From Pamphlets to Blogs: Communication throughout the American Political Process

The Continental Congress was, in a sense, an early version of a blog. Where these Colonial elites met and voiced their opinions for others to see and hear. In the early days of our Republic, these meetings were kept from the public, for fear of the British arresting them all and ending the much needed debate. Thomas Paine, an influential writer and Founding Father, wrote Common Sense. This pamphlet become the rallying call of the Colonies to revolt against Britain. Hundreds of thousand sold throughout all 13 colonies.  With the formation of the new constitution, a debate began over the size of this new union and the strength of the central government.The Federalists’ writings would later be published in what is know as the Federalist Papers With the opening of non-land holders being able to vote, immigration, and newer technology, the political landscape changed even more in the early 1800s. “In response to these factors and improvements in printing technology, in the mid-1830s, entrepreneurial journalists such as James Gordon Bennett and Benjamin Day in New York, and others in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and elsewhere, cut the price of their daily newspapers to a penny from the six cents it had been before” (Ebook, Chapter 6). This rise of prophets freed many newspapers to become independent with their finances, rather than rely on party leaders.

For the first time in history, the vast majority of the American public could hear their presidential candidate. The growth of radio ownership in the U.S. skyrocketed. In the mid-1920s to early 1930s, “radios were found in more than 45 percent of all U.S. households, and ten years after that, in 1940, more than 80 percent of all U.S households had radios” (ebook, chapter 6). With this rise of radio, came the rise of the modern FCC. They are the owns who censor radio, telecommunications, and the internet. Their main job back then was to allow equal time for political candidates of either parties. They also allowed a candidate who was slandered to have the right to respond to that attack, something that is lacking in print media (ebook, chapter 6). The advantage this made for news and political candidates was extraordinary. President Franklin D. Roosevelt took great advantage of this medium in his “fireside chats.” These talks with the American people went on for 11 years, between 1933 and 1944, FDR gave a total of 30 fireside chats. By the time of his death in 1945, many Americans felt as though a family member had passed away. His use of radio endeared him to millions of everyday Americans.

With the rise of television came the rise of the modern politician. The need to look their best and speak clearly. The first televised presidential debate was in 1960 between Democrat John F Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon. On the screen, Kennedy was perceived as calm, handsome, well put together, and relaxed. Nixon, however, was the complete opposite. He was sweaty, had a 5 o’clock shady, and at one point his head hit the boom mic. From the radio, many thought that Nixon won the debate, but for those watching, they voted Kennedy the winner. They have to be able to get their point across clearly now with instantaneous transmission to millions across the country. Reagan did with the television what FDR did for the radio. He became known as the “great communicator.” Reagan mastered the television. Thanks to his time as a Hollywood actor, he was able to use the television to his benefit. He set the standard for what a President has to look like on camera.

The Internet has revolutionized the way politicians connect with their constituents. With Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, the new forms of connection is endless. During the 2008 campaigns, the online use was above any previous election, and in the 2012 as well! Obama, Hillary, and McCain used social media like no other before. Barack Obama pushed the social media norm through the roof. His connection with young voters and minorities greatly impacted his voter turnout. Continuing it into his Presidency, Barack Obama has weekly addresses on YouTube with those who want to watch. The internet has greatly impacted the way voters get their news. It has opened the talking forum to any and all Americans, which can be a blessing and a curse. For with the lack of ownership and lack of scrutiny, these bloggers can post whatever they want with littler to no backing. Obama knows what it means to live by cura personalis.


The Ever Changing World of the Television

By: Mike Schneid

word count:497

Television is one of the most life changing technologies that humans have ever made.  Television has affected the way people socialize, view politics, and learn to name a few.  In 1928 the first reliable television was made by Philo Farnsworth.  It took until the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City for television to actually start getting recognition (King 420). The average cost of the product was anywhere from $400-$500 dollars, which at the time was very expensive seeing the average American salary was $1300 per year.  There was digression in when the 1940’s came around due to World War 2, and most of the industrial power of the world being put into the war effort.  However in the later part of the decade color television was conceived.

The 1950’s saw the television go from a rare commodity to a household item.  In this decade there was also a large rise in television advertisements which changed the way television was to be seen.  Over the next 10 years there was an astronomical rise in television consumption and nearly every household in America had one (as seen in the graph below).  What television did, was give anyone a view into what was happening all over the world.  In 1969 an estimated 500 million people gathered around their televisions to watch Neil Armstrong land on the moon (King 420).  In the 1970s more shows became available and color television became a huge hit.  The 1980s saw a rise in cable enabling all people of all ages to watch programs.  The VCR was also a huge invention seen that it enabled people to record shows or watch a replaying of a show.  The 1990s saw another drastic change in television where both LCD and plasma displays came out.  There was also many new controls to the T.V. like a sleep timer and parental controls. 

