How news technologies have changed over time?
The print revolution started with the invention of printing by Johann Gutenberg in the fourteenth century. The next important development was the arrival of the telegraph. Many of the twentieth century's scoops were transmitted over telegraph and telex lines.
The telephones brought in a fast means for the reporter to gather information. However, it was not used much for the actual transmission of news as vocal communication was more prone to errors. The telephone, incidentally, gave the inspiration for radio. Parallel to these developments was the evolution of photography, motion picture photography, and television.
Computers have now brought about major changes to the scenario. The way reporters gathered and disseminated news is changing.
Photography is on a threshold with the arrival of digital cameras. Internet is emerging as a medium of mass communication. That brings in fresh competition to other media, even forcing changes in content.
It is to be remembered that none of the tools used by journalism is its own domain. But in every case, journalism brought in an added dimension and character.
The Internet began as a medium for sharing information among military establishments and research institutions. Now, it is increasingly being identified by the common man as a news medium, as it happened with radio and television
Transmission of News
If the teleprinters used to transmit news at the rate of around 80 words per minute some years ago, today transmission speeds of the order of 56 kilobits per second (about 70000 words per minute) are at hand. It is now possible for a reporter to work at home with a computer and file his report over telephone lines.
This has not, however, become common though the technology is here. One of the reasons is the absence of qualified and confident engineers in many newspaper organizations who can tackle viruses, security, and other problems.
Secondly, we are not yet ready to dismantle our offices and turn our homes into workplaces. Such a change obviously has its advantages and disadvantages.
As far as publishing is concerned, the Internet is causing a revolution. It is now within the reach of ordinary individuals to publish something. And the reach is worldwide. This was a situation unthinkable in the past.
Even desktop publishing came nowhere near this. Publishing in the past required large investments. Now, all you need to publish your material worldwide is a computer and an Internet connection.
Many large organizations are now offering free server space for Web publishing. They will host your personal website free in a bid to attract more hits and advertisements to their combined sites and services. The disk space they offer is substantial.