When did the first Icelandic mass medium come into existence, and when was it launched?
AnswerIn order to answer the question, we must consider what we mean by mass media. We might say, for instance, that the vagabond women we meet in Njáls saga, who carried news from farm to farm, were the mass media of their time, or that the golden plover is the mass medium which tells the Icelanders that spring is on its way. But then we would be speaking metaphorically; in fact we use the term "mass media" only of those means invented by man to disseminate information to large numbers of people, which employ a certain degree of technology to do so (not older or more primitive than the printing press), and do so regularly. Thus we do not call an individual book a mass medium; but when a printed publication appears repeatedly under the same title and in numbered issues, this would normally be termed a mass medium. But perhaps a certain minimum standard of variety is required for the publication to be recognised as a mass medium. We would not term the telephone directory a mass medium, except perhaps in jest. The first Icelandic publication which broadly meets this definition is Alþingisbókin (the Book of Parliament), which was first published in Skálholt in 1696-97. After a gap of some years the Book was published again in 1704 and in 1713-16; after that it appeared annually, with very few exceptions, until the old Alþingi at Þingvellir was abolished at the end of the 18th century. The Book of Parliament was similar to the modern Lögbirtingarblaðið or Law Gazette: it published new legislation and directives, along with verdicts in cases tried at the Alþingi. If the content of the Book of Parliament seems too narrow to qualify it as a mass medium, our next candidate is the periodical Islandske Maaneds-Tidender (Icelandic Monthly News), launched on the island of Hrappsey in Breiðafjörður, western Iceland, in 1773. The first issue was for October, sixteen pages in small book-format, and written in Danish, as the title implies. It was a news magazine. Page 1 carries, after the title, simply the headline Nyheder (News) and beneath it Fra Sönderlandet (From the South). This is followed on page 6 by news from the North, and then from other regions of Iceland. The Icelandic Monthly News was published monthly for three years; for over two years it was printed on Hrappsey, and after that in Copenhagen. The final issue was for September 1776.
Um þessa spurningu
Gunnar Karlsson. „When did the first Icelandic mass medium come into existence, and when was it launched?“. The Icelandic Web of Science 20.1.2006. http://why.is/svar.php?id=5581. (Skoðað 23.3.2017).
Gunnar Karlssonprófessor emeritus í sagnfræði við HÍ