Introduction of Print Media | Bizfluent (2023)

Now that so much media is electronic or digital, it's hard to imagine there was ever a time before print media was invented. The earliest civilizations only had oral communication. If they had news to tell, they ran to the nearest person to spread the word to others, who each did the same until everyone had heard the news. Then people began to write down their news in picture form and then in crude languages where symbols stood for words and letters. It took the inventions of paper and the printing press for print media to come into regular use. Once it did, there was no turning back.

What Is Print Media?

Simply stated, print media is the printed version of telling the news, primarily through newspapers and magazines. Before the invention and widespread use of printing presses, printed materials had to be written by hand. It was a painstaking process that made mass distribution impossible.

At first, news was chiseled in stone. Later, it was handwritten and posted in a public area much like today's posters or read from a scroll by a town crier. As early as 131 B.C., the ancient Roman government produced daily news sheets and informed the public in this way. Through the years, print media evolved to include entertainment, educational topics and more, instead of only conveying news.

A Brief History of Printing

Around the year 932, Chinese printers adapted wood blocks, which had been used to print illustrations and small amounts of text, and started producing popular books more easily. Each page of text was one block that could be used repeatedly to make the books.

About 100 years later, China's Bi Sheng invented movable type by carving individual characters onto small blocks of clay. Each small block was hardened by fire to become a porcelain piece that could be used again and again. The pieces were glued to iron plates to make a page. Using each page hundreds or thousands of times, he could mass produce news quickly. When the printing was done, the pieces were removed from the plates to be used again to make other pages.

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Bi Sheng's invention had limited success in China because the Chinese alphabet's characters are so large that they were difficult to put on movable type. His idea spread all over the world, however, and others adapted it using other materials such as wood, tin and copper. Still, the process was too cumbersome to mass produce a newspaper for the public.

Printing Press Mass Produces Newspapers

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg introduced his invention of a movable type printing press with type that was much easier to change, making the mass production of news pages possible. The invention spread throughout Europe, and printing and distributing sheets of news became popular.

The World Association of Newspapers considers the first newspaper to be The Relation, which was published in Germany in 1604. It was published regularly (weekly), disseminated to the public and covered a range of news, from politics to entertainment.

The Oxford Gazette was the first English paper to be published, starting in 1665. It moved to London the next year and was renamed the London Gazette. It is still published today as the official publication of government news.

Although the early American colonies published news sheets, the first true newspaper was published in Boston in 1690. Called Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick, it ran into trouble for publishing political criticism. Its publisher, Benjamin Harris, was arrested and all copies were destroyed. While the American colonies were adamant about freedom of religion, freedom of the press was another matter.

The first successful newspaper in America was the Boston News-Letter in 1702. Its publisher, John Campbell, was careful not to publish any criticisms of the government. When Ben Franklin's brother was arrested in 1722 for publishing news critical of the government, he turned over his paper, The New England Courant, to Ben.

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Too Pricey for the Public

Ironically, the early mass-produced newspapers cost close to what most workers earned in a week, so only the wealthy could afford to buy them. Wealthy people were more likely to be literate at that time too. By the 1830s, though, publishers were able to print newspapers for about one cent per copy, making them truly available to the masses.

By 1900, newspapers were very popular because more people were literate and papers were affordable. They included the features we recognize today, including attention-grabbing headlines, news, society pages, sports, comics and the occasional use of spot color in special instances.

Four Main Types of Printmaking

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Writers may beg to differ, but it can't be denied that pictures grab attention and enhance the written word, whether in a book, in a newspaper or on a billboard.

Images have been used along with words since the early days of printmaking. There are four ways to make prints from an original piece of art: relief, intaglio, lithography and screen printing. Choosing which type to use depends on the effect the artist and printer want to achieve.

Relief printmaking uses wood, plastic or metal that the artist cuts into, cutting away the portions that won't be printed. When ink is applied to the surface, it highlights the raised areas, much like a rubber stamp does when pressed into a stamp pad. Woodcut has been used for centuries due to the availability of smooth hardwoods. Linocut is a more recent 20th century version of woodcut that uses linoleum. Wood engraving uses wood with no grain showing to achieve fine detail, and plastic is often used instead of the wood.

Intaglio works in a nearly opposite way. Instead of creating raised areas, the artist etches grooves with an instrument or with acid. When ink is applied, it seeps into the grooves. The printing press pushes paper against the surface and ink in the grooved areas is printed. Different techniques can be used in intaglio to create soft lines, shading and detail.

Lithography uses a flat piece of material, such as limestone or aluminum. The artist applies a greasy medium, like grease crayons, or a more liquid grease solution to the areas to be printed. After treating the surface with a chemical solution, the ink adheres to the greased areas.

