It’s been a while since we first started utilizing print media to advertise products, services or used the same to list out news and transactions. As hard as it can be to believe, print media has been around for more than 5000 years starting with woodblock printing in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC. Of course, the ancient Babylonians certainly knew their cake from butter and were able to put their printing techniques to good use. Printing has evolved since then and the one that we are concerned about is print media. Ever since the first periodicals did the rounds around the 17th centuries, they often had to handwritten. Here’s an interesting titbit, the phrase “hot off the press”, first did the rounds in New Jersey in 1910 and is closely linked to the introduction of metal presses which further enabled companies to mass print newspapers, periodicals and magazines. But given the fact that the print media continues to play an influential role in our society, perhaps it is time that we took a closer look at the same.
Positive impact of print media:
- Advertisement: The ancient Babylonians got it right where the print media was concerned; it is indeed an effective tool for mass communication. That’s why companies often spend in millions each year to advertise their products and services across various forms of print media. To put it in perspective, Vogue magazine, which is often touted as one of the most fashionable magazines of the world, had clocked impressive ad revenue of $500 million in 2013 alone. The fact remains that showcasing ads on these magazines and other forms of print media ensures that your targeted demographic sees the ad and gets the message. And the best part is that as an advertiser, you would have to pay only once and the recipients can view the ad again and again, at no extra cost.
- Mass communication: One of the effective ways to communicate with the masses was through the print media. That’s why the US government ran several ads on various print media to entice young men and women to enlist with the army during the Second World War. Print media remains to date one of the most effective ways to communicate with the general population.
- Entertainment and news: While we do get both instant variations of both news and entertainment through the various television programs, the fact remains that the print media such as newspapers still holds out a special allure to many. This is why, despite being in the digital age, most newspapers reported in an incremental increase in total number of subscribers
Negative impact of print media:
- Negative body image: One of the things that print media had been accused of in the recent past is of stereotyping of what it considers to be the perfect body image. As a result, most of the pictures posted in the print media reflect the same, thin unreasonable waistlines and this is having an impact on the younger generation. As a result, several have opted to starve themselves to achieve that body image, resulting in both severe health complications and fatalities.
- Psychological effect and fake news: The print media needs to understand that it plays an influential role in today’s society. But sadly, some of the companies often rile their audiences while paying little attention to fact and even go to the extent of distorting the truth so that they can make a quick sale. Many a riot had started with less and the costs of such manufactured news are just rising.
- Hidden agenda: Many a news story planted in the print media has often led to governments being dismissed, presidents impeached and in one case, a king to abdicate. It is clear from the outset that the particular news firm had an agenda, but that should not have prevented the firm from exercising their journalistic ethics and objectivity when preparing the news. Sadly, few chose to exercise this at their discretion which is why the next time you read a loaded news item, you may want to keep the salt shaker close by.
These are some of the positive and negative effects of print media and that’s why we need to review carefully before accepting anything in the print media as the gospel truth.