In our public education system it is important to remember
that the public character of the classroom or the seminar or the
reading library puts certain demands on education. At times we
forget that the student in our classroom is a member of the public,
present or future. Since that is the ease, our teaching needs to
focus, at times more specifically than we care to have it, on the
public problems outside the classroom walls.
The diagnosis of some of the ills of our system of mass communication
has been well done. Report after report has been published
concerning the press, the film, and broadcasting. We now know
many of the deficiencies of these media. But therapy has been
neglected. Some solutions are suggested in the foregoing chapters.
Thus, we can try to guard against monopoly in news-gathering or
distribution. We can encourage competition among the media. We
can encourage improvement in the quality of the product. We can
work for more social responsibility among owners, publishers, directors,
and stockholders. But we can do more.
This volume is written for citizens who are educators. Its chapters
drive home the points that educators must reckon with and
employ the mass media and that, to do so, they must understand
the mass media. The authors of the preceding chapters give basic
analyses and information to aid understanding. This chapter is
written for educators who are citizens.
It is the purpose of this chapter to study the problem of communication
as a social institution, to describe briefly its historical
background, to trace the development of pictorial forms of communication,
and then to consider the implications for education of some aspects
of the developing crisis in communication.
Printing and publishing include particularly the book and magazine field. Their function in commercial art has been discussed in the previous chapter. The creative, artistic aspects, rather than the material side of publishing, will be presented here.
Before our eyes a new miracle in mass communication is taking shape. Television, long heralded and much publicized, has made its debut in America, thus marking the beginning of the second phase of an invention in which many million of dollars and more than a decade's intense labor by hundreds of scientists and practical engineers have been invested.