Media at War: Radio's Challenge to the Newspapers, 1924-1939

Media at War: Radio's Challenge to the Newspapers, 1924-1939

Media at War: Radio's Challenge to the Newspapers, 1924-1939

Media at War: Radio's Challenge to the Newspapers, 1924-1939

Synopsis

Fought when radio was first introduced, the Press-Radio war was an attempt on the part of print journalists to block the emergence of radio news. For nearly a decade, the newspapers of America fought to keep broadcast journalism off the air, exerting various forms of economic, regulatory, and legal pressure against new competitors. This study traces the stages and forms of institutional self-defense utilized by the press. Far more than mere battles to protect profits, media wars are fights to preserve the institutional power that derives from controlling the channels of communication.

Excerpt

This is an age of constant innovation in the realm of communication technologies. Scarcely a day goes by, it seems, without news of yet another media-related development. Headlines forecast the arrival of the latest innovation and herald the wonders of cyberspace. As Americans, seemingly so fascinated with all that is "new and improved," and we tend to welcome such innovations, anticipating that they will help us communicate better, faster, more efficiently, give us more personal control, greater flexibility, greater access, and more information. Yet with all change comes disruption. Familiar, established patterns of communication must give way to make room for the new. New media touch many areas of our lives. They change the way we do business, conduct our personal lives and run our political system. They also have an impact on existing media industries. Like so many of us trying to cope with an ever changing world, established media institutions must face the challenge of responding to the arrival of new communication technologies, and do not always respond with enthusiasm.

Media wars are battles waged between old and new media. They are interindustry conflicts between existing and emerging media industries that take place at the time of technological innovation in communication. They have happened with the introduction of almost every new medium in this century. The newspapers fought the introduction of radio. Hollywood fought the introcduction of television. Broadcast television struggled against the introduction of cable TV. Both newspapers and cable companies have fought the phone companies. What are these media wars about? What is at stake in these battles for control over the channels of communication, and why are the same battles fought over and over again?

Adapting to the constant stream of technological innovations and the social change that goes with them is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of our . . .

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