Newspapers and the Rise of Modern Journalism
Some guiding questions How did newspapers emerge as a mass medium? How have the standards of journalism changed in the modern era? How do issues of ownership, economics and technology bear upon journalism? What are central concerns about journalism and democracy?
THE EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN NEWSPAPER JOURNALISM
What is “news,” anyway? How would you define it?
What is NEWS? News satisfies our need to know things we cannot experience personally. News documents daily life and bears witness to ordinary and extraordinary events. Does it just report FACTS, or does it help us to interpret them?
EARLY AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS Colonial newspapers in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, South Carolina By 1765, about thirty newspapers First DAILY paper in 1784 Readership primarily limited to elite and educated men: WHY?
Limited readership in 18th century Low literacy rate among working and middle classes Newspaper production and distribution was expensive Newspaper subscription rates were high Press did not address women’s interests or those of working class
Political versus Commercial Papers Both shaped by response to British rule and the spread of commerce PARTISAN PRESS: political bias, argued for one perspective COMMERCIAL PRESS: served interests of business and economic leaders
Pioneering Colonial Women as Newspaper Owners Elizabeth Timothy: South Carolina Gazette, 1738 Anna Maul Zenger: New York Journal, 1746
ERA OF THE PENNY PRESS (1820s)
Industrial Revolution: new technologies made MASS PUBLISHING cheaper and faster New strategies by some publishers to attract working-class readers
PENNY PRESS STRATEGIES Lowered cost to one penny per issue Focus on local events, scandals and crime Ran serialized stories Human interest stories Celebrity news Fashion notes Jokes
PENNY PAPER INNOVATIONS Shifted economic base from political party subsidies to an
ADVERTISING MARKET: Advertising revenue Classified ads Street sales rather than subscriptions
Wire Services In 1848, Associated Press (AP) was founded. 6 New York newspapers in cooperative arrangement AP relayed news stories and information around the country using telegraph lines.
ERA OF YELLOW JOURNALISM Age of SENSATIONALISM (to attract readers/ consumers) Age of INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (to crusade for common people)
Two infamous publishers JOSEPH PULITZER: Eastern
European immigrant, built empire from St. Louis Post-Dispatch to
New York World
Appealed to working classes Promoted consumerism Crusaded against corruption
Two infamous publishers WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST: son of U.S. senator, built empire from San Francisco Examiner to New York Journal:
Appealed to immigrant and working class Sensational journalism (like tabloids today) Champion of the underdog Model for Citizen Kane (1941 film)
MODERN JOURNALISM IN AMERICA Ideals of
objectivity versus the need for analysis and
Two COMPETING MODELS: STORY model: dramatized events, used individual characters and narrative structure INFORMATION model: emphasized a purely factual, straightforward approach Do these two models exist today? Think of some examples.
OBJECTIVE JOURNALISM Became dominant model in 20th century American journalism Reporters strive to maintain a NEUTRAL, UNBIASED ATTITUDE about the issues Reporters seek to show BALANCED and COMPETING POINTS OF VIEW.
Inverted Pyramid Style of Reporting What? Efficient model for news reporting How? Concentrated main details about news at top of story (WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN) Why? Initially, to ensure that primary elements got through telegraph transmissions
INTERPRETIVE JOURNALISM A style of reporting that tries to put issues and events in broader social and historical context. Explanatory, interpretive analysis of news Why? To help public to better understand complex events and issues
Walter Lippman’s model of
Press Responsibility To make a current record To make a running analysis of it On the basis of both, to suggest plans
WHAT IS THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN INFORMATION and INTERPRETATION? What role do you think journalism should take?
Attack on objectivity as dominant model (1960s)
new journalistic forms Advocacy journalism Precision journalism Literary journalism
CONTEMPORARY JOURNALISM Innovative news forms that combine information, entertainment, persuasion, and analysis
PRINT vs. ELECTRONIC NEWS What are the advantages and disadvantages of each mode?
ETHNIC, MINORITY, AND OPPOSITIONAL NEWSPAPERS
Ethnic Newspaper Publications Various newspapers for immigrant and ethnic groups Hispanic press Native American press African American press
African American newspapers Antislavery newspapers, 18271865 Major urban papers (early 20th century): Pittsburgh Courier Amsterdam News (NYC) Chicago Defender
OWNERSHIP, ECONOMICS AND TECHNOLOGY What issues face the world of newspaper publishing today?
ISSUES TODAY CIRCULATION CRISIS: decline in readership COMPETING NEWSPAPERS in major cities (mergers, JOAs) NEWSPAPER CHAINS NEW TECHNOLOGIES (online journalism)
What is a newspaper’s role in a democracy?