ERIC Number: ED245260
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-May
Reference Count: 0
The Evangelical Origins of Mass Media in America, 1815-1835. Journalism Monographs Number Eighty-Eight.
Nord, David Paul
Journalism Monographs, n88 May 1984
It was the evangelical Christian publicists in the tract and Bible societies who first dreamed of genuinely mass media--that is, they proposed to deliver the same printed message to everyone in America. To this end, organizations such as the American Bible Society and the American Tract Society helped to develop, in the very earliest stages, the modern printing and distribution techniques associated with the reading revolution in the nineteenth century. Their successes were not as extravagant as their dreams, but by 1830--long before the success of the penny press, or the dime novel, or the cheap magazine--in some sections of the country, they had nearly achieved their goal of delivering their message to everyone. It was the will to print, not the way to print, that first led American evangelicals into the business of mass media. Eventually this will drove the organizers of the Bible and tract societies to adopt better ways to reach the best end. One step was to seek and to promote new printing technology that would be more efficient for mass publication: stereotyping, stem-powered printing, and machine papermaking. Another step was to put aside denominational differences to build a genuine national organization for systematic distribution. A third step was to raise money. For both the American Tract Society and the American Bible Society, the period 1829-1831 was the time of realization that the creation of mass media was possible in America. Many secular associations would eventually adopt the printing, distribution, and organizational methods of these two societies. One of the first was the American Anti-Slavery Society, whose experience with mass media in the 1830s suggests that the pioneering work of the Bible and tract societies had far reaching implications. (HOD)
Descriptors: Information Dissemination, Journalism, Mass Media, Organizational Effectiveness, Printing, Production Techniques, Publishing Industry, Religious Organizations, Technological Advancement, United States History
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Journalism, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208 ($5.00, single issue).
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Collected Works - Serials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Identifiers: American Tract Society; Bible Society; Evangelical Christians; Journalism History