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Chapter 4 (part 1)

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 1 month ago

Chapter 4 (part 1)

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Newspaper's form remains,but its content changes:the development of news created a series of revolutions in the tools of publishing and helped the people:the Tv stopped the war in Vietnam-the documentaries made the Government to stop the war.

Media's effects:especially visual effects help people to take decisions quickly and to interract rapidly for their safety.

'Camera's eye' and the results-news or documentaries-inform the individuals about world's aspects and this gives them a better life:peace,no war,no polution,better schools and better communication.


Technology helps socialcultural factors as politics,economics and photojournalism to "change" their image day by day and publishers to "change" printer's face.

Before 900th century people didn't have the "image" of the world,but,at the end of it,things changed and people started to see the real face of world-just watching a picture;a picture can illustrate a way of life,a group of people with problems or a country which is in war.

Pictures can solve problems,but also can create big ones-ones that reveal secret documents or stuff like that-it's our choice how we interpretate an image.


A PICTURE hasn't any standards:it can be watched by any type of people,of any colour,religion or social class.

Pictures-photography and photojournalism-birthed and started the modern era of news.

Photojournalism's history begins in 1830s in Great Britain and in United States.


XXX IN Italy there was the Domenica del Corriere: I have uploaded a file (see "files") about it (Fabrizio)with some images: however, the text of the file is: --


I would like to underline that even in Italy we have had very important illustrated newspapers, appearing weekly. The most famous was the Domenica del Corriere, founded in 1899 and closed in 1989 (http://www.clubdomenica.it).

In my opinion it is a very interesting example for our analysis since it was illustrated by a famous painter (Beltrami). In fact, this kind of newspaper are still precious from an artistic point of view.

It is worth noting that the main aspect of the newspaper was exactly the illustration which depicted an interesting, very often funny or unusual event, or important people.

In this regard, the text was a sort of subtitle which exactly explained the action represented.



It was a kind of window towards the world, but always interpreted by the newspaper, and often using a moralizing outlook.



For us, too, this kind of newspaper is an interesting window, since it allows us to have a look to at an old society and at its values.




It seems to me that there are a great deal of similarities with the examples mentioned in the Chapter 4. Not only; I would suggest that, even in this case, this Italian newspaper took inspiration from an American experience.--







A daily newspaper caontinues breaking news and so the reader can see each day's events.


I've found an interesting web site on photojournalism.. I've yet put it on the links, it is http://digitaljournalist.org/contents.html





Oriana: During the last century, the development of technology has helped a lot in the information field, from TV to newspapers above all. Now, researchers and politicians' attention is turning on focusing in new media and their power on people (the use of internet in the civic culture and no more in military field is going fast and there is no a good legislation which gives general rules, so politics are focusing the attention on it).


However, I would like to turn your attention in newspapers as a form of communication putting together with the connection of images and new technology.

We can not look in our history at newspapers separate from images and then, photographs.

At the beginning, as the professor wrote in his book, newspapers were just written and there were few "__images__" drawn on them.

Sometimes journalists, paid to be to a particular event, were not drawing what they were supposed to see because they were late etc. So, newspapers' readers were looking at images which they were not true events. It existed the risk to look no a real event.

In my opinion, editors understood the power of photographs (more than images) in newspapers from the first decades of the 19th century.

I read in an encyclopedia that the emergence of photojournalism depended upon technological developments in the camera and the necessity to be witness during a particular event of the history: the Crimean War (1853-1856).

So, development of new cameras and necessity to be witnesses to inform public opinion create photojournalism.

In addition, we have to think on reading important news without images is not so incisive and real as with pictures.

Readers are not feeling part of the news and not full-informed without pictures. Also, they don't have an idea of what is happening in the real world because the only thing to do is imagine and as we know, every person is able to read news but imagination differs on each other. That's why I think editors started to think on the development of photographs, not only a form of beauty in newspapers but a particular kind of window opened into the world for readers.


Another point I would like to focus on is the discovering by editors, journalists etc. about necessity of photojournalism during the Crimean War, the necessity to be there.

Nowadays, exactly 150 years later, another war is going on but this time is happening exactly the opposite thing of the Crimean War.

Italian journalists, newspaper photograper and freelance journalists are banned from Iraq.

Now, it is more than one year that in Iraq there are no italian journalists from private channels (Mediaset, LA7) or national tv channel (RAI), from Nassirya too (an area located in the south, under control of italian army). The only way to get in is to be an embedded journalist. It means you have to sign a contract and you are not free to move as you always did in in the past in a particular country during a war.

It does not mean embedded journalists are journalist-servant but journalists are putting in a position in which they are not free to take photographs or write news as always did. They are no more witnesses. So, in my opinion newspapers are in a worst situation like journalists and readers feel it.


