History of American Journalism

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News reporting goes back thousands of years perhaps to the first humans or even the firstanimals that could communicate to one anotherabout such things as approaching predators The potential for mass.
media however was notrealized until the middle ofthe 15 century whenGerman inventor JohannesGutenberg s development.
of movable type gavepeople a relatively fast inexpensive means ofproducing hundreds orthousands of fliers books .
and eventuallynewspapers Gutenberg William Caxton and the Americanprinters who followed them made or purchased smallmetal blocks each with an individual letter .
punctuation mark or other symbol on it They thenarranged these blocks in trays to spell words Byapplying ink to the lettersand then pressing largesheets of paper down on.
them they could printpages which they then cutto create fliers orassembled into books orother publications .
Even then it appears that newspapers if defined as regular publicationsdevoted to current events and madeavailable to the general public did notbegin to appear in earnest in Europe.
until the early 17th century Although newspapers had beenpublished in Germany England Spain and other Europeancountries in the early 17th century .
at roughly the same time thatEnglish immigrants were settlingVirginia and Massachusetts theAmerican colonists did notestablish a real newspaper of their.
own for another century Shortly after English settlers set up colonies inVirginia and Massachusetts America got its firstpress which was set up in Cambridge Massachusetts in the late 1630s Although a.
number of books issued from this press over thenext half century the American colonies did notproduce their own real newspaper until the 18thcentury Colonists in Massachusetts werepreoccupied with survival could read news coming.
from the Mother Country England and lacked thetype of industry and commerce that would havecreated a demand for advertising funding The establishment of postmastersand post offices supplied a further.
impetus for newspapers becausepostmasters had access toinformation and took interest inspreading it Who would have History of American Journalism.
Newspapers have not alwaysbeen the sophisticated full color extravaganzas we knowtoday American journalismhad its humble beginnings in.
the Colonial period with thepublication of BenjaminHarris Publick OccurrencesBoth Forreign and Domestick which was shut down after its.
one and only issue on Sept 26 This newspaper wasprinted on threesheets of stationery size paper and the.
fourth page was leftblank so that readerscould add their ownnews before passingit on to someone else .
Unfortunately theessays which thispaper contained didnot please theauthorities and.
Harris had notbought the requiredlicense so the paperwas shut down afterjust one issue .
The first continuouslypublished Americannewspaper did not comealong for 14 more years The Boston News Letter.
premiered on April 24 1704 The publisher of thefirst colonial newspaperwas postmaster JohnCampbell whose Boston.
News Letter debuted onApril 24 1704 The paperoriginally appeared on asingle page printed on bothsides and issued weekly .
In the early years of itspublication the News Letter was filled mostlywith news from Londonjournals detailing the.
intrigues of Englishpolitics and a variety ofevents concerning theEuropean wars The restof the newspaper was.
filled with items listingship arrivals deaths sermons politicalappointments fires accidents and the like .
One of the mostsensational storiespublished when the News Letter was the onlynewspaper in the colonies.
was the the account ofhow Blackbeard thepirate was killed in hand to hand combat on thedeck of a sloop that had.
engaged his ship in battle On view here is the May 14 1761 issue of the News Letter The front page isdisplayed in its entirety As.
was the custom then thefront page was devoted toevents overseas This issuecontains news from London a speech by the King to the.
House of Commons andvarious accounts fromWestminster and Whitehall Also displayed from this issue isan ad from the back page for a.
Scheme of a Lottery The lotterywas created to sell 6000 tickets at 2 each to raise funds to pave thehighway in Charlestown from theFerry to the Neck Of the 12 000.
to be raised according to the ad 10 800 is earmarked for prizesand 1200 for paving the The circulation of the Boston NewsLetter was rarely more than 300 and.
Campbell could not make a significantprofit from publishing it Otherpublishers struggled as well Some2 000 newspapers that appearedbetween 1690 and 1820 fewer than half.
lasted two years or longer Perhaps the most noteworthy weakness in these earlynewspapers especially those printed in the firstdecade or two of the century was a lack ofcontroversial coverage If as has been famously.
declared a newspaper s job is to raise hell thenearly publications such as Campell s Boston News Letter barely raised an eyebrow The main reasonwas control by government authorities who fearedthe power of even a fledgling press The First.
Amendment which promised freedom of the press was not to come until 1791 In the meantime journalists had to cope with a tradition of Britishcensorship There were success.
stories and no greaterone than that ofBenjamin Franklin whose PennsylvaniaGazette was considered.
to be the bestnewspaper in theAmerican colonies After contributing material to his brother James s New EnglandCourant and The American Weekly Mercury Franklin bought.
