Stanley J. Baran, Ph.D. Bryant University
Dennis K. Davis, Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University
We wrote the first and second editions of this textbook at a prosperous time in the life of our nation, when U.S. media industries were undergoing rapid change. American corporations were spreading around the world. Dot-com companies were thriving in a “New Economy” many thought likely to expand for decades. New media technology was evolving so rapidly and new media applications were proliferating so fast that a new scale of “Internet time” was created to measure change. “Brick and mortar” companies were disdained in favor of virtual enterprises. Change was also going on in media theory and research. Theory was in ferment as new perspectives challenged long-standing assumptions. Researchers struggled with questions flowing from the changes in media. They debated how best to understand the role of new media and chart their place among the well-established mass media. Considerable research focused on mass media entertainment and its effects. Researchers asked whether new media-based entertainment would displace established mass media. Would the Internet replace television or would the tube absorb the Internet? Would people pay the extra price to get HDTV? Did the protection of children from online smut require new laws? What would happen to face-to-face communication in the wake of the e-mail onslaught? Virtual democracy? ? Smartphones and augmented reality?
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