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Modes of Publishing

Unlike last week’s readings which focused on the rise of multimedia platforms; this week centred upon the whole industry, in respects to the past and current ways of publishing distribution. As the lecture and readings showed, print media is becoming phased out by various online resources. Hence the print media has decided to follow suit by creating their own online system of publishing.

With the use of free online resources on the rise, people are now reluctant to purchase the news published in the print media.  Print media corporations now have to look for new modes of publishing in order to gain coverage and ultimately make a profit. An excellent example of this is the New York Times’ paywall system. This allows the users to preview the content and then asking them to pay a subscription in order to view the full content. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger sees that the paywall’s will affect the integrity of today’s journalism and claims that they could ‘lead the industry to sleepwalk into oblivion’ However, despite all the criticisms, the use of the  paywall system has shown to be quite successful.

 

With the recent growth of paywalls and other print media organisations utilising the online resources; will their success continue to grow in the future?  One aspect that may inhibit this is the concept of the public sphere. Going back to the 15th Century, Johannes Gutenberg’s construction of the printing press (one of the first modes of publishing) enabled the eventual growth of the public sphere (i.e. we are socially brought together by the publication). Fast-forward to the 21st Century, the concept of the public sphere is still strong yet even more enhanced and evolved than previous centuries. Yet in this century, we go from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg who has created a somewhat online public sphere. This growth and change in the public sphere has resulted in people becoming more socially interactive and reduces their need to purchase news.

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Publishing: an overview of history and social impacts

This weeks lecture and readings focused on the changes in the way information is spread and publically known. I found the first few points in the lecture interesting by showing similarities and differences between the traditional forms of publishing and where we are heading. Such as comparing smoke signals (alerting the public) to the use of print culture and telecommunication (e.g. internet). These changes throughout time refer to the concepts of orality and literacy. In Walter Ong’s book ‘Orality and literacy: the technologizing of the word’, he researches both concepts and finds that, at times, the transmission of both concepts are not in fact reliable. Ong investigates whether the use of oral traditions are truly passed down accurately. It seems that every time one passes down the information to another we tend to recreate it. They may claim that the information/story is the same but how are they able to check that? The reliability of literacy comes under scrutiny as well the use of writing as it is thought to be inhuman and unnatural. Writing externalises our thoughts and cannot defend itself unlike in oral cultures where real speech and thought exists in the context of ‘give and take’ between real persons (Ong: 106). Writing can also become abstract where things have changed from their specific contexts. When reading a written text, one can think without having to discuss the text. This can lead to a change in their views and to a different sense of self than what may have been if they were informed through spoken words.

From this lecture and the readings, I see that in today’s information age, the changes from an oral culture have resulted in a strong print and telecommunications system where the use of various ereaders or iPads are now becoming the prevailing source of publishing.

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