The Active Voice
7. My Medium Is Everywhere: New Media and the New Century 157
7. My Medium Is Everywhere: New Media and the New Century As the nineteenth century ended, new media that differed from the world of print began to capture the attention of people. Motion pictures, recorded music, and radio were in various stages of implementation, but all held the potential for changing the consumption of information as well as the enter- taining of society. In less than thirty years, people would start to talk about another new medium—television. In the 1890s, Nathan Stubblefield began to experiment with a new invention in his hometown of Murray, Kentucky. In 1902, he tested publicly his wireless telephone there, on the Potomac River outside the nation’s capital, and in a number of other locations.1 He boldly proclaimed, “My medium is everywhere,”2 in reference to his assertion that his wireless could travel through air, water, and even earth. But Stubblefield’s pronouncement had much greater implications. He, along with others whose names had already or would soon become known in households throughout the nation, were in a race to develop media that would transform the way society received information. In Stubblefield’s case, the new “wireless” medium was broadcast through the air. Its content could move almost instantaneously between points. All one needed to listen to the transmission was a receiver. As radio waves filled the air, this new, wireless medi- um, indeed, had the potential to be everywhere. It and other new means of sharing with the masses became as much a part of what...
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