Finally, it is written in the book that "in common sense, television ended the war in Vietnam because of its qualities as a visual and domestic technology: it showed dead bodies in people's living rooms and people made the government stop the war". I would like to underline in this sentence the power of visual images on people. Stopping a war is not so simple if public opinion show this particular desire.

I would like to remember another war linked in a certain way to the war in Vietnam: the war in Cambodia. The war in Vietnam started in 1964 and finished in 1975.

The war in Cambodia started in 1975 and finished in 1979.

Definitely, they are linked togheter.

If media showed with the power of images the war in Vietnam and public stopped it, this was not happened for the Cambodia.



Barbara: Technologies change a lot the form of the newspaper in the last years.

Before nineteenth century common people could see only few pictures in magazines and newspaper. The illustrations were unclear, the distant and the frame provided ordinary people and places wrongly and unclear. They were without any comment, as well.

Only after the beginning of nineteenth century techniques of illustration and compositions become very important and changed in a radical way to take and show photos.

The most important categories were political, military and sports events.They rapresented real things so readers could trust that the image represented the event.

The built environment was one of the favorite themes in the illustrated newspaper and the power of nature emerged, as well.

The figure of the chief artist introduced in the company of editors became very important. He selected and worked out the illustrations in order to show in the best way.

From this years on illustrations never stood without comment. Text amplified and explained the illustrations.


Photography played a most revolution role in the newspaper.Photography was the most adapted way to fix the reality! In fact people appeared for the first time arrested in motion. Well, in this way people could see the real images of battle scenes like the Civil War and II World War.

The rise of photography in the newspaper was the rejection of the regime of illustrated journalism. It was more truthful than the previously illustrations but at the same time obscuring the centrality of human mediation.


From my point of view, I think the technology development started in USA and went on to other countries in Europe. In Italy we have a similar course. The first newspapers and magazines were without illustrations. Then with the birth and development of technologies everythings changed. Television, radio and newspaper have always been in competition among them.

Thanks to the technology a lot of improvments were made in the journalism and editors. Although nowsday they still go on, journalists and politicians pay more attention on how affect and attract people, especially young people. The main reason could be political and commercial.




















The Regime of Illustrated News, 1856-1901

Technology so far has been a background player in our story. From time to time a new technique (like stereotyping) or an institutional development that exploited technologies in a new way (such as woodcut houses that produced ads) appeared on stage. On occasion a major systematic change (like the telegraph) involved new technology, but at no point did technology driven the changes we have discussed. Instead it acted as a tertiary force, providing the props and backdrops for broad socio-cultural factors like politics and economics and for the design sense of printers and publishers.


The pace of technological change picked up by mid-nineteenth century, and with it the amount of attention paid to technological forces in descriptions of news and newspapers. It became common (and remains so among some historians) to talk about the development of news as a series of revolutions in the tools of publishing and to talk about the power of the press as coming directly out of these new tools. In common sense, television ended the war in Vietnam because of its qualities as a visual and domestic technology: it showed dead bodies in people's living rooms, and people made the government stop the war. In that one simple sentence lies a set of arguments about communication and media effects. The tools (the camera's eye) dictate both form and content and predictable results follow.


In its purest form, this habit of thought has the entire modern world flowing from new machines. The steam engine and the dynamo produced raw power with even greater efficiency, allowing for the railroad and the telegraph, to pump goods and data through the social system at ever greater speeds, allowing the new industrial factory and the new industrial school and the new middle class home, and hence the modern individual, a centered subject in a changing society full of choices to be made.


Picture technologies occupy a special niche in this narrative. Before the nineteenth century ordinary people had few pictures and had no real way of knowing what distant people and places looked like. By the end of the century photography and new techniques of photo reproduction promised to provide realistic pictures of anyone or anything anywhere in the world. Surely this was a tremendous change.


Thinkers have made much of the new picturing technology. Taking a cue from Walter Benjamin (1968), many see the age of mechanical reproduction as marking a fundamental rupture in art, ending the era of concrete physical uniqueness and finally allowing the occasion of a hyper-real world of simulacra. Others, following Foucault, see photography giving rise to a new scopic regime (Crary, 1990) in which picturing technologies allow increased surveillance and discipline. The diverging positions have opened a fertile region of controversy, and scholars debate what they call the ocular-centrism of the modern era and the importance of picturing technology in creating so-called prosthetic memory (Jay, 1993; Lury, 1998).


In any version, photography as a technology played a most revolutionary role. It sparked an internal revolution that extended from the broadest social practices and institutions to the deepest seat of individual subjectivity. It birthed the modern sense of self.


In Part II we examine the history of news practices with these issues in mind. We find that, well, things were complicated. The line between photography and other kinds of picturing was quite blurred, as was the line between realism and its opposites, romanticism and impressionism. We find the modern after all, but not coming out of the camera per se. And we find that photojournalism's complicated history raises questions about its legacy.


