Print Media

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Historical Development of Print

Since the dawn of civilization, 30,000 to 35,000 years ago, man has been using written communication in order to transfer complex ideas, information and concepts. They made illustrations which until now serves as a guide for us to understand how they lived and what they believed in. With the extreme evolution that man has passed through, we then started forming our own system of symbols that had given us easier access in understanding the world around us which we call language. It was not until the time when hunter-gather societies turned into agricultural ones did a writing system came to birth.

One of the earliest examples of pictorial writing was found in the excavation of Uruk in Mesopotamia, dating from 3500 B.C. The Sumerians developed cuneiform and wrote on wet clay tablets. The Egyptians after 600 or so years, developed hieroglyphics and soon after, the chinese went on to make their own style of writing. The Chinese were also the ones responsible for the invention of paper as we know it. During the year 105 B.C., Tsai Lun, created paper. They used dried reeds to make parchments and with papyrus, they made rolls. Therefore, it is safe to say that the Chinese made the first of the portable and light writing surface. Forty years later, Pi Sheng would invent the first movable type. It would take literally hundreds of years later, in 1276, for printing to reach Europe in the form of a paper mill in Italy, and another two hundred years until Johannes Gutenburg refined a method to efficiently print books and pamphlets on his Gutenburg press. Before Johann Gutenberg’s invention of printing press, books were produced by scribes based usually monasteries. The process of writing was very laborites. This remained true until the invention of movable type, which is attributed to Jahann Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany, (although the Chinese had a crude version of printing press). Gutenberg was a man of vision and developed movable printing press, which made the process much quicker and cheaper than wood-block printing. However, his investors (Fust and Schoeffer) repossessed his business before the first mass produced book was successfully printed. Gutenberg’s invention was revolutionary. It was the first mass medium, and allowed for free spread of ideas in a completely unprecedented fashion. The developments in the printing of publications years after that would be on the typefaces that would be used. The Industrial Revolution then came to pass and would usher in a new era for type and publication, particularly with Lord Stanhope’s invention of the first all cast-iron printing press, doubling the usable paper size and drastically reducing the use of manual labor.

The history of journalism in the Philippines goes back to the 16th century, the same period when England and Europe were starting on the proliferation of community newspapers. It was in the year 1637 when the "Father of Filipino Printing", Tomas Pinpin, launched the first Philippine newsletter called "Successos Felices" (Fortunate Events). The publication was written in Spanish and contained a 14-page report on current events.

In 1799, following Pinpin's debut in printing, he again came up with his Hojas Volantes or "flying sheets". It was titled "Aviso Al Publico" (Notices to the Public), which served the Spaniards and had a role comparative to a "town crier."

Surprisingly, it took a gap of a little more than a decade before the first actual newspaper, "Del Superior Govierno," was launched by Gov. Fernandez del Forgueras on August 8, 1811. It was the so-called first regularly issued publication that reported developments about Spain and Europe. It was also the first newspaper that included in its layout the name, date and place of its publication. Unfortunately, the paper only came up with 15 issues within its years of operation from 1811 to 1832.

Due to the constraints of the church and government at that time, 35 years...
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