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Screen printing, also called serigraphy, uses silk or another fine mesh material which is stretched tightly on a frame. Areas that aren't to be printed are blocked off with paper, glue or specially made stencils. Ink is applied and pressed through the fabric with wood to which a rubber blade has been attached. (Think of a squeegee pressed against a surface to push water away.) The screen process is repeated for each color used, blocking out areas that aren't to be printed in that color.

Types of Printing

Offset printing uses lithography to print on flat surfaces, like paper and plastic. When color is used, printing presses have a separate unit for each color and typically apply black ink first, followed by the colors one at a time. When mass quantities are needed, such as when printing newspapers, a large roll of paper may be used instead of individual sheets.

Flexology can be used to print on other materials, like cellophane and plastic labels, but is also sometimes used for newspapers. This process has a rubber plate that is inked and applied to the printing surface.

Rotogravure is a longstanding process that uses a cylinder instead of a flat plate. The image is engraved onto this cylinder and ink is applied. It's been used for both newspaper and magazine printing but is often substituted today by offset printing and flexology, depending on the purpose.

Digital printing using inkjet or laser printers has replaced many other printing processes because of the availability of accurate and affordable printers that can print on many different materials.

Competition from Electronic Media

Newspapers faced competition with the introduction of electronic media, which includes radio, television, CDs, DVDs and the internet.

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Radio and television are often called broadcast media because they are broadcast for all to hear, rather than reading print media. Radio transmissions began in the early 1900s but didn't take off until NBC began in 1926 and CBS began in 1927. People were fascinated by the ability to hear the news instead of just reading it. Families gathered around their radio sets listening to the news of the day, particularly during events such as elections, presidential speeches and news during World War II.

Television was introduced at the 1939 World's Fair. It was merely a curiosity at this point, though, since its cost was roughly one-third of the average U.S. household's annual income. Technological advances resulting from World War II made television affordable for the masses in the 1950s. Advertisers jumped at the chance to reach housewives through soap operas, aptly named because the dramas were sponsored by soap manufacturers.

By the 1960s, families gathered around their television sets as they had for radio decades earlier. Watching shows together became a nightly ritual. Television programming wasn't round-the-clock as it is today, but it started with a few programs at specific days and times. Cable channels expanded programming to all hours of the day.

Computers Lead to the Internet

By the 1980s, businesses sported desktop computers in their offices, and soon it became common to have one at home too.

The World Wide Web was introduced to the public in 1991. When Google introduced its search engine in 1998, people suddenly had a way to get vast amounts of information easily. Generations of people who grew up with internet availability at their fingertips began to get their news and conduct their research online instead of in print, and the internet became a clear competitor to print media as a way to spread news and information.

Print media, such as newspapers and magazines, responded by hosting online websites in addition to their print version, and some even closed their print medium to become a wholly online medium. Others ceased production and closed their doors completely.

The predicted demise of print media, however, hasn't happened. Many people use the internet but still like to hold a physical newspaper or magazine in their hands. It's familiar and reliable and not prone to glitches or outages. Physically turning the pages gives a feeling of satisfaction and control unmatched by any electronic medium.

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New print vehicles that cater to today's audiences continue to open. Many successful magazines have popped up as a result of popular TV programs, particularly food, home improvement and health shows. Instead of trying to compete with electronic media, successful print publishers look at what's popular in digital media and enhance it with print versions like HGTV Magazine, Rachel Ray Every Day and Martha Stewart Living. Health publications like Prevention are still flourishing, as well as health niche publications like Shape and Runner's World.


Who introduced print media? ›

Goldsmith and inventor Johannes Gutenberg was a political exile from Mainz, Germany when he began experimenting with printing in Strasbourg, France in 1440. He returned to Mainz several years later and by 1450, had a printing machine perfected and ready to use commercially: The Gutenberg press.

What is the introduction of printing? ›

Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg introduced the first movable type printing system in Europe. He advanced innovations in casting type based on a matrix and hand mould, adaptations to the screw-press, the use of an oil-based ink, and the creation of a softer and more absorbent paper.

What are print media? ›

Print media is one of the oldest and basic forms of mass communication. It includes newspapers, weeklies, magazines, monthlies and other forms of printed journals. A basic understanding of the print media is essential in the study of mass communication.

Why is it called print media? ›

Newspapers is known as Print media because they come to the general public in printed form, hard copy.

What are the types of print media? ›

Print media advertising is physically printed media including newspapers, magazines, posters and billboards and direct mail.
  • Newspapers and Weeklies. ...
  • Consumer and Trade Magazines. ...
  • Billboards and Posters. ...
  • Direct Mail: Letters and Postcards. ...
  • Print Media Selection.

What is print media and its characteristics? ›

Print media are lightweight, portable, disposable publications printed on paper and circulated as physical copies in forms we call books, newspapers, magazines and newsletters. They hold informative and entertaining content that are of general or special interest.

What is print media in education? ›

Print media is used as a powerful information tool worldwide that helps to increases children's literacy by using the print media sources as a teaching tool for them [6].