The Pennsylvania Gazette and turned it into an enormoussuccess After its debut in 1728 it is reported that the Gazettesoon had the largest circulation mostpages highest advertising revenue most literate columns and liveliest.
comment of any paper in the area From 1729 until 1766 Franklin notonly ran the newspaper but alsoproduced much of its material including straight news stories .
essays even a political cartoon By modern standards colonial newspapers were smallpublications featuring out of date often toothlesscoverage of a small range of subjects A typicalpublication might consist of four pages of stories about.
government and foreign affairs the weather anddisasters such as fires or diseases Illustrations wererare and headlines generally were nonexistent Itcould take weeks for the news of an event to appear inone of these papers particularly if it took place abroad .
and inaccuracies were common Journalists for the most part simply stayed out oftrouble by printing innocuous coverage or evengiving government officials the chance to approvematerial before publication Things changed.
somewhat when James Franklin brother ofBenjamin established the New England Courant The Courant was the first Americannewspaper to supply readers with what theyliked and needed rather than with.
information controlled by self interestedofficials Its style was bold and its literaryquality high Franklin even challengedreligious and political authorities setting aprecedent for journalists to come The press.
was still far from free however as Franklin sown case illustrates some two years after hebegan his fiesty newspaper authoritiesbanned him from publishing it Perhaps the most famous.
name in early Americanjournalism is that of PeterZenger Publisher of the NewYork Weekly Journal Zengerwas charged with sedition.
after his paper had criticizedcolonial authorities and hewas tried for libel against thecolonial British governmentin 1735 In this picture .
Zenger is arrested and hisprinting press is burned byColonial authorities Zenger was found innocent with the help of noted attorney AndrewHamilton and this verdict was that one verdict that paved the way.
for a free and independent press in America For the first time itwas considered proper for the press to question and criticize thegovernment This is a pillar of a free press in the United States andany country that is free Journalists have to be able to question theactions of the government in order to make them accountable .
All that is needed for newspapers to becomea mass medium is a good idea Along comesBenjamin Day in 1833 Day opened the NewYork Sun and created the Penny Press Newspapers of the day cost about 10 cents each .
too expensive for the masses But there was a largeliterate audience out there Day took advantage ofthe fact that he could print thousands of papersinexpensively and sold the papers for a penny He also changed the content of newspapers to make it.
more sensational and more popular to the lower class Hehired boys to hawk the newspapers on street corners Itwas the Penny Press that also began using advertising as away to bring readers information but advertising alsohelped by paying for the printing and distribution of.
newspapers Cheap newspapers sold to the workers were a hit Hisidea was huge success and newspapers crossed that linethat made them truly mass media Others were quick tofollow his lead They became so powerful that they were.
called Lords of the Press The Civil War era brought some new technologyto the publishing industry Photography became apopular addition to newspapers Matthew Bradyset up a camera on the battlefields and.
photographed the soldiers at war One of hisphotographs appears above An invention thathelped speednews along was.
the telegraph Reporters wereable to sendencoded newsback to their.
papers as it washappening Lincoln becamepresident todirect armies in.
the field directlyfrom the White During thedarkest days ofthe terrible war.
Lincoln wouldpace back andforth in thetelegraph officeawaiting news of.
the fate of thenation thatwould emergefrom the newinvention .
Because thetelegraph wireskept going downon a regularbasis sometimes.
the story that areporter wastrying to send gotcut off before itwas finished .
To alleviate thissituation developed the invertedpyramid form.
of writing putting the mostimportant factsat the beginningof the story .
This way themost importantpart of the storywould most likelynewspaper and if.
anything got cutoff it would bethe lesserimportant details Newspapers began to evolve and grow into a major.
industry Men mostly dominated the field but in 1868 theNew York Sun hired their first female reporter EmilyVerdery Bettey The Sun hired Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd asa reporter and fashion editor in the 1880s she was one ofthe first professional female editors and perhaps the first.
full time fashion editor of any American newspaper As newspapers began to compete more and morewith one another to increase circulation andobtain more advertising revenue a different typeof journalism was developed by publishers.
Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst In the mid 1890s Pulitzer in the New YorkWorld and Hearst in the San FranciscoExaminer and later the New York MorningJournal transformed newspapers with.
sensational and scandalous news coverage theuse of drawings and the inclusion of morefeatures such as comic strips After William Randolph Hearst moved toNew York he and Joseph Pulitzer competed.
for readers by making their papers moreand more sensational In 1895 Hearst purchased the New YorkMorning Journal and entered into a head to head circulation war with his former mentor .
Joseph Pulitzer owner of the New York World To increase circulation both started to includearticles about the Cuban Insurrection Manystories in both newspaper greatly exaggeratedtheir claims to make the stories more.
sensational The American public purchased morenewspapers because of the sensational writing and this strongly encouraged Hearst andPulitzer s newspapers to write more.
sensationalized stories This form of journalism in short is biasedopinion masquerading as objective fact Moreover the practice of yellow journalisminvolved sensationalism distorted stories and.
misleading images for the sole purpose ofboosting newspaper sales and exciting publicopinion The endless drive for circulation unfortunately often put publisher s greedbefore ethics It became known as Yellow.
Journalism named after The Yellow Kid Drawn by R F Outcault thepopular if now unfunny strip.
During the darkest days of the terrible war Lincoln would pace back and forth in the telegraph office awaiting news of the fate of the nation that would emerge from the new telegraph invention. Because the telegraph wires kept going down on a regular basis, sometimes the story that a reporter was trying to send got cut off before it was finished.

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