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A newspaper is a regularly printed digest of news stories, investigative journalism, review, editorial opinion and feature articles. Major papers are published daily; minor ones weekly. They contain syndicated news from sources such as Associated Press and Reuters, as well as features, as well as local reporting and advertising. The prestige papers have their own news bureaus in the state and national capital and other major cities.
Washington Post bureaus are located in the world's key news centers

Crisis of 2009

The newspaper industry is currently in decline around the world, because of the influence of 24 hour television news channels and the Internet as sources of news. The Recession of 2008 hammered newspapers hard, because their main revenue source is advertising for new houses, jobs, automobiles and department stores, all of which cut back sharply. Since December 2008, numerous major newspapers have entered bankruptcy, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily News, Los Angeles Times, and Minneapolis Star Tribune, while Denver's Rocky Mountain News and Tucson's Citizen shut down; other major papers may follow them to the morgue. There was an abysmal sales price for Philadelphia's two major newspapers: only $55 million total.[1] Apparently liberal claptrap is not worth much.


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer in March 2009 became the largest American paper to drop its print edition and become an Internet-only publication. It cut its news staff from 165 journalists to only 20. A part of the Hearst chain, the P-I had a print circulation of 118,000 a day but lost $14 million in 2008 and no one wanted to buy it. Seattle still has a daily print paper, the Seattle Times, but it too is in deep financial trouble.[2]USA Today, which distributes half its papers through hotels and does not depend on advertising, is cutting back as circulation fell from 2.3 to 2.2 million copies a day.

Papers that continue in operation have lost revenue and been forced to cut staff in all departments. The New York Times news department peaked at more than 1,330 employees in 2008; by late 2009 it was down to 1,250 and planning to cut more jobs; no other American newspaper has more than about 750.

Some metropolitan papers have fewer than half as many people in their newsrooms as they did a few years ago. The Los Angeles Times by late 2009 dropped to about 600 news employees, from more than 1,200; The Washington Post to about 700, from more than 900; and The Boston Globe, to 300, from well over 500.

Liberal and conservative

In terms of prestige newspapers, the The New York Times and The Washington Post, are liberal, while the Wall Street Journal is conservative. Local newspapers tend to be conservative. Prominent conservative viewpoints appear in the The Washington Times, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the New Hampshire Union Leader. Some newspapers have changed their political slant over time: the New York Post has gone back and forth between a liberal slant and a conservative one, depending on its owner at the time, it currently has a conservative slant under the ownership of News Corporation. It endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2006, illustrating that newspapers can adapt their editorial views to the local market. Likewise the Chicago Tribune once had conservative editorial positions but is now more liberal.

The New York Tribune was the leading national newspaper; edited by Horace Greeley, it spoke for the Republican Party; 1864 copy.


In 1850-1950 most cities, even small ones, had several daily newspapers, each catering to a political party or faction. The trend in recent years has been toward consolidation as cities are no longer being able to support so many newspapers. Washington, D.C., for example, now has only two daily newspapers. Another trend in recent years is the proliferation of free weekly newspapers. These make their money selling advertising and are distributed to readers free of charge. Many of these free weeklies are socially liberal.


First Party System

During the First Party System, newspapers proliferated because they were sponsored by the two main parties, the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans. John Fenno began publishing his Gazette of the United States in April 1789 hoping it would become the official paper of the newly formed national government; soon Alexander Hamilton was encouraging and subsidizing him. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, leading the opposition to Hamilton, persuaded Philip M. Freneau, a brilliant poet, to found the National Gazette in Philadelphia in October 1791. Jefferson even put Freneau on the State Department payroll. The National Gazette at first served as a successful political tool for the Jeffersonians as it defined arguments against Hamilton's policies while rebutting Fenno's editorials. The National Gazette collapsed in 1793 due to weak circulation and the political fallout over Jefferson and Madison's financial involvement in founding the paper.

rapid growth of party newspapers

Hamilton set uip his own stable of Federalist papers. His editor in New York City was Noah Webster. In 1793, Hamilton loaned him $1500 to move to New York City and edit a newspaper for the new Federalist Party. In December Webster founded New York's first daily newspaper, American Minerva (later known as The Commercial Advertiser). He edited it for four years, writing the equivalent of 20 volumes of articles and editorials. He also published the semi-weekly publication, The Herald, A Gazette for the country (later known as The New York Spectator). As a partisan, he soon was denounced by the Republicans as "a pusillanimous, half-begotten, self-dubbed patriot," "an incurable lunatic," and "a deceitful newsmonger ... Pedagogue and Quack." Fellow Federalist Cobbett labeled him "a traitor to the cause of Federalism", calling him "a toad in the service of sans-cullottism," "a prostitute wretch," "a great fool, and a barefaced liar," "a spiteful viper," and "a maniacal pedant." The master of words was distressed. Even the use of words like "the people," "democracy," and "equality" in public debate bothered him, for such words were "metaphysical abstractions that either have no meaning, or at least none that mere mortals can comprehend." [3]

By 1796, both parties had a national network of newspapers, which attacked each other vehemently. In 1802 the New York Evening Post, with large amounts of advertising by Federalist merchants, published a daily edition for 1100 subscribers in the city, and a weekly edition that circulated to 1600 subscribers nationwide. The Federalist and Republican newspapers of the 1790s traded vicious barbs. Hamilton's vices, both personal and political, were favorite targets.

