The print media
The future of the print media at the beginning of this century is at its most uncertain since Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in the middle of the 15th century. For many centuries, print media were the pre-eminent means of public communication. Only in the 20th century, with the rise of the cinema, radio, television and ultimately the Internet, was the dominance of newspapers challenged. Even in this context the print media retained the mantle as arguably the most influential type of media in political communication. At the start of the 21st century the media landscape is in a state of flux, with the development of the Internet, new television technologies and greater convergence of media forms. The future of the printed word in newspapers and magazines and the future mode of delivery of the written word is the subject of much conjecture. While we are entering a new media age which will bring about fundamental changes in political practice and public formation, the written word in some form will certainly remain integral to that media age, and it even seems more than likely that for some time yet we will continue to pick up the morning newspaper off the front lawn.
In this chapter my focus is on the print news media and newspapers, but our discussion will also consider the growing importance of magazines and Internet news media. The Internet is a particular type of media, with its own conventions of textual organisation and communicative dynamics; it is not the simple electronic posting of written text. Web-based ‘newspapers’ are considered here because they have not as