"The mass media are here, the mass media
are there, the mass media are all around..."
We are surrounded and deeply plunged in the media world:
we get all the information about
what is happening everywhere on earth from TV, radio and
newspapers. But do you really know everything about them?
website is the result of a collaborative on-line project
among some Italian schools and supported by Webscuola,
the virtual community of the Italian schools.
Our purpose was educational.
workshop, based on a crosscurricular module,
is certainly an excellent example of
that is "education and entertainment"!
worked all together on our project that aimed at creating
a Web site about the rise and development of the English
press. So, each class had to surf the Net to find
information about the topic they have chosen, such as
journalism in the past or now. They started visiting the
sites suggested by the tutor on each subject ( you can
see the list of the selected sites in the "resources
and links " page). Then they wrote down their own
texts about the chosen topic and sent it to the tutor,
who eventually put all the material together.
stimulating part of our project was also the chance to
talk together, that is, we had two chats (in English, of
course) so useful in order to practice the language.
Moreover, we were always in touch by email or through the
forum message board.
- to practice the
English language ( in particular, language skills
like reading and writing, spoken interaction)
- to do
researches for information and select the most
relevant one, to explore the web
- to create our own
hypermedia, with original texts, photos, charts,
- to improve some
important competences, such as to contextualize
the birth of a genre and to trace the
chronological development of it, to compare texts
by different writers, to gain knowledge and
critical awareness, to plan and build mind maps,
to collect and select data, to analyse and write
synthesis (all these competences are also
essential in order to prepare any research
project, for example for the final exam)
was based mainly on:
- a collaborative
learning, working together as a team and getting
into contact with students and teachers all over
- the learning
potentialities of Internet ( find information,
join chats, read/write email and forum messages)
- an in-depth
analysis of texts, historical periods and so on
- the production of
written texts, the creation of a hypertext
- The XVIIIth century witnessed the
origin of modern-day journalism. The Tatler and
The Spectator are the forerunners of modern
newspapers and magazines: greatly admired in
Britain, they became popular in the rest of
Europe and in Italy, too. You could read them in
coffee houses, as now. Which factors favoured the
boom of journalism? Which were the main aims of
Steele and Addison as journalists? What kind of
articles did they publish?
The rise of the novel is also strictly linked to
the proliferation of journalism: almost all the
novelists of the period started their careers as
journalists. D. Defoe published The Review, as
well as J. Swift wrote for The Examiner and H.
Fielding edited some periodicals. As a
consequence, the genre of periodical essay was
created and anticipated the editorials of our
modern-day newspapers; advertising became a means
of survival for dailies and in 1785 The Daily
Universal Register, which became The Times in
1788, was founded.
- In the Victorian age this strong
relationship between journalism and fiction went
on. In particular, novels, for example, those by
C. Dickens, were serialized by instalments in
newspapers and magazines, even if the immense
popularity and demand of fiction increased the
gap between "good" and "bad"
literature. Moreover, W.M.Thackeray contributed
to various newspapers, such as Punch, and became
editor of the Cornhill Magazine, while G. Eliot (
a woman writer) was assistant editor of the
Westminster Review. Forster's Education Act of
1870 created a new reading public whose taste
appreciated the popular press. While the XIXth
century periodicals discussed literature
alongside politics, economics and social comment,
the XXth century ones became more specifically
literary ( the "little magazines") and
addressed to an Úlite, so that, among
intellectuals, hostility to popular newspapers
and mass culture was widespread.
- Between 1937 and 1947 the
circulation of newspapers and Sunday newspapers
increased by about 50 per cent. But, at the same
time... be careful! BIG BROTHER is watching YOU!
G. Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1948) presents
a nightmarish futuristic London, ruled by
"the Party" whose slogans are :"
War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is
strength". Winston Smith, the protagonist,
has to re-write past issues of the Times in order
to make them conform to later developments.
"This applied not only to newspapers, but to
books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets,
films, sound-tracks, cartoons,
photographs...". Disinformation and the
distortion of news for propaganda were frequent
in wartime Britain. Do newspapers and TV always
provide accurate and politically neutral
- What about nowadays? What's
happening in the information age? In Britain
there are two kinds of newspaper: popular, or
tabloid, and quality, such as The Times. In USA
the only really national newspapers are the
serious The Wall Street Journal and the more
popular USA Today. But how has Internet changed
journalism? Do newspapers have a future or they
are about to disappear? Don't forget that now you
can read thousands of newspapers and magazines
from all over the world... thanks to the Web