University of Illinois Press

The History of Communication

Published by: University of Illinois Press

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The History of Communication

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Prologue to a Farce

Communication and Democracy in America

Mark Lloyd

A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both.?--James Madison, 1822_x000B__x000B__x000B__x000B_Mark Lloyd has crafted a complex and powerful assessment of the relationship between communication and democracy in the United States. In Prologue to a Farce, he argues that citizens political capabilities depend on broad public access to media technologies, but that the U.S. communications environment has become unfairly dominated by corporate interests. _x000B_Drawing on a wealth of historical sources, Lloyd demonstrates that despite the persistent hope that a new technology (from the telegraph to the Internet) will rise to serve the needs of the republic, none has solved the fundamental problems created by corporate domination. After examining failed alternatives to the strong publicly owned communications model, such as antitrust regulation, the public trustee rules of the Federal Communications Commission, and the underfunded public broadcasting service, Lloyd argues that we must re-create a modern version of the Founders communications environment, and offers concrete strategies aimed at empowering citizens.

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Radio Utopia

Postwar Audio Documentary in the Public Interest

Matthew C. Ehrlich

As World War II drew to a close and radio news was popularized through overseas broadcasting, journalists and dramatists began to build upon the unprecedented success of war reporting on the radio by creating audio documentaries. Focusing particularly on the work of radio luminaries such as Edward R. Murrow, Fred Friendly, Norman Corwin, and Erik Barnouw, Radio Utopia: Postwar Audio Documentary in the Public Interest traces this crucial phase in American radio history, significant not only for its timing immediately before television, but also because it bridges the gap between the end of the World Wars and the beginning of the Cold War._x000B__x000B_Matthew C. Ehrlich closely examines the production of audio documentaries disseminated by major American commercial broadcast networks CBS, NBC, and ABC from 1945 to 1951. Audio documentary programs educated Americans about juvenile delinquency, slums, race relations, venereal disease, atomic energy, arms control, and other issues of public interest, but they typically stopped short of calling for radical change. Drawing on rare recordings and scripts, Ehrlich traces a crucial phase in the evolution of news documentary, as docudramas featuring actors were supplanted by reality-based programs that took advantage of new recording technology. Paralleling that shift from drama to realism was a shift in liberal thought from dreams of world peace to uneasy adjustments to a cold war mentality.

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The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture

Jared Gardner

Countering assumptions about early American print culture and challenging our scholarly fixation on the novel, Jared Gardner reimagines the early American magazine as a rich literary culture that operated as a model for nation-building by celebrating editorship over authorship and serving as a virtual salon in which citizens were invited to share their different perspectives. The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture reexamines early magazines and their reach to show how magazine culture was multivocal and presented a porous distinction between author and reader, as opposed to novel culture, which imposed a one-sided authorial voice and restricted the agency of the reader.

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Saving the World

A Brief History of Communication for Development and Social Change

Emile G. McAnany

Drawing on the pioneering works of Daniel Lerner, Everett Rogers, and Wilbur Schramm as well as his own personal experiences in the field, Emile G. McAnany builds a new, historically cognizant paradigm of communication for development and social change for the future that supplements technology with social entrepreneurship. Summarizing the history of the field of communication for development from Truman's Marshall Plan for the Third World to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, McAnany argues that the communication field can renew its role in development by recognizing large aid-giving institutions have a difficult time promoting genuine transformation. He ultimately suggests an agenda for improving and strengthening the work of academics, policy makers, development funders, and others.

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The Scripps Newspapers Go to War, 1914-18

Dale Zacher

In an age before radio and television, E. W. Scrippss ownership of twenty-one newspapers, a major news wire service, and a prominent news syndication service represented the first truly national media organization in the United States. In The Scripps Newspapers Go to War, 1914-18, Dale Zacher details the scope, organization, and character of the mighty Scripps empire during World War I to reveal how_x000B_the pressures of the market, government censorship, propaganda,_x000B_and progressivism transformed news coverage during wartime._x000B__x000B_This volume presents the first systematic look at the daily operations of any major newspaper operation during World War I and provides fascinating accounts of how the papers struggled with competition, their patriotic duties, and internal editorial dissent. The book also engages questions about American neutrality and the newspapers relationship with President Woodrow Wilson, the move to join the war, and the fallout from the disillusionment of actually experiencing war. Ultimately, Zacher shows how the progressive spirit and political independence at the Scripps newspapers came under attack and was forever changed by this crucial period in American history.

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Speech Rights in America

The First Amendment, Democracy, and the Media

Laura Stein

The First Amendment is the principle guarantor of speech rights in the United States, but the court's interpretations of it often privilege the interests of media owners over those of the broader citizenry. In Speech Rights in America, Laura Stein argues that such rulings prevent the First Amendment from performing its critical role as a protector of free speech, alienate citizens from their rights, and corrupt the essential workings of democracy._x000B__x000B_Stein locates the source of clashes over First Amendment interpretations in the differing views of neoliberal and participatory democratic theory on the meaning of rights and the role of communication in democratic processes. Drawing on the best of the liberal democratic tradition, she develops a systematic and concise definition of democratic speech and compares this definition to legal understandings of speech rights in contemporary media law. She demonstrates that there is a significant gap between First Amendment law and the speech rights necessary to democratic communication, and proposes an alternative set of principles to guide future judicial, legislative, and cultural policy on old and new media.

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The Struggle for Control of Global Communication

The Formative Century

Tracing the development of communication markets and the regulation of international communications from the 1840s through World War I, Jill Hills examines the political, technological, and economic forces at work during the formative century of global communication._x000B_The Struggle for Control of Global Communication analyzes power relations within the arena of global communications from the inception of the telegraph through the successive technologies of submarine telegraph cables, ship-to-shore wireless, broadcast radio, shortwave wireless, the telephone, and movies with sound._x000B__x000B_Global communication began to overtake transportation as an economic, political, and social force after the inception of the telegraph, which shifted communications from national to international. From that point on, says Hills, information was a commodity and ownership of the communications infrastructure became valuable as the means of distributing information. The struggle for control of that infrastructure occurred in part because the growing economic power of the United States was hindered by British control of communications. _x000B__x000B__x000B_Hills outlines the technological advancements and regulations that allowed the United States to challenge British hegemony and enter the global communications market. She demonstrates that control of global communication was part of a complex web of relations between and within the government and corporations of Britain and the United States. Detailing the interplay between U.S. federal regulation and economic power, Hills shows how communication technologies have been shaped by these forces and fosters an understanding of contemporary systems of power in global communications.

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