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Newspapers. Reflection of a Democratic Society. Inventing the Modern Press. Martin Luther and John Calvin: published newspaper-like broadsheets in the 1500s Newspapers first appeared in England in the 1620s. Publick Occurrence: first newspaper in the American colonies (1690)

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Reflection of a Democratic Society

Inventing the modern press

Inventing the Modern Press

  • Martin Luther and John Calvin:

    • published newspaper-like broadsheets in the 1500s

  • Newspapers first appeared in England in the 1620s.


  • Publick Occurrence:

    • first newspaper in the American colonies (1690)

  • Boston News Letter:

    • first to publish multiple issues (1704)

Benjamin and james franklin

Benjamin and James Franklin

  • James started the New England Courant in 1721:

    • first newspaper published without approval of the British government


  • 16-year-old Benjamin takes over after James is jailed.

  • Benjamin Franklin purchased the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729:

    • featured first political cartoon

    • introduced the weather report as a regular feature

The penny press newspapers for the people

The Penny Press: Newspapers for the People

  • Before 1830s, papers contained shipping news and political essays.

    • designed primarily for the wealthy elite

    • underwritten by political parties

    • expensive, as much as 6 cents a day

      • Average worker might make 85 cents a day

  • available only by annual subscription, paid in advance


Penny Press (cont.)

  • September 3, 1833—Benjamin Day begins publishing the New York Sun:


  • paper’s motto was “It shines for all”

  • inexpensive, sold for a penny or two on the street

    • derived the name penny press

  • profits came primarily from advertising revenue

  • invented the concept of “news”

  • A modern democratic society

    A Modern Democratic Society

    • Increase in number of papers in just a decade:

      • In 1830—650 weeklies and 65 dailies in the United States

      • In 1840—1,241 weeklies and 138 dailies

    • Changes wrought by industrial revolution:

      • Shift from rural to urban, agricultural to industrial society

      • People working for wages, purchasing consumer goods

    • Penny press—provided means for advertising these goods

    Pulitzer hearst and the battle for new york city

    Pulitzer, Hearst, and the Battle for New York City

    • Joseph Pulitzer came to the United States from Austria in 1864 to fight in U.S. Civil War

      • in 1878, bought the St. Louis Post and Dispatch


    • in 1883, bought the failing New York World

      • boosted circulation from 15,000 to more than 250,000 in 3 years

  • credited with shaping the modern front page

    • featured prominent stories “above the fold”

  • reached out to women and immigrant readers

  • established Pulitzer Prize

  • Newspapers

    • William Randolph Hearst

      • began career as editor of the San Francisco Examiner

      • purchased the New York Journal

      • used ideas developed by Pulitzer in his paper

      • fierce battle between Pulitzer and Hearst


    • Yellow journalism—shocking, sensationalistic reporting derived from the Pulitzer-Hearst rivalry

      • name derived from popular “Yellow Kid” comic

      • featured in both Pulitzer’s and Hearst’s papers.

    The newspaper business

    The Newspaper Business

    • Newspaper Conglomerates

      • 1,500 daily newspapers

        • down 25 percent from 100 years ago

    • Chains—corporations that control a significant number of newspapers or other media outlets

    • Before World War II—80 percent of newspapers were owned independently

    • Today—80 percent owned by chains


    • Gannett:

      • chain with the largest circulation (USA Today)

      • owns more than 90 daily newspapers

      • combined circulation of approximately 7.3 million

      • goals as high as 30 to 40 percent profit

    National newspapers

    National Newspapers

    • USA Today (1982):

      • “McPaper” serving up “News McNuggets”

      • lost more than $800 million in first decade

      • is found everywhere

      • changed the look of newspapers industry-wide

      • forced the industry to reconsider news priorities

      • 2.3 million daily circulation


    • The Wall Street Journal:

      • retains old-fashioned look

      • last major paper to start using color

      • uses pen-and-ink drawings over photos

      • the definitive source of financial news

      • heavy national and international news coverage

      • daily circulation of 2 million


    • The Christian Science Monitor (1908):

      • owned by the Christian Science church

      • started by Mary Baker Eddy

      • “appeal to the literate, concerned and moral citizen”

