The following is an overview of the arrival of various communications technologies in Puerto Rico, as well as the development of the mass media, its organizations, and its textual and discursive production. The history of Puerto Rican media culture is structured in the following sub-topics: the printing press and journalism and the civilizing impulse in the 19th century; the communications industries of the 20th century; El Mundo and El Imparcial; the emergence of the media and communications industries; radio and advertising, 1920-1940; narratives and the media industry between 1930 and 1940; television and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico government developmentalism, 1950-1960; televisions narratives, 1950-1960; mass mediation, 1970-1990; and multimedia convergence, 1990s into the 21st century.
Printing Presses: 19th century
In 2000, in a meticulous study published in Ambitos, a Spanish International Communications Journal, Miguel B. Márquez, professor at the University of Seville, used existing historical documents to propose that the first Puerto Rican newspaper, La Gaceta, began to be published on May 3, 1806, at the Captaincy General of the island. As an official informative organ of the government, it continued to be published after the United States invasion under the name of La Gaceta de Puerto Rico until September 1902, the United States eagle having substituted the Spanish coat of arms. Yet, it is somewhat more difficult to establish the date of the arrival of printing presses on the island. The literature of the 19th century (Alejandro Tapia y Rivera and Cayetano Coll y Toste) and the researcher Miguel B. Márquez are in agreement that presses arrived during the governorship of Toribio Montes, 1805 to 1806, and that the first printer was Juan Jacinto Rodríguez Calderón, and not a Frenchman by the name of Delarue, as affirmed by Eduardo Neumann (Benefactores y Hombres Notables de Puerto Rico, 1896), Salvador Brau (Historia de Puerto Rico, 1904), and Paul G. Miller (Historia de Puerto Rico, 1922).
To a large measure, the publication of La Gaceta provided the government with the means to centralize official information:
"The Gaceta of this City is a public sheet that this central government can use to communicate and announce matters of interest to the entire Island, as well as to foster vaccination activities with the cooperation of the Districts where there is precious water and crops, vessels calling at the port that may be interested in exporting the crops and all merchandise that may be traded and exchanged, and what is no less important, to publish news on public and military matters... as was said in Bulletin No. 50 dated March 26 of the past year..." (Bulletin Number 85, Governor Toribio Montes, March 13,1807).
This concerted effort by the colonial authorities to centralize information, coupled with the twists and turns of Spanish politics, meant that publishing was to have a slow start on the island. It was not until 1814 that another two newspapers were published: Diario Económico de Puerto Rico, on February 28, and El Cigarrón, on May 1. Publications during the first half of the 19th century included El Investigador, 1820; the Diario Liberal y de Variedades de Puerto Rico, 1821; El Eco, Diario Noticioso de Puerto Rico, 1822; the Boletín Instructivo y Mercantil de Puerto Rico, 1839; and El Ramillete, a short-lived literary weekly in 1845.
Journalism and the Civilizing Impulse During the 19th century
The features of journalism in the second half of the 19th century in Puerto Rico were shaped in the first half of the century, and to a large degree, these features persisted in the Puerto Rican journalistic discourse of the 20th century. In the absence of major means of communication, journalism gradually developed narratives which, in the interest of a civilizing fervor proposed models of social welfare, prosperity, and civilization, as well as models of civil and political liberties. An official and conservative journalism developed, such as La Gaceta, and liberal journalism was able to persist in spite of the interrupted liberal project in Spain and the changing fortunes of the constitutionalists, as with El Investigador, the Diario Liberal y de Variedades and the Boletín Instructivo Mercantil, among others. Throughout the nineteenth century, these two kinds of journalism found expression in the five kinds of publications that existed on the island: official publications (La Gaceta, La Integridad Nacional, El Pabellón Español), political news (El Agente, La Revista de Puerto Rico, La Democracia, La Correspondencia), business news (LaBoletín Instructivo y Mercantil, Revista de Agricultura, Industria y Comercio), liberal satire (Don Severo Cantaclaro, La Abeja, El Buscapié), Masonic publications (El Delta, La Logia, El Mallete), literary publications (El Ramillete, El Palenque de la Juventud, El Amigo del Pueblo, El Campo), and religious publications (El Semanario Católico, El Peregrino, El Universo, El Boletín Eclesiástico), among many others.
With the exception of La Gaceta, as happened in other parts of Latin America during the 19th century, newspapers in Puerto Rico were founded under liberal patronage, when a person or family of the landowner, merchant or professional class used their financial resources to make editorial decisions in accordance with their economic and political ideas, and their way of voicing social concerns within the civilizing clamor of the time. In narrative terms, these newspapers reflect a kind of hybrid style of writing, a mixture of story-telling, articles, eye-witness reports, and journalism, whose purpose, in most cases, was to create exposés of political and social conditions.
While in the 19th century the printing press was the most important technology for the development of the first mass media on the island, at the close of the century other technologies that were to have a significant role in the development of mass culture had come to the fore. On August 29, 1846, the Boletín Instructivo y Mercantil published a note announcing the arrival of photography on the island. The first lithography shop, which had been started in October 1875 by Francisco Larroca and headed by a Catalan immigrant, Ricart, gained prominence
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