Photojournalism, it is often assumed, came out of the camera full-armored like Athena out of the head of Zeus. This is certainly not the case. Contrary to the received history, in which all techniques and styles of news illustration lead toward the photograph at the summit of journalistic representation, research underscores the contingency of photographic styles and usages (see Chapter 5). That photography might wed permanently with news was not obvious in the Victorian era. Its adoption or rejection depended not on technical barriers but on its usefulness to the existing regime of news illustration, dominated by typography, and its capacity otherwise to express the routines of news work. Available technology sometimes limited the styles and usages of photography, but this limiting was just that: a limitation. It did not amount to a photo-technological determination of the project of journalism.


Within the larger regime of news illustration, moreover, photojournalism appeared tardily. Beginning in the 1830s, in England and the United States, newspaper and magazine publishers began to experiment with the use of various kinds of illustrations. This experimentation preceded the successful introduction of photography in the form of the daguerreotype in 1839 (Anderson, 1991; Brown, 1993). The numerous technologies available to illustrators included woodcuts and wood engravings, various forms of metal engravings, and lithography. Eventually these combined with photography, but much as it was talked about as supremely realistic and unauthored, as an epochal invention, a radically different and discontinuous tool of illustration, photography was used simply as one tool among many.


The key figure in this regime of illustration was the artist. Every news illustration had to be composed and rendered by an artist of one sort or another - usually either a sketch artist, an engraver, or both. These artists were journalists, like the textual journalists of the printerly and Victorian newspaper, and they fell into the same categories - correspondents and scavengers. Their jobs were the same as the textual journalists - to provide intelligence about distant and important people, places, and events, and to provide a fulsome and engaging miscellany of deviant goings-on.


This chapter analyzes the regime of illustrated news in the United States in the period from the late 1850s to the assassination of President McKinley in 1901. The period begins with the establishment of the first successful illustrated newspapers in the United States and ends with the full implementation of the photographic halftone. Culturally, it corresponds to the rise of a realist ethos, both in art and literature and in the social sciences (Orvell, 1990; Michaels, 1988). In journalism, it corresponds to the growth of a sense of literary professionalism that produced the great muckraking reporters, and also to the birth of press clubs, trade periodicals, and other institutions that would support the emergence of the occupational ideology of objectivity (Schudson, 1978; Wilson, 1985). In terms of the media system as a whole, the period begins with a largely partisan newspaper press and with a largely genteel range of nationally circulated magazines, and ends with an industrialized newspaper system employing an increasingly routinized pattern of news production and with a new range of mass circulation popular magazines (Baldasty, 1993; Ohmann, 1996). Meanwhile, the readers of the print media had become more and more socialized into the “land of desire” that the advertisers in the media were helping to create (Leach, 1993; Lears, 1994).


In this chapter we look at two illustrated periodicals, Leslie's and Harper's, easily the most important of the genre. They share many similarities: both were printed in New York, both appeared weekly, both circulated nationally, both were founded in the mid- to late-1850s, and both came of age during the Civil War. As we shall see, both also used similar techniques of illustration for similar content. They also differed in important ways. Leslie's insisted that it was a newspaper and maintained an emphasis on breaking news. It was the mainstay of the company that produced it, and sought out a large, heterogeneous readership (its circulation varied from around 50,000 to around 200,000, with higher peaks for dramatic issues, like assassinations, because much of its circulation was in single-copy sales, see Brown, 1993, Chapter 1). Harper's was published by the nation's leading book publisher. It aimed at a more genteel audience, was more concerned with literature and the arts, and recycled its illustrations in its other publications, notably novels and a monthly magazine. Where Leslie's was a newspaper, Harper's styled itself “A Journal of Civilization,” a nomination it took seriously. We base our comments in this chapter on a sample of representative issues from each taken at five-year intervals (1856, 1861, 1866, and so forth).


Techniques of illustration


Nineteenth-century printing found picture reproduction challenging (Carlebach, 1992). The basic technical difficulty was getting an image onto a material that could be locked into a printing form along with textual material. More than a dozen discrete solutions were found for this one problem. Of these, woodcuts and later wood-engravings were the favorite media for printers of news illustrations. Both, of course, required the hand of an engraver. Both also required a supply of suitable wood. Leslie's pioneered routines for both requirements (Brown, 1993, 48-59). The preferred wood for engraving grew in trees with trunks no larger than six inches in diameter, too small for a half-page or full-page engraving. Leslie's solution was to machine the wood into uniform blocks two inches square, then bolt them together to form a smooth block of any desired size. This allowed for a routinization of the hand of the engraver as well. The outlines of a picture were engraved on a large composite block by a head engraver, then the block was broken down and the pieces distributed to specialist engravers, who worked simultaneously. The various engravers had specific skills - one was good at faces, for instance, and another at architectural details - so that a complex division of labor was built into the routine.


