Topic 3: Newspapers Origins
Topic 3: Newspapers Origins MC 101-740
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Destiny Giebe on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to MC 101-740 at Southeast Missouri State University taught by Frederick Christopher Jones in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Mass Comm & Society in Journalism and Mass Communications at Southeast Missouri State University.
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Date Created: 02/16/16
Newspapers: Origins The Romans. Look at all the great things they've given the world. Beautiful architecture, deep philosophical teachings, toga parties. And the newspaper. Okay, they weren't called newspapers yet, they were called news sheets, but they've been around since the days of Julius Caesar (59 B.C.). Called Acta Diurna ("actions of the day"), these ancient papers were posted on the wall after each meeting of the Roman Senate. These news sheets remained popular in Europe, eventually making their way across the ocean to the New World. In 1690, the colonies got their first newspaper. It lasted one day (evidently they ticked off some royal bigwig). The first American newspaper to last more than one day was the "Boston News -‐Letter", first published in 1704. It was expensive and boring. With beginnings like this, it's a wonder newspapers are still around. By the late 18 th century, there were a few dozen papers in America, which fell into two categories: partisan and commercial. Partisan papers would typically be one-‐sided, because they were supported by political groups. Imagine the headlines if today's newspapers were run by the political parties: "Obama Claims Victory over Republican Party Scumbags" "Obama and Cheating Democrats Steal Election" Commercial papers were more interested in economic issues -‐ making them comparable to papers like The Wall Street Journal. DEVELOPMENTS IN THE 19TH CENTURY The Industrial Revolution, which had a significant impact on books, brought similar changes to the newspaper industry. Printing costs dropped dramatically, which led to the development of penny papers (one guess how much these papers cost). These papers were innovative for a number of reasons: • They focused heavily on human-‐interest stories, which dealt with the trials of ordinary people. • They were the first to assign reporters to cover crime beats. Modern newspapers assign reporters to all kinds of beats (education, city, sports, etc.). • They received their money from advertisers, not political groups. This made them less likely to support one particular party (but maybe more likely to support one particular appliance store). Another major development occurred in 1848, when six New York newspapers established the first news wire service. This allowed news articles to be transmitted (using the telegraph) and shared by each of the papers. Today, wire services (like the Associated Press) have reporters stationed all over the world, each submitting articles from their region. Newspapers, like the Southeast Missourian, pay a fee for access to these stories, saving them the expense and manpower of sending their own reporters out all over the globe. The "New-‐England Courant", started by Ben A glimpse of the New York Times Franklin's brother in 1721, was one of the newsroom. Check out this site to see how colonial newspapers. newspapers work. YELLOW JOURNALISM Towards the end of the 19th century, newspapers were becom ing big business. One reason for the increase in sales -‐ the rise of yellow journalism. Yellow journalism was a different, yet often negative, approach to the news. Some characteristics include: • Exciting headlines in excessively large type • Increased use of pictures -‐ often faked • Fraudulent stories • Articles that stood up for the underdog During this era, two men fought to be the king of the newspaper empire: Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst . In fact, yellow journalism actually got its name from their fierce feud. A popular cartoon of the day, “The Yellow Kid”, often featured these two men battling each other. You've probably heard the name Pulitzer before -‐ the "Pulitzer Prizes" that he helped establish are the most prestigious writing awards in America. You might also know that Pulitzer started the "St. Louis Post-‐Dispatch" in 1878. Four years later, he bought the "New York World," which became the leading paper in the country. He crusaded against big business, like Standard Oil, and drew attention to inequities against women. He contributed to the modern newspaper in a number of ways: use of maps and illustrations, advice columns and most importantly, coupons. Of course, like most yellow journalists, he encouraged his staff to run sensational, unique news stories. A few years later, William Randolph Hearst came to town, buying up the "New York Journal." He came up with a great strategy for competing with Pulitzer -‐ he simply hired away all of Pulitzer's staff. He tended to be more outrageous than Pulitzer, placing heavy emphasis on crime and scandals. In one case, a dismembered body was found in the river. Hearst ran a story each day that week, revolving around the latest body part found by police. One of the most famous instances of yellow journalism centered on the Spanish-‐American War. To build up newspaper sales, Hearst started publishing stories about atrocities in Cuba -‐ including lurid drawings of mothers and children being killed. Later, he blamed Spain for the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana, although most people agree it was an accident. However, these stories got the American public fighting mad at Spain, so we went to war with them in 1898 -‐ a war many people feel was started by the newspapers. Here is a famous quote from Hearst that's worth repeating, because it really encapsulates the approach of yellow journalists: “The modern editor of the popular journal does not care for the facts. The editor wants novelty. The editor has no objection to facts if they are also novel. But he would prefer a novelty that is not a fact to a fact that is not a novelty.” -‐ William Randolph Hearst If you're interested in Hearst's life, you should check out Orson Welles' 1941 film "Citizen Kane." Due to its timeless themes and stunning visual style, this film is consistently considered the greatest film of all time (it's even ranked over "Dodgeball") Although not exactly biographical, the f ilm is obviously a portrait of Hearst's complex life. The film shows Hearst as a powerful but lonely man, who can only attain love by buying it. Hearst was so upset with the film that he tried to buy the film negative from RKO Studios before its release, intent on destroying it. Fortunately he failed -‐ and this image of William Randolph Hearst as a flawed, power-‐hungry man remains. Stories like the one above, published by Orson Welles at the premiere of his film "Citizen yellow journalists, were one cause of the Kane" -‐ a thinly disguised portrait of newspaper Spanish-‐American War in 1898. mogul William Randolph Hearst.
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