Arts and Culture

Week 2: Technology and its Effects on Journalism

Journalism changes society… And technology changes journalism.

Journalism has had an ever-changing effect on society throughout the years. Politicians and offices have been able to manipulate information and censor opinions. The Kerykes and Tipao were effective and useful in their own means, but they were easily manipulated to fit the agenda of the writer or speaker. This all changed with the creation of Gutenberg’s Printing Press. Up to this point, newspapers didn’t exist. Books were handwritten or created with a wooden press, which was far too inefficient.

In 1450, the printing press was created; thus the first mass-produced books were printed, among which was the Gutenberg Bible. According to writer J. M. Porup, Gutenberg’s press changed the world forever and the societal movements and changes that it caused are among the greatest in human history. This resulted in an increased availability of texts which brought about several advantages. Among the most important was increased literacy due to less expensive and more available books. While technology made printing easier, nevertheless, the technique was still slow and costly compared to modern printing. An example is that a copy of the Bible was more affordable and more efficiently created than a handwritten version, but it still cost three times the average salary of a clerk at the time.

One of the more notable events caused by the printing press happened in 1517. Martin Luther had rocked the entire continent of Europe by denouncing the church while spreading his message through the printing press. This would have been impossible just a full century ago: to stand up against the largest political and military entity in the world. However, the printing press made this endeavor much easier. As Andrew Vachss once said, “Journalism is what maintains democracy. It’s the force for progressive social change.”

The printing press allowed the redistribution of power. More and more individuals were becoming literate, and as a result, the aristocracy’s power and influence started to lessen, all while the church struggled to maintain influence over its followers during the aftermath of Martin Luther’s publications.

This was one of the first instances that technology revolutionized journalism and the way that society itself operated. These progressive changes gave way to a more advanced and stable society for hundreds of years. This further enhanced the accessibility to information and forever marked politics, economics, and populations of the world.


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