Jean Baudrillard: Printing Press vs Internet

“New media, as a category, began with the invention of the printing press- not the internet” Jean Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard believes that new media started with the invention of the printing press. He thinks that Gutenberg’s invention helped spread the ideals of new media. Baudrillard also believes that the printing press created a whole new format of media that differed from old media. However I feel that Baudrillard ‘s argument is weak and lacking substance as it is not possible that Gutenberg’s printing press created a new media format. Old media mainly consists of literature, poetry, art and other manmade or written expression. The printing press was only a faster delivery system of old media. New media appears to be very different to old media. New media is merely a consumer product designed to attract new users and customers. New media uses colourful and exciting packaging, just like advertising agencies, in order to attract consumers.

When we compare old and new media we can obtain o clear overview and contrast of the two. Both concepts centre on the theory of social agency. With old media the social agency is strongly based on the media corporations who exert pivotal control over old media industries, such as print media. However in new media it is much harder to point out the figures of control. Interactivity is a large part of new media. Consumers of new media can interact and leave feedback, even voice their personal opinions through online blogs. Because of this it is much harder to determine the focal points of the social agency. Also new media is far more efficient as an entire online library is available at the user’s finger tips. This in my opinion makes new media a far better package and format than old media.

The printing press is focused at artists and open minded people in the quest for knowledge. This separates it from new media, especially as new media centres on the ideas of entertainment. It is clear that there is a huge difference between old and new media. The printing press only reproduced items in analogue form and thus cemented its possession strongly in old media. I don’t agree with Jean Baudrillard statement mentioned at the start of this piece because I found it quiet difficult to uncover logical meaning in it. Therefore I believe that new media began with the advent of the internet.

9 thoughts on “Jean Baudrillard: Printing Press vs Internet

  1. When I finish my journalism program, I’ll be taking a third year post-grad diploma in new media. I’ll be learning about storytelling for multiple platforms, marketing, and how to manipulate text, graphics, and videos digitally. My theory is that within 20 years time, you won’t be seeing printing presses anymore. The future of print journalism lies digitally, through computers and iPads.


      1. Definitely. The only thing I’m concerned about, is that people who were so used to newspapers in their lifetime, and aren’t really keen on technology will have problems trying to keep up with the news. There needs to be something that can appeal to everybody.


      2. Am personally I can’t see an immediate end to the use of newspapers. Sure they may be outdated and far less efficient at delivering news. However I am only 19 and still prefer to read a newspaper then find my news online. when the last newspaper finally does go out of print I think it will be many years down the line when there will only be a handful of technology illiterate people left.


  2. Hi everyone, I am newbee in here. But I am a graduate of Journalism, and we always discussed the advent of the internet over print media. In my country, Philippines, people (ages 30 and above) still reads newspaper. while teenagers and new adults (including myself) prefer to read and watch news in the internet. To bridge this gap, the newspaper industry has established there on websites to connect with the new generation.


  3. Well, it is! Journalists today write news by citing sources from the internet. Sources from the internet are classified as second-hand sources. No one bothers to get information first-hand, considering the effort and the funds needed. Sources from the internet is just a click away. There are only few countries and news agencies value journalistic integrity. What they are after is just the profit. That is why I didn’t work as a journalist.

    About the premise of Jean Baudrillard, I beg to disagree. Newspapers, including TV and AM Radio, started to introduce the term ‘tri-media’. But it’s the internet that defines the term ‘new media’ with its function as ‘information super highway’.

    God! I missed argument and discussion! Thanks for the privilege.


    1. I have never heard the phrase ‘tri-media’ before, you learn something new everyday. Its great to hear a new perspective on the topic new media, especially in regard to the advent. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on the topic.


  4. When Gutenberg invented the printing press, one century had to pass by before the nobles (i.e. the elite of the time) started to seriously consider the printed book in place of the old, dear manuscript. Every step in innovation brings with it a drag, an initial refusal of the new. To accept the new implies a cognitive cost. Many people kept their horse, expecting the motor car to be a transitory hype, a fashionable but short-lived phenomenon. Guteneberg, for what I can say, has been an innovator and his invention is still the most crucial in history for what concerns the wide release of knowledge to the masses.



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