Time is always moving forward and with that everything around us is changing.  In olden times there was no newspaper and books were not written on paper. However, even before there was writing humans had a way of expressing themselves through paintings and use of symbols. As humans started evolving, everything around them started to evolve as man made inventions. Inventions that include print media, newspapers and books that we read today.

Ancient History Of Print Media, Books And Journalism

The earliest known product of Print media was a news sheet the ‘Acta Diurna’ which was circulated in the Ancient Rome before 59 BC. Acta Diurna contained important daily events such as public speeches and was published daily. During the Tang Dynasty in China a court circular called a ‘bao’ or report was issued by the government officials. Printing was invented around 1450 by Johannes Gutenberg. History tells us that before the print media was invented there were other techniques used to print text and images. Woodblock printing was used widely throughout East Asia. It was originated in China as a method of printing on textiles and on paper. In Europe, block printing was done on a cloth and was very common by 1300.

During the ninth and tenth centuries block printing called ‘tarsh’ in Arabic was developed in Arabic Egypt. Paper making is said to be traditionally begin in China around AD 105. History also tells us that before that ancient countries used different kind of things as a substitute for paper. Book began with clay tablets, scrolls and sheets of papyrus. Clay tablets were used in Mesopotamia in 3rd millennium BC. Sheets of papyrus were used in Ancient Egypt and bird feathers were used for writing. Books made with papyrus were in the form of scroll as several sheets were pasted together. In East Asia before books, writing news was done on shells, wood and silk, especially in China. In Pre-Columbian America, information was recorded on long strips of paper, agave fibers or animal hides which were folded and protected by wooden covers.

Development Phase 1

Papyrus sheets were replaced by parchment. The King of Pergamon, Eumenes II is attributed to the invention of parchment. The production of parchment began around 3rd century BC. It was made by using skins of animals like sheep, donkey, antelope, etc. It was easy to conserve over time and was more solid, plus it allowed a person to erase text. Parchment was costly because of the rarity of the material and also the time required to produce the parchment was long. After the invention of paper, parchment was replaced by paper as it was cheaper to produce and it allowed great distribution of books and print media.

Cai Lun who was a official attached to the Chinese imperial court during Han dynasty is credited for the invention of paper. He invented paper-making for the intention of writing. He used a combination of mulberries, tree bark, hemp, old rags and even fish nets to create paper pulp. Between the second and fourth centuries the scrolls were being replaced by the codex. The codex was a collection of sheets attached at the end of the book. The codex form was later improved because of the separation of words, capital letters and punctuation.

Medieval History Of Print Media, Books And Journalism

The first movable printing press was invented by a German goldsmith, Johannes Gutenberg. The Gutenberg Bible published in 1455 is amongst the earliest press printed book in Europe. Gutenberg is credited for inventing the printing press but he lost his assets in a suit filed against him by his partner Johann Fust and his employee Peter Schöffer. Compared to woodblock printing the printing press was faster and more durable.

The metal type pieces were stronger and the lettering was more uniform which gave rise to typography and fonts. Invention of the printing press has been called by many scholars the most important invention in history and in the second millennium. Printing press helped in creating newspapers and other print media branches. The print revolution was not limited to Europe. The discovery of sea routes to the west by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and to the east by Vasco Da Gama in 1498 helped in spreading the Gutenberg printing press to the rest of the world.

Development Phase 2

After the invention of the printing press there were revolutionary changes in the print media. In 1556, the government of Venice published first monthly ‘Notizie Scritte’ (Written Notices). These were newsletters that reported political, military and economic news. These were circulated throughout Italy and some parts of Europe. By seventeenth century news in the from of newsletters was circulated throughout Europe. Topics in the newsletters included war, military affairs, diplomacy and court business and gossip. After 1600 the national government in countries like France and England  started printing official newsletters.

When Gutenberg Bible was published in 1455 it established superiority of western languages. The printing press rapidly spread across Europe which led to the Renaissance first in Europe and later all around the world. As the printing revolution started gaining rapid pace many improvements were made to the printing method. Because of printing press publication of books became an enterprise. During 14the and 15th centuries books were being collected for private libraries. The cost of books during that time was less which helped increase the distribution of books.

Modern History Of Print Media, Books And Journalism

In India print media was introduced in 1556. J. A Hichley started an English paper named Bengal Gazette in Kolkata in 1780. In Mumbai the first newspaper that was published was Bombay Herald in 1789. After that many Indian newspapers were published in Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and Marathi. Newspapers began printing in Hindi seriously only from the 1870s. Soon newspapers were in all major countries and had become important by 19th century. Print media went through technical, business, political and cultural changes. As there was rapid expansion in elementary education there was also an increase in the number of readers. In 1843 rotary printing press was invented by Richard March Hoe. Later it was improved by Willaim Bullock.

There are multiple types of rotary printing press technologies that are still used today such as Sheetfed, Offset, Rotogravure, and Flexographic printing. In the late modern period there was a lot of development in print. The printing press became more mechanized and efficient. There was a wide range of increase in availability of books from myth and fairy-tales to practical and medical. Because of this the literacy rate was on the rise. Inventions of typewriters and later computer based word processors helped the print media. In 1990s developments such as digital multi-media which helps in encoding text, images, animations were notable for the publication and printing industry.

What Future May Hold?

It is difficult to predict the future. The old traditional media is competing with the internet. However, even then books and newspapers are becoming resilient and adaptable. Although everything is available on the internet, readers still like to read newspapers everyday. E-books are becoming successful and reliable today and many have theorized that it will takeover the paper books in future. E-books are more accessible and easier to buy. The rapid growing internet has brought free news where the readers do not to pay for monthly subscriptions. Globalization has also impacted the traditional print media. If history tells us anything is that all things get replaced by more improved and advanced versions of things.

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