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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
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
    • 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
    • started in response to yellow journalism
    • “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 and editor Bill Bradlee
    • reputation tarnished by Janet Cooke
        • published fictitious news story about eight-year-old heroin addict, Jimmy
        • scandal still hangs over the paper
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 standard 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
    • The Denver Rocky Mountain News:
        • covered Columbine school shooting extensively
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)
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
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