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Newspapers and the Rise of Modern Journalism


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Title: Newspapers and the Rise of Modern Journalism

Newspapers and the Rise of Modern Journalism
  • Chapter 8

  • Newspapers have a great future as news
    organizations on the Web and perhaps elsewhere.
    Sadly, today in America when a newspaper reader
    dies, he or she is not replaced by a new reader.
  • Jeffrey Cole, director, Center for the Digital
    Future, USC Annenberg School, 2006

The Evolution of American Newspapers
  • Colonial papers
  • Ben Harris Publick Occurrences (1690)
  • Inflammatory by standards of the times
  • Not a newspaper by modern standards
  • Banned by the colony after one issue
  • John Campbell the Boston News-Letter (1704)
  • Reported on mundane events that took place in
    Europe months earlier
  • James Franklin the New England Courant (1721)
  • Stories that interested ordinary readers

Colonial Papers (cont.)
  • Benjamin Franklin the Pennsylvania Gazette
  • Historians rate among the best
  • Run with subsidies from political parties as well
    as advertising
  • John Peter Zenger the New York Weekly Journal
  • Arrested for seditious libel
  • Jury ruled in his favor, as long as stories are
  • Decision provided foundation for First Amendment.
  • By 1765, about thirty newspapers in American

Partisan Press
  • 1784 first daily newspaper
  • Two types political and commercial
  • Parties shaped press history.
  • Anti-British rule
  • Political agendas shaped newspapers.
  • Partisan press forerunner of editorials
  • Commercial press forerunner of the modern
    business section
  • Circulation in hundreds, not thousands
  • Readership the wealthy and educated

Penny Press
  • 1833 Benjamin Days New York Sun
  • Local events, scandals, and police reports
  • Blazed the trail for celebrity news
  • Fabricated stories
  • Human-interest stories
  • Ordinary individuals facing extraordinary
  • Success spawned wave of penny papers.

Penny Press (cont.)
  • James Gordon Bennetts New York Morning Herald,
  • Bennett first U.S. press baron
  • Worlds largest daily paper at the time
  • Model for Dickenss Rowdy Journal
  • Penny papers increased reliance on ad revenue.
  • 1848 formation of the Associated Press (AP)
  • Wire services around the country

Penny Press Contributions
  • Developed a system of information distribution
  • Modern technology to mass-produce and cut costs
  • Wire services
  • Promoted literacy among the public
  • Middle- and working-class readers could afford
    the papers and were attracted to true-crime and
    human-interest stories.
  • Empowered the public in government affairs
  • Articles about politics and commerce

Yellow Journalism
  • Pulitzer and Hearst
  • Brazen
  • Sensational, overly dramatic
  • Crimes
  • Celebrities
  • Scandals
  • Disaster
  • Intrigue
  • Provided roots for investigative journalism
  • Exposed corruption in business and government

Pulitzer and the New York World
  • Hungarian immigrant
  • Bought the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Touted as a national conscience
  • Promoted the public good
  • 1883 bought the New York World
  • Pro-immigrant and working class
  • Sensational stories
  • Advice columns and womens pages
  • Anti-monopoly
  • Manufactured events and staged stunts
  • E.g., Nellie Bly around the world in 72 days
  • Legacy Columbia Us graduate school of
    journalism and launched the Pulitzer Prizes

Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane)
  • First investigative reporter?
  • Faked insanity to get into hospital
  • Prostitution story
  • Made Pulitzers World a trendsetter for

Hearst and the New York Journal
  • Expelled from Harvard
  • Had taken reins of San Francisco Examiner
  • Bought the New York Journal with his inheritance
  • Ailing penny paper owned by Joseph Pulitzers
  • Raided Joseph Pulitzers New York World for
    editors, writers, and cartoonists
  • Imitated Pulitzers style
  • Pro-immigrant
  • Bold layout
  • Sensational stories
  • Invented interviews, faked pictures, encouraged
  • Hearst served as model for Charles Foster Kane.

Competing Models of Print Journalism
  • Objectivity
  • Ochs and the New York Times, 1896
  • Distanced themselves from yellow journalism
  • Focused on documentation of major events
  • More affluent readership
  • But lowered the price to a penny, so middle class
    read as marker for educated and well-informed
  • Inverted-pyramid style
  • Answer who, what, where, when (sometimes why and
    how) at top
  • Less significant details at bottom

Limits of Objectivity
  • Can news ever be objective?
  • Are facts alone enough?
  • What do we need from newspapers?

Interpretive Journalism
  • More analysis
  • 1920s editor and columnist Walter Lippmann
  • Facts for the record
  • Analysis
  • Advocate plans
  • 1930s Depression and Nazi threat to global
    stability helped analysis take root.

Literary Forms of Journalism
  • News critic Jack Newfield
  • Journalistic impartiality as a figleaf for
    covert prejudice
  • Advocacy journalism
  • Reporter promotes particular cause or view
  • Precision journalism
  • Pushes news in the direction of science
  • Literary journalism
  • Also called new journalism
  • Fictional storytelling techniques applied to
    nonfictional material
  • 19th century Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Theodore
  • 20th century Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Joan
    Didion, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson

Newspapers in the Age of Immediacy
  • Can newspapers compete with television and the

Newspapers Undergo Change
  • USA Today
  • Color
  • Brief, almost broadcast-length copy
  • Culture changes
  • Less reading
  • Multi-media news sources
  • Talk shows, films, rap music
  • The Drudge Report broke Lewinsky story
  • Reduced standards for journalistic accuracy?

The Other Presses
  • Native American newspapers
  • African American
  • Immigrant
  • Spanish-language
  • Vital to marketing and publicity campaigns
  • Growing fast
  • The underground press
  • Media of far Left and far Right

Economic Demands vs. Editorial Opportunities
  • Newshole 35 to 50 percent of paper
  • Remaining space devoted to advertising
  • Newsroom staff
  • Publisher and owner
  • Editors
  • Reporters
  • Photographers
  • Copy editors
  • Wire services and feature syndicates important
    sources of material
  • Staff cannot possibly produce enough or cover the

Ownership, Economics, Technology, and Innovation
  • End of competing newspapers in cities
  • Decline in readership
  • Joint operating agreement (JOA)
  • Two newspapers keep separate news divisions while
    merging business and production operations.
  • Newspaper chains
  • Gannett nations largest
  • Rupert Murdochs News Corp. multinational

Media Giant
Convergence in the Newsroom
  • Several papers trying converged newsroom
  • Online newspapers flexible
  • Unlimited space
  • Links to related articles
  • Archives
  • Multimedia capabilities
  • Free of charge

Journalists Face Risks Abroad
  • By mid-2006, more than 70 reporters had died in
  • The danger is omnipresent for journalists in
    Iraq. There are few places to take refuge.
  • Joel Campagna, Committee to Protect
    Journalists, 2006