What is print media Wikipedia? ›

Print media transmit information via physical objects, such as books, comics, magazines, newspapers, or pamphlets. Event organising and public speaking can also be considered forms of mass media.

What is print media and example? ›

Print media is a form of publishing that relies upon paper as its medium. Magazines, newspapers, flyers, and books are all examples of print media.

Why is print media popular? ›

Publications, posters, brochures, and other types of printed materials can stay in circulation over a longer period. Magazines and newspapers can stay in offices or homes for months or even years while internet ads come and go quickly. Banner ad across the top of the page is gone forever once you refresh the page.

What is popular print media? ›

'Popular print media' is a term that describes a wide variety of media formats that include newspapers, magazines, billboards, and advertising flyers.

Why is printing important? ›

Printing allows you to target a much larger market; especially in the local area that you might be based. Flyers allows for mass market distribution meaning you can target a large audience without spending a great deal of money.

What is the structure of print media? ›

The newspaper structure can be broken down into four key sections which includes the headline, byline, the lead, the body, and the tail.

Is print media still useful? ›

Not only has it stood the test of time, but people appreciate print media for its comfort, relevance, and privacy while reading it. Unlike digital media, print is tactile and personal.

What are 3 types of print media? ›

Some of the most effective types of print advertising include:
  • Newspaper. Newspaper ads are still highly regarded as a useful marketing tool for getting the message out to a particular audience. ...
  • Magazine. ...
  • Direct Mail. ...
  • Brochures.

What is the importance of media? ›

The purpose of a media is to give information about current news, gossips, Fashion, and the latest gadgets in the marketplace of the people. The role of a media has to be one way trading and marketing of products, and prejudices. It gives geographical knowledge about how people divided.

What are the five print media? ›

Magazines, newspapers, flyers, newsletters, scholarly journals and other materials that are physically printed on paper are examples of print media.

What is the difference between print media and social media? ›

Print media puts your brand in people's hands

While social media is great for spreading news fast, printing leaflets or flyers to promote your business can actually be more effective, as it allows you to put your brand in people's hands.

Is print media better than electronic media? ›

One of the best benefits of print media is that it has a higher frequency opportunity of viewing than online ads. Since the newspaper or magazine may sit on a table or rack at a business or home, repeated exposures are allowed.

When was print media founded? ›

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.

What is the history of print media? ›

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg introduced his invention of a movable type printing press with type that was much easier to change, making the mass production of news pages possible. The invention spread throughout Europe, and printing and distributing sheets of news became popular.

Where was the first form of print media used? ›

Movable type and paper were invented in China, and printing with movable type was undertaken in Korea by the 14th century, if not earlier. The printing press first became mechanized in Europe. The earliest mention of a printing press in Europe appears in a lawsuit in Strasbourg in 1439.

Who created the first newspaper? ›

In 1609, Johann Carolus published the first regular newspaper in Strassburg, comprising brief news bulletins. By the 1620s, numerous major cities had newspapers of 4 to 8 pages appearing at irregular intervals; all were strictly censored. The first daily newspaper appeared in 1660 in Leipzig.

Why is print media important? ›

It can create credibility

Another reason why print media is important is because it creates credibility. Investing in printed material signals to customers that you are serious about your business and that you offer a worthwhile product or service.

What are the uses of print media? ›

The advertising industry identifies print media as one of the oldest mediums used to promote products. By advertising services and brands, businesses target to attract and influence consumer buying habits. More so, marketers use print media advertising to reach out to prospects, businesses, and the general public.

What is print media and examples? ›

Print media is a form of publishing that relies upon paper as its medium. Magazines, newspapers, flyers, and books are all examples of print media.

How many types of print are there? ›

When it comes to professional printing processes there are three main types: Offset litho printing. Digital Printing. Screen printing.

What is modern print media? ›

Some examples of print media include books, business cards, brochures, coupons, ads in magazines or newspapers, ads on billboards, postcards and even product packaging.

What is the structure of print media? ›

The newspaper structure can be broken down into four key sections which includes the headline, byline, the lead, the body, and the tail.

What is print media in education? ›

Print media is used as a powerful information tool worldwide that helps to increases children's literacy by using the print media sources as a teaching tool for them [6].

What is the process of printing? ›

Steps of the printing process

Prepress operations include composition and typesetting, graphic arts photography, image assembly, and image carrier preparation. Press refers to actual printing operations. Postpress primarily involves the assembly of printed materials and consists of binding and finishing operations.

Who is the father of newspaper? ›

James Augustus Hicky is known as the father of Indian journalism. He launched India's first newspaper, the Bengal Gazette along with the Calcutta General Advertiser, in 1780. The paper lasted just two years before being seized by the British administration in 1782 for its outspoken criticism of the Raj.

What is newspaper used for? ›

newspaper, publication usually issued daily, weekly, or at other regular times that provides news, views, features, and other information of public interest and that often carries advertising.


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