      • cover serious issues, especially international stories

      • downplays news about medicine and health

      • 72,000 daily circulation

    English language international newspapers

    English-Language International Newspapers

    • International Herald Tribune (1887):

      • published in Paris, distributed in 180 countries

    • Financial Times:

      • owned by Pearson companies

      • primarily a business newspaper

    • The Wall Street Journal:

      • publishes European and Asian editions

    The metropolitan press

    The Metropolitan Press

    • The New York Times:

      • most influential newspaper in United States

      • 1.1 million daily subscribers

        • one third of them live outside of New York City

    • bought by Adolf Ochs in 1896

    • nicknamed “Gray Lady”

    • on October 16, 1997, used color photos on front page


    The Metropolitan Paper (cont.)

    • The Washington Post:

      • Watergate created a national reputation

        • reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein / editor Bill Bradlee


    The Metropolitan Paper (cont.)

    • The Los Angeles Times:

      • gaining national reputation as solid paper

      • mainstreaming—quoting nonwhite and nonmale sources in stories that aren’t about minority issues

        • can cause confusion with reporters

        • policy established to reach out to minority readers

    The tabloids

    The Tabloids

    • Tabloid newspapers:

      • feature 11x14 inch format

      • usually have a cover rather than a front page

    • Broadsheet newspapers:

      • feature 17 by 22 format

    • Examples of Tabloids:

      • The New York Daily News:

        • big photos, huge headlines, sensationalistic stories

        • January 13, 1928 cover featuring Ruth Snyder’s execution

    Community and suburban papers

    Community and Suburban Papers

    • Community press—weekly and daily newspapers serving individual communities or suburbs

      • rely on Web presence

      • 1,100 daily, 1,200 nondaily community papers in United States

      • loyal readers

      • stories not being covered nationally

    News and society

    News and Society

    • News characteristics:

      • timeliness

      • proximity

      • prominence

      • consequence

      • rarity

      • human interest


    News and Society (cont.)

    • Sources, advertisers and readers:

      • editors increasingly looking to appeal to advertisers

      • surrounding news stories with similar ads

    • Patriotism and the press

      • 2006—92 journalists have died in Iraq since March 2003

        • 2006 alone—32 killed in Iraq, 23 internationally

    • targets: deliberately murdered (Daniel Pearl)

    Daniel pearl

    Daniel Pearl

    The alternative press

    The Alternative Press

    Alternative papers—serve specialized audiences:

    • Freedom’s Journal (1827):

      • “Black citizens were humans who were being treated unjustly”

    • North Star (1847):

      • Frederick Douglass, editor

      • pushed for end of slavery, black rights

    • Chicago Defender (1905):

      • profit as well as advocacy

      • urged southern blacks to move north

    Rev samuel cornish l john b russwurm

    Rev Samuel Cornish (L)John B. Russwurm


    • The Gay Press:

      • The Washington Blade (1969)

        • promotes gay causes, highlights problems

    • Gay City News (New York City)

      • purchased by a straight-owned company in 2002

      • targeted a gay audience for profit, no longer for only the promotion of gay culture

  • Underground Papers:

    • attract young people

    • being bought up by chains

  • The future of newspapers

    The Future of Newspapers

    • Are newspapers a dying medium?

      • major urban papers: losing circulation, staff cutbacks

      • afternoon papers first casualty historically

      • Falling circulation figures:

        • in 2005, circulation fell 2.6 percent for dailies

        • it fell 3.1 percent for Sunday papers

    • convenience factor still strong


    The future of newspapers (cont.)

    • Newspapers and the Web:

      • breaking news—news story that requires frequent updating

        • Web allows for easy updating

    • Breaking news online

      • role of Dallas Morning News

      • Oklahoma City Bombing, Clinton-Lewinsky stories broke online first

      • advantages/problems of online publishing


    The future of newspapers (cont.)

    • What the Web offers newspapers:

      • good at presenting interactive features on breaking news

      • Pew Research Center for the People and the Press:

        • roughly 30 percent of people use Internet for news on a regular basis

        • more turn to network sites rather than paper sites

    • Importance of new technologies and formats:

      • podcasts

      • PDA-designed versions

      • blogs





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