For centuries a small number of writers were confronted by many thousands of readers. This changed toward the end of the last century. With the increasing extension of the press, which kept placing new political, religious, scientific, professional, and local organs before the readers, an increasing number of readers became writers  at first, occasional ones. It began with the daily press opening to its readers space for letters to the editor. And today there is hardly a gainfully employed European who could not, in principle, find an opportunity to publish somewhere or other comments on his work, grievances, documentary reports, or that sort of thing.
“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in Benjamin: Illuminations , p. 225