Possibly the largest change to T.V. occurred in the 2000’s with the introduction of the internet.  Early on there were advances such as TiVo where one could record a show directly from the T.V. and a blue ray player that gave better quality to programs.  However today with web 2.0 T.V. has changed to becoming more internet based with many of the largest shows playing on Netflix and DISH TV (King 420).  However even with the internet based providers actually watching television is still very common.  People no longer have the time to sit down and watch a show and people would rather watch on their laptops while doing another task simultaneously.  In 20 years however this may be very different and I feel as if television will almost exclusively be watched online through some sort of provider.  This is because in modern society already it is easier to watch your favorite show when it is convenient for you instead of making your schedule around a show, and there are always more companies coming up with online services.

Works Cited

King, Elliot. “Currents in Communication: Textbook and Reader Book Supplement – December 1, 2014.” Currents in Communication: Textbook and Reader. Web. 1 May 2015.

Communication and Politics Through New Mediums

By Billy Walsh

Political communication has changed throughout the decades. Throughout our country’s history, politicians have used technology to his or her advantage.  Present-day politicians are able to use the new media technologies to help with campaigns and messages for the people.

During the 18th century, politics and communication were not hand-in-hand.  The first time politics and communication collided was with Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. The article was able the colonies suffrage under King George III.  This work helped united many Americans in the campaign for a revolution.  However, the document did not spread quickly throughout the colonies.  The same can be said about the Declaration of Independence.  It took several weeks for the people to read the document in newspapers.  Lack of technology prevented the rapid spread of the news.  Newspapers would not begin to see great expansion until the Telegraph began to be used.  In 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse first showed how the telegraph would play a major role in the speed of communications.  He reported updates from the Whig Party’s national convention in Baltimore to Washington, D.C.  The telegraph would lead newspapers to compete to publish new stories first. By the 1880’s, newspaper printing and typing technology helped the papers spread much faster and to larger markets.  Newspapers began to have a major political impact on the views of the people.  Paper companies would begin to back a particular candidate and help persuade readers to vote for them.

Even as newspapers continued to grow, a new form of technology was about to take the political communication to a new level. The radio became a new form of communication that allowed the people to actually here first from the politicians they sought to vote.  By 1930, forty-five percent of households in the United States would have a radio, and by 1940, eighty percent.  Radio was quickly sentenced to regulation by the government. The Radio Act of 1927 required radio stations to give equal air time to candidates.  The radio would be a major instrument used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt throughout the Great Depression.  The radio talks, also known as “Fireside chats,” became a way for the president to have a personal connection to the people and be present in their homes.

While radio and print media fought it out to determine the best political communication medium, television began to rise.  Television would be a way for people to be able to see the future leaders of the nation before they would be elected.  The importance of this technology would be tested with the 1960 presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.  Debates were a new way to help people form their own opinions on who to support.  During one of the three televised debates the two politicians held, Nixon appeared to be roughed up and tired, while Kennedy was clean and sharp.  After the debate, a poll ran to see who the Americans believed to win the debate.  The people who listened to the radio believed Nixon had won, but, the people who watched on television saw Kennedy as the winner.  Kennedy would go on to win the election, in part to his television exposure.

Television would only improve throughout the decades, but when the presidential election of 2008, social media began to have an impact on the campaigns.  This new technology connected a much younger audience to the election, which helped Barack Obama secure victory over John McCain.  Obama hired Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, to assist in his media campaign.  Although not Facebook alone, the Obama campaign’s use of all forms of social media became known as the “Facebook effect.”

As technology continues to advance, political communication will reach new heights.  Politicians seek ways to connect to the people to show off his or her new ideas and campaign strategies in hope of election.  It will be interesting to see in the future where technology and communication take politics.

Works Cited

E Book, Currents in Communication: Textbook and Reader, 2nd Edition, Chapter 6

Image,, “Political Communication in China”

word count = 672

Television Throughout the Years

By Amanda Pape

Television has become one of the most leaScreen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.40.17 AMding forms of media in the world. A device once found only in the living rooms of people’s homes can now be accessed almost anywhere. So where did it all begin? The idea of the television traces back as early as the 1820’s, but it was not until much later that this idea turned into a reality. Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, a German University student, introduced the concept of an electromechanical television system 1884. This system consisted of rotating disks, called Nipkow disks, that had holes arranged in a spiral patter on the outside of them. Although a prototype of this system was not built, it became the basis of television experiments, which began in the 1920s. The first demonstration of an electronic television was in 1927 by Taylor Farnsworth. Several other inventors experimented with similar designs during this time as well. The first successful electronic television set, consisting of 5 by 12 inch picture tubes, was developed by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and premiered in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair (Textbook, page 427).

