and newspapers were booming because so many people had interest in what was going on in the world around them and expanding their knowledge. " Reading became an increasingly common form of diversion as well as devotion. In addition, printed ephemera proliferated through the emerging urban landscape, as advertisers and politcal campaigns plastered walls with bills and broadsides, and groups of all kinds carried placards and banners in parades and other public events" (125). Reading and Print was becoming a way of life its something "you" wanted to do and the hunger for advancement kept developing. "The continuing expansion of print created an incentive for technological innovation" (125).

Starr, Paul. "Early Modern Origins." The Creation of the Media Politcal Origins of Modern Communications. New York: Basic Books, 2005. 124-125

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Early Book Publishing

With invention of several new printing technologies and a drop in the cost of materials, three centers of book publishing arose; Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. Because of a concentration of capital in the metros as well as all three being port cities created ideal conditions for publishers. Books would come from England on ships and because foreign works were not protected by American copyright laws publishers did not have to pay royalties and the books were quickly copied and sold. This formed the basis for most of the publishers book revenues, but this also helped to feed into the perception that American's weren't that artistically inclined because almost all of the classics that were in circulation were of British origin. Publishers were wary to take a chance on material that wasn't sure to sell becasue of the large commitment of capital that was necessary to get material out the door, so thet couldnt risk publishing something that might not sell well.

Penny Papers

The Penny Press was a paper that was sold to the common man in the 1800’s for one cent. It developed because the working man could not afford the six cent papers that were being sold at that time to the upper class and its creators saw a large untapped market to go after. This low price made the news affordable and available to everyone.

As more and more people read the news the news itself and its content became very important. This had an effect on journalism and forced it to become more independent in how a journalist presented the news they reported on. The Penny Press and its journalists focused on local content and used police reports and sensational stories to fill up the space. It was this type of news that the average citizen clamored for and it was this type of news that sold papers and increased circulation.

In their quest for circulation, they became the first papers in the Unites States to publish extensive coverage of local news and to turn news itself into entertainment”

In order to keep the cost down to a penny these papers sought advertising, daily sales, subscriptions and relied decreased production costs as a means to increase circulation. During this time many papers sprang up. One of the most famous penny papers of this time was the New York Sun owned by Benjamin H. Day.

The development of the Penny Press started the revolution in the news industry from which we are still benefiting today.

In Chapter five " The first wire" was one of the greatest inventions in the History of the United States. All Americans best experiences are helped and published to the public by our greatest Electrical devices.The Telephone is the best original way to contact someone. By telephone u can reach who ever you desire, plus people who are unemployeed or do not have a chance to reach a business phone, now can have the same chance out of there homes. Where as the telegraph only benefits the bisiness class. People who dont came jobs could ever get a job, because they had no way to be contacted.
The railroad was the next great invention, because it gave people the opportunity to travel. This way people can a have a chance to travel or move their families in to a better envirnment. Also railroads gave unemployeed works, some work. The government kind of had too much control when using the telegraph. Depending on where you needed to send certain items, you would need permission from france to send something, and this was even after Europe had opened the government to more public use of the telegraph. I believe all the inventions was very helpful to the United states and all the inventers did a great job.

The Public Portrait

In the hand out called Presenting the Self, the section titled The Public Portrait truly fascinated me. Dating back many years ago during the early and mid 1800's people used a cumbersome apparatus which were wooden cameras and tripods. Obviously through the years of innovation and advancment in technology we can now film and photograph with objects that fit in the palm of our hands. Gallaries began to grow within the United States causing an " Institution of Photography" which we still have around today. We have many gallaries scattered through out our country especially in New York City. The reading elaborates on how the viewer of a portrait would gaze intimately (as if through a one-way mirror). It obvious that even back then there was such a passion for art and early century as well had a large portion of creativity and imagination.

The first printed gallery with publication was in 1846 by John Plumbe called The National Plumbeo type Gallery and the Plumbeian. The galleries were for people of all types including the rich and middle class making it a suitable atmosphere for everyone. Portraits were all over the walls of the galleries and majority of them were of people with high rank. Kings, Queens and Military officers were but a few who were observed. To read and see what our history was all about really is amazing to me. From the looks of it, the people in early centuries sound like us today but just visualized in black and white through observation.

Always Pick Up a Penny For Goodluck

In the early Nineteenth century the average cost of a newspaper was about six cents. That was quite costly and only a handful of the American public could afford to pay such a hefty price. It wasn't until David Sherpard, Horace Greeley and Francis W. Story issued the "Morning Post" for only a penny. The low price made newspapers and the news available to more than just the upper class citizens for the first time. This inexpensive newspaper is a major reason why news and journalism spread and became more important overall. The penny press newspapers began to pay more attention to the public that it now being served. They were quick to notice that the same information that appealed to the upper class who could afford the six cent paper was not the same information that intrigued the audience of the "penny public." The main reason for the newspapers early success and why it could sell the paper so cheap was because of its heavy dependence on advertising as a major source of revenue. Unlike other newspapers who heavily depended on subscriptions and daily sales. Also, the price of paper and materials decreased which ultimately made the production of the newspaper less expensive to produce. The pioneer of the Penny Press era was Benjamin H. Day, the creator of the New York Sun. The Sun was the first popular penny press. What i found quite interesting when researching this was that on top of every days paper was a " motto" that stated " The object of this paper is to lay before the public, at a price within the means of everyone, all the news of the day, and at the same time offer an advantageous medium for advertisements."
The Penny Press era set the precedent for how the modern newspapers operate today. Today's newspapers rely mostly on advertising as a main source of income and is why it is still at a relatively low price. Think about it, how often do you open the paper up and there is a hundreds of advertisements about Bill O'Reily's new book or the newest movie out? At least I can recall such when I read the paper in the mornin and there are way to many to count!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pros of the Telegraph

In Chapter 5 (pg 153) Paul Starr states, " The Advent of the electric telegraph in the 1840s was much a political as technological milestone. The telegraph inaugurated a new phase in the history of communications, the rise of modern technological networks, and precipitated divergent nation decisions about the role of the state that outlasted the telegraph itself." I agree completely with this statement . I feel as if the invention of the telegraph had a great impact on what technological tools would be made in the future. Just like when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, it allowed information and media to be transferred to other places, in just a matter of time. With this
possibility it would make a difference for the government, because there were already so many problems dealing with problems between the church and state.