Newspapers the rise and decline of modern journalism
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Newspapers the rise and decline of modern journalism

Newspapers: The Rise and Decline of Modern Journalism

Chapter 3

Newspapers the rise and decline of modern journalism

“U.S. newspapers have lost readers as well as their near monopoly on classified advertising, much of which has shifted to popular Web sites like By early 2010, newspapers’ advertising revenues seemed to be in freefall, along with their stock price. Industry observers began asking, ‘Can this mass medium survive much longer?’ ”

Newspapers today

Newspapers Today

  • Newspapers have historically acted as chroniclers of daily life.

    • Inform and entertain

  • In the digital age, the industry is losing papers and readers.

  • Losses raise big concerns for future of newspapers.

The early history of american newspapers

The Early History of American Newspapers

  • Colonial papers

    • Benjamin Harris: Publick Occurrences (1690)

    • Benjamin Franklin: Pennsylvania Gazette (1729)

    • John Peter Zenger and the Popular Party: the New-York Weekly Journal (1733)

Partisan press

Partisan Press

  • Critiqued government

  • Disseminated views of different political parties that sponsored newspapers

  • Offered updates on markets

  • Reported ship cargoes from Europe

  • Directed at wealthy, educated readers

  • Evolved into modern:

    • Editorial pages

    • Business sections

Penny press

Penny Press

  • 1833—Benjamin Day’s New York Sun

    • Local events, scandals, police reports, serialized stories

    • Blazed the trail for celebrity news

    • Fabricated stories

  • Human-interest stories

    • Ordinary individuals facing extraordinary challenges

  • Success spawned wave of penny papers.

Changing business models

Changing Business Models

  • 1835—James Gordon Bennett’s New York Morning Herald

    • Bennett first U.S. press baron, completely controlled paper’s content

    • World’s largest daily paper at the time

    • Targeted middle- and working-class readers

  • Penny papers increased reliance on ad revenue.

News wire services

News Wire Services

  • Commercial and cooperative organizations

    • Relayed news stories around world by telegraph

    • Began with Associated Press (AP) in 1848

    • Later used radio waves, digital transmissions

  • Increased speed of news distribution

    • Set the stage for modern U.S. journalism

  • Provided more people greater access to information

Yellow journalism


  • Pulitzer and Hearst

  • Overly dramatic

    • Crimes, Celebrities, Scandals, Disaster, Intrigue

  • Exposed Corruption

    • In business and government

  • Developed elements of modern journalism

    • Investigative reporting

    • Advice columns

    • Feature stories

    • Journalism awards

Competing models of print journalism in 1800s

Competing Models of Print Journalism in 1800s

  • Story-driven model

    • Dramatized important events

    • Characterized penny papers, yellow press

  • “The facts” model

    • Favored impartial approach

    • Characterized six-cent papers

Objectivity in modern journalism

Objectivity in Modern Journalism

  • Ochs and TheNew York Times, 1896

    • Distanced itself from yellow journalism

    • Focused on documentation of major events

    • Attracted more affluent readership through marketing

    • Lowered price to a penny, attracting middle-class readers

Objectivity in modern journalism cont

Objectivity in Modern Journalism (cont.)

  • Inverted-pyramid style

    • Developed by Civil War correspondents

    • Answered who, what, where, when, why, how first (top)

    • Placed less significant details later (bottom)

  • Limits of objectivity

    • Prevents readers from obtaining a fuller picture of events

Interpretive journalism

Interpretive Journalism

  • Explains key issues or events

    • Places news in broader historical or social context

    • Developed partly in response to poor reporting of causes of World War I

  • Provides more analysis than objective model

Lippmann and interpretive journalism

Lippmann and interpretive journalism

  • Press should remain objective but also

    • 1) Supply facts for the current record

    • 2) Give analysis

    • 3) Suggest plans on the basis of both

  • Timeline

    • Began in 1920s

    • Debate over role of newspapers and radio,1930s

    • Op-ed pages become popular in 1950s

Literary new journalism

Literary (New) Journalism

  • Fictional storytelling techniques applied to nonfictional material

  • Timeline

    • Originated in 1930s–40s

    • Gained popularity in 1960s (Rolling Stone)

  • Journalists working in this tradition include:

    • Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Hunter Thompson, Jon Krakauer, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Technology age changes

Technology Age Changes

  • USA Today (1982)

    • First newspaper to use color

    • Mimics broadcast by using brief news items

    • Writers use present tense for immediacy

Online technology changes

Online Technology Changes

  • Online journalism reshapes news process

    • Readers find news through sites like Google

    • Real time updates

    • Stories stay in public eye longer

    • Trivial stories get more emphasis

Categorizing news and u s newspapers

Categorizing News And U.S. Newspapers

  • Smaller local papers

    • Focus on consensus

    • Promote social, economic harmony in community

    • Publish weekly

    • Use consensus-oriented journalism

  • Regional and national papers

    • Use conflict-oriented journalism

    • Front-page news defined as events, issues, or experiences deviating from social norms

Ethnic and minority newspapers

Ethnic and Minority Newspapers

  • African American

    • Freedom’s Journal (1827–1829), Amsterdam News, ChicagoDefender

  • Spanish language

    • New York’s El Diario–La Prensa merged with Los Angeles’ La Opinión to createImpreMedia.

  • Asian American

    • Sing Tao Daily serves Chinese immigrants nationwide.

Ethnic and minority newspapers cont

Ethnic and Minority Newspapers (cont.)

  • Native American

    • Cherokee Phoenix (1828), Native American Times

  • Arab American

    • Arab American News, Aramica

The underground press

The Underground Press

  • Inspired by

    • socialists, intellectuals from 1930s, 1940s

    • New wave of critics and artists in the 1960s

  • Mid to late 1960s saw explosion in alternative newspapers

    • Critiqued government and social institutions

    • Challenged mainstream depictions of news

    • Village Voice: most enduring alternative paper

Economics money in

Economics: Money In

  • Majority of revenues derived from advertising

    • Large dailies devote one-half to two-thirds of pages to ads.

    • Ads range from expensive full-page spreads to classifieds.

    • Newshole refers to space left for front-page news, regional stories, features.

Economics money out

Economics: Money Out

  • Salaries and wages for staff

    • Economic downturn and industry consolidation have caused layoffs

    • Staff expected to do more jobs

    • Independent bureaus are closing

  • Wire services

  • Feature syndicates

Challenges facing newspapers

Challenges Facing Newspapers

  • Declining readership

  • Decreasing number of cities with competing daily newspapers

    • Joint operating agreements (JOA)

  • Newspaper chains

    • Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. multinational

    • Congress exploring nonprofit models to keep papers alive

Challenges facing newspapers cont

Challenges Facing Newspapers (cont.)

  • Going digital

    • By 2010, more newspapers moving bulk of operation online, while dramatically decreasing news staff

    • Some print papers folding

  • Rising blogs

    • Now considered major source of news that rivals print papers

  • Competing citizen journalists

Newspapers in a democratic society

Newspapers in a Democratic Society

  • The survival of a free press is not certain

    • As more newspapers fold or consolidate, what will fill this void?

    • Where will citizens outside of the mainstream obtain information vital to them?

    • How will diverse opinions and ideas be heard?

Newspapers the rise and decline of modern journalism

“…Reporting is absolutely an essential thing for democratic self-government. Who’s going to do it? Who’s going to pay for the news? If newspapers fall by the wayside, what will we know?”*

*John Carroll, “News War, Part 3,” Frontline, PBS, February 27, 2007, newswar/etc/script3.html.

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