Over the decades, television became more and more advanced. In its early stages, television started out as something very basic. Programs were shot with very few cameras and poor lighting and not only was the picture in black and white, but it was also very blurry due to lack of technology. The few things that were aired were sports events like baseball games, or short 15 minute newscasts, known as “Chalk Talks.” Since cable TV was not yet invented, only those who lived within close range of TV stations could actually access television. The growth of television came to a pause when the US entered World War II because most broadcasting companies turned their attention to production for the military. It was not until after this that the real growth of television started. In the 1960’s, the availability of color TV’s grew at a rapid pace. At first, TV productions were based on radio dramas and stage productions but this quickly changed as young writers began emerging and writing new shows. New comedy productions soon began quickly emerging during what came to be known as the “Golden Era” of television. These comedy shows became models for later television shows (Textbook, page 427).

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.43.30 AMThe emergence of cable television in the mid 1970’s significantly increased the amount of channels and genres available (textbook, page 429). Today on television you can find hundreds of channels with news, politics, sports, reality shows, contest shows, dramas, and basically anything you can think of. The technology of the television itself has also improved significantly from small, blurry, black and white screens, to now screens as big as 85 inches with bright picture in High Definition. With the emergence of the Web 2.0 era in the past decade, television has become more readily available to users on the internet. Streaming websites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime allow users to watch their favorite TV shows and movies at any time for just a small monthly fee. With websites like these, Web 2.0 systems could possibly replace cable in the distant future. With technology constantly emerging, in 10-20 years, television will be even more readily available to users.

532 words

Television- Its History and Future

By Megan Malewich

Word Count: 574


Television is a vital part of everyday communication for all people of the world. The history of television shows slow advances in technology with major impacts on the world and how people view it. These advances have affected everything from entertainment to politics. As Web 2.0 has come about, television has had to adapt to remain relevant.

Television has had a long run to where it is at currently. With its building blocks in Marconi’s wireless telegram(ebook, 362), TV began its major impact on the world in the 1950s, though the first television was created in 1927 by Philo Farnsworth and Vladimir Zworkin(ebook, 365). Originally with grainy, black and white images, television shows were thought to be merely visual radios. In 1953, color broadcasting became possible, this made watching a more enjoyable experience. A major breakthrough in television occurred when Ampex developed technology in 1956 for video recording and editing. Television went from all live shows to broadcasts that could be shown at different times. The development of Community Antenna Television (CATV) became the foundation for cable television and allowed more people from all over to have access to television. Cable and satellite, with fiber-optic cables allowed for cable channels to establish hundreds of different channels(ebook, 353). Finally, HDTV came about in the 2000s and allowed for better visuals. The slow development of TV was paired with 30 years of limited choices for viewers. But with advances in technology, starting with VCRs, then to DVDs and Tivo television watching boomed, there was an increase of 21% since these came out. Tivo, which is considered to be “multimedia time warping system”, and all these other technologies allowed for easier TV watching, which could be done on your own time. Series shows with complex story lines, like 24 became a trend (ebook, 330).

The advances of television lead to changes in entertainment and how we view the world. As visuals on tv’s became better and more important, hard news became softer (ebook, 308). Sitcoms, like All in the Family, became hits(ebook, 318) and national networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox News developed. Historical moments, like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon were able to be viewed by all (ebook, 426).

Television had a great effect on politics and political events. TV “became the dominant medium for political campaigns” (ebook, 206). The first nation conventions were aired in 1948. Channels like CNN began to pop up and add commentary to politics. The government became involved with the creation of the FCC, and mandated that both sides of political debate be heard with the Equal Time Rule (ebook, 135). The effects of TV on politics can be seen through the election of JFK over Nixon, after the televised debate in which JFK looked like a better candidate (ebook 211).


One of the first developments seen in television that showed adaption to Web 2.0 was American Idol.  The viewers were active in the results of the show by voting off contestants. But as technologies developed TV developed, as well. Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV and the like are all examples of TV blending itself with Web 2.0. More and more television watching is done over the internet. There are 17 million users of streaming devices. Netflix has developed to allow viewers to have taste profiles and interact with their shows. These sites bring TV to the mobile world through streaming anywhere and everywhere. TV has a future in the world, it will continue to advance with the internet. Television will develop with Web 2.0 to become even more mobile, where all shows can be streamed to anywhere, and become more interactive.

