Handbook on Mass Media in the United States: The Industry and Its Audiences

Handbook on Mass Media in the United States: The Industry and Its Audiences

Handbook on Mass Media in the United States: The Industry and Its Audiences

Handbook on Mass Media in the United States: The Industry and Its Audiences


Surveys the history, organization, role, major issues, and future outlook for different sectors in mass media and for their various audiences in the United States. Following a brief introductory overview, experts offer broad perspectives through analyses of the advertising, book, cable, film, magazine, newspaper, public relations, radio, recording, and television industries and present views about their audiences of minorities, women, children, the disabled, religious groups, and sports enthusiasts. Each chapter reviews and synthesizes important literature, current policies and problems, and trends for the 1990s. Bibliographies of readings and of regular sources of information throughout the book add to the importance of this handbook for college, university, institutional and public libraries.


The first written medium of communication following scrolls was a short book printed with movable type. The Diamond Sutra; the teachings of Buddha, was probably the first and was published in China in 868. The next world landmark wasJohannes Guttenberg Bible, printed in Germany in 1456. Almost 200 years later, the first printing press in North America was established in 1639 at Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the publication of the Whole Booke of Psalmes. The publication and distribution of books grew dramatically with the development of urbanization and literacy. And dispersion of the written word opened yet new avenues of thought, stimulating public debate and impacting, in a major way, the democratization of the nation.

Newspapers in America go back to the first days of the colonies. Historically, they resisted organizational change. By 1921, there were 2,042 local newspapers in existence in this country. The newspaper industry exploded in 1933 with the publication ofBenjamin Day New York Sun, which was followed by other newspapers that sold for "one penny."

During the 1970s and 1980s, newspapers and the rest of the print media experienced traumatic changes in production with the use of the computer. And in the 1990s, organizational plans for newspapers changed in structure.

Magazines hit the scene in the eighteenth century and represent some of the first institutions in America. Quite diverse in their appeal, they have proved themselves to be a formidable force culturally, politically, and educationally. By the year 2000, their total ad revenue should hit $13.6 billion.

Mass media became more diversified and more widely available through the development of new technology. In 1835, Samuel Morse's telegraph transmitted dots and dashes as codes for sending messages. And in 1848, news wire service became a reality when six New York newspapers agreed to share the telegraphy costs of transmitting foreign news from Boston where many European ships docked first. In 1895, Guglielmo Marconi invented the first wireless telegraphy . . .

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