The composition of an engraving followed a similar routine. Artists in the field - sketch artists and photographers, among others - would collect images. Then a chief artist in house would select among these pieces. Some, such as portraits of individual statesmen, would be engraved from one image or photograph. Others, such as large-scale depictions of events, would be composed from a large number of individual drawings and combined into one continuous scene. These sometimes formed two-page panoramic center spreads. The chief artist or engraver would often include a signature on these, in effect introducing the chief artist into the company of editors like Horace Greeley, cartoonists like Thomas Nast, and the pseudonymously bylined correspondents of major news organizations as journalistic personae.


This process made illustration in the news weeklies collective and routinized. Each illustration required the skilled intervention of several artists, in addition to going through a process of editorial selection and, often, composition. The artists' eyes and hands ensured that the illustration would have clarity and would convey a meaning of some sort, but this was applied art. Its production was mechanized to an extent that permitted predictable manufacturing schedules and allowed the (believable) claim to authentic representation. A reader of Leslie's or Harper's could expect in each issue to see illustrations on about half the pages, and those illustrations presenting themselves as news would have their origin in “Nature,” that is, they would have been drawn or photographed at some point from life.


The illustrations, then, were quite a bit like the text that accompanied them. They almost never stood without comment (the exceptions being cartoons and editorial icons, themselves forms of commentary). Usually the text amplified and explained the illustration. A typical example is “The Port of Genesee, Lake Ontario,” (Leslie's, July 5, 1856, illustration on p. 53, text on p. 54.). The picture by itself remains fairly mute: “Look at the pretty boats!” The text tells you more: “Our beautiful picture of the Port of Genesee is from an ambrotype by Whitney of Rochester,” meaning it is reproduced from a photograph. Here, and throughout Leslie's history, a photographer typically is named, whereas a sketch artist rarely was. The photographer has an identity as a technician, we surmise, whereas the sketch artist, as a journalist, was meant to be anonymous. The text goes on to recount how recent engineering projects, especially the construction of one-half mile of piers, have made Genesee a key port for Lake Ontario traffic:


"There is here a pleasant and thriving village, called 'Charlotte,' which is yearly increasing in importance, owing to its lake position and connection with Rochester by means of a Railroad, eight miles in length, and also to the fact that, from this point the steamers, forming an international line, arrive and depart daily during navigation, for Toronto and other Canadian ports."


That's what all those pretty boats are up to! This text tells the reader what one would see if the illustration could be in color and in motion - that is, it amplifies the visual experience - but it also tells the reader what the picture means. It presents elements that could not be depicted no matter what tools were available.


Often the relationship between text and picture was reversed. In these cases, the picture amplifies aspects of the text, adding emphasis or emotion to what is already a full textual account. This is the rare case for the illustrated newspapers. Usually the paper was composed on the basis of what pictures became available; rarely, though notably in cases of monumental news such as an assassination, were illustrations found for a specific story. In the above example, the availability of an ambrotype of Genesee "suitable for engraving" drove the content, not any breaking news about Genesee.

No matter what the specific relationship of picture to text, the two elements were understood in the same way. Both were representations of real persons, places, and events, but neither was unmediated - both were authored, whether the author had a persona or not. The attraction of news depended on telling a good story, anchored in real events to be sure, but not merely reflecting them. Text and picture both were held to standards based on the facility with which they advanced a narrative.

The regime of illustrated news did not point to photographic realism or to any other notion of unmediated realism. Instead, it insisted on clarity and lucidity. The images were expected to be articulate, not independently, of course, because the typographic text was usually indispensable, but certainly when amplified or contextualized by accompanying verbal reportage. Photographic realism was irrelevant to this kind of storytelling, a conclusion supported by the fact that neither Leslie's nor Harper's highlighted the photographic aspect of visual reportage nearly as often as we expected. Engravings that are obviously done from photographs were usually not distinguished from others done from sketches. This blurring of lines occurred not because the technological limits of early photography stymied journalists. When the aim is to present a grand landscape upon which Human Ingenuity takes on Nature (the setting in imagery for many stories in text, to be discussed later), the long exposure times required for photography hardly represented a limitation. The artist's eye and hand was needed to help the text tell stories and make arguments and limn characters, and not just to transfer photographic images into newsprint.

Comments (2)

Anonymous said

at 11:22 am on Apr 29, 2006

I have uploaded a file (see ''files') about Domenica del corriere

Anonymous said

at 4:11 pm on May 1, 2006

I have uploaded a file (see "files") about the first photographs taken during the Crimean war.

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