The History and Convergence of Media

By, Ryan O’Leary

Throughout history, humans have developed a need for knowledge of what is going on around them. They discovered that the best way to spread news was through the media, which began in Germany in the late 1400’s. In the 1600’s, England started printing and publishing papers. The London Gazette was created during this time, and is now the longest continually published paper in the world.

In America, freedom of press was granted in 1791 giving all Americans the right to print and publish anything they want. At the time, it was still very hard to spread news despite the growing news industry. The news industry failed for many years, in America, because they only had stories from other countries. They didn’t have enough readers to keep the early companies alive (Ebook Chapter 12). Transporting these papers could takes days or weeks to get to other parts of the country. Any news from across the ocean could take months to arrive. With the development of cars and planes throughout the next couple centuries, the media was able to spread faster and faster. Soon after in 1895, Gugliemo Marconi invented the radio, which could be used to broadcast news to peoples homes. This led to the invention of the television in 1926, which revolutionized the way people got information. People could start watching the news from their homes starting in 1930. Possibly the greatest addition to the way people view media in the 21st century is the internet. With it came e-mail, social media, online news, videos and much more. Based on all these media platforms, a better way of viewing media has emerged.

Newspapers used to be the leading way to get news about current events, local news, global news, and job opportunities. With the creation of new media, the newspaper has begun to die out because it became much easier to find news elsewhere. Some people started watching the nightly news on TV, where others check online websites and blogs for their news. This decline led to newspaper corporations to adapt to new media standards. All news companies now have websites with all their news and information.  The creation of web2.0 caused these companies to make their news interactive online.Companies like The Baltimore Sun have added interactive, social options to their website.They have comment sections for articles, ways to contact the writer, and they make it extremely easy to share the article on other platforms. Media companies also have to be active on social media. Spreading the news through websites like, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are some of the best ways to get a story to go viral. In this modern time, people like interacting with websites, knowing they can comment on something and someone will read it. They can react to a video and can instantly show someone on the other side of the world. The Media is constantly changing,  The convergence of the internet, television, radio and the media changed the way the world sees news and companies need to stay on top of that change in order to succeed and flourish for the years to come.

Word Count: 517

WEB 2.0 & Medium Theory (Final exam question)

By: Doug Robie

Word Count:523

Medium theory deals with a form of analyzing media and how it is used. Our textbook cites the main aspect of Medium theory, “focuses on the particular characteristics of each individual medium or of each particular type of media.” (Medium theory (textbook)) Medium theory looks to analyze, how society is using the medium and how the medium is becoming more integrated into their culture. In summary Medium theory is used to see how the medium of communications effects the general population in the way they use the medium and how they react to the medium.

The textbook gives two great examples of era that were directly affected by medium theory, the Medieval Church and the Roman Empire. The medieval church had control over all the religious information available until the printing press came along. The printing press was revolutionary in Medium theory because it changed people’s ability to read and communicate with others, or gain direct access to the sacred scriptures like in this particular case. This revolution allowed people to care for oneself entirely because they now had a way to help themselves spiritually, the Jesuits call this cura personalis.

Then in the Roman Empire the textbook talks about how they used papyrus to communicate through out there empire and how they were able to send information back and forth. This incorporates medium theory because it was the Roman Empire using a new form of communication to revolutionize the world and control their empire

The new media of “Web.2.0” correlates to medium theory because it is a new way that people are using to communicate. Web 2.0 allows people to expand their social circles and people are no longer constrained to factors such as location. We no longer have to depend solely on what people tell us because we can use the internet and its new resources to find out new information and details for ourselves much like the freedom the printing press provided but on a much larger scale.

In an article talking about web 2.0 and medicine says, “Seeking health information has been and remains a major function of Internet and Web use. For example, approximately 80% of American Internet users, or 59% of American adults, seek health information online.” (Witteman) This shows how web 2.0 impacting the ability to access more information and possibly improve their health and have better knowledge of what’s going on in their bodies. Web 2.0 through social media is also allowing people to voice their support and opinions on different issues. The Huffington post points to the #SaveJosh campaign as an example where twitters overall voice and impact was used to make a change. Through twitter they were able to change a drug companies mind and save the life of a 7 year old boy. Another example the Huffington post talks about #SFBatKid where the make a wish foundation was able to reach over 10,000 people to help make a little boy with leukemia dream come true. interviewed Twitter’s VP of product who said watching how the election was effected by twitter and how Obama announced he won re-election through twitter was “Amazing.”