19th century


Late-19th century big city newspapers such as the Chicago Daily News - founded in 1875 by Melville E. Stone - ushered in an era of news reporting that was, unlike earlier periods, in tune with the particulars of community life in specific cities. Vigorous competition between older and newer-style city papers soon broke out, centered on civic activism and sensationalist reporting of urban political issues and the numerous problems associated with rapid urban growth. In Chicago competition was especially fierce between the Chicago Times (Democratic), the Chicago Tribune, (Republican) and the Daily News (independent), with the latter becoming the city's most popular paper by the 1880s.[4]

20th century

Yellow Journalism

Yellow Journalism is an unflattering term used to describe media coverage that is sensationalized in order to bring about a desired result. While not necessarily outright lies, it plays rather loosely with the truth or presents information in a way where conclusions are reached that might not be drawn if all information was presented.

Nasty little printer's devils spew forth from the Hoe press in this Griffith cartoon in Puck magazine Nov. 21, 1888--about a decade before the term "Yellow Journalism" was coined about these evils

It downplays legitimate news in favor of eye-catching headlines that sell more newspapers. It may feature exaggerations of news events, scandals, sex, weird events or unprofessional practices by news media organizations or journalists. Campbell (2001) defines Yellow Press newspapers as having daily multi-column front-page headlines covering a variety of topics, such as sports and scandal, using bold layouts (with large illustrations and perhaps color), heavy reliance on unnamed sources, and unabashed self-promotion.

Mott defines Yellow Journalism in terms of five characteristics:[5]

  1. scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news
  2. lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings
  3. use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudo-science, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts
  4. emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips (which is now normal in the U.S.)
  5. dramatic sympathy with the "underdog" against the system.

The term was extensively used to describe certain major New York City newspapers about 1900 as they battled for circulation. By extension the term is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion, such as systematic political bias.

Both Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst are associated with bringing yellow journalism into American society through their newspapers in the later half of the nineteenth century. The prominence of yellow journalism was especially notable in coverage of the Spanish occupation of Cuba and Pulitzer and Hearst took credit for the Spanish American War that followed, but historians dispute the claim. Their papers reached only New York City readers, and it was the rest of the country that demanded war in 1898.

Newspapers in the Internet Age: 1970-2009

Rapid decline in circulation

The circulation of the nation's daily newspapers plunged during 2006, in one of the sharpest declines in recent history. The slide continues a decades-long trend and adds to the woes of a mature industry already struggling with layoffs and facing the potential sale of some of its flagships. In addition newsstand sales of magazines fell more than 4 percent, to about 48.7 million copies. Among domestic newsweeklies, Time magazine reported the biggest drop. Analysts pointed to the increased use of the Internet, noting that more people in 2006 read the New York Times online than on paper. Newspaper readership goes up with education, and education levels are rising. That favorable trend is offset by the choice of people in each age group to read fewer papers. [6]

Corporate turmoil

After 1950 newspaper readership grew slower than the population. After 1990 the number of readers started to decline. The number of papers also declined, especially as afternoon papers collapsed in the face of television news. However sales of advertising remained strong and profits were still high. In 2002, newspapers reported advertising revenues of $44 billion. According to Morton Research, a market analysis firm, in 2003, the 13 major publicly traded newspaper companies earned an average pretax profit margin of 19 percent.[7]


Newspapers do have one advantage over news channels that have helped them stay afloat: there is no way to send comics over the airwaves. Therefore, newspapers make money by publishing comic strips like "For Better Or For Worse", "Mallard Fillmore", and the popular "Mutts".

Spanish and Asian language newspapers

The Latino Print Network estimated the combined circulation of all Hispanic newspapers in the United States at 16.2 million in 2003. Mainstream (English) daily newspapers owned 46 Hispanic publications—nearly all of them weeklies—that have a combined circulation of 2.9 million. From 1990 to 2000, the number of Hispanic newspapers alone nearly doubled from 355 to 652

In 1976 the Miami Herald started El Herald, a one-page Spanish insert that was reborn in 1987 as El Nuevo Herald, a daily supplement to the Miami Herald. El Nuevo Herald became independent of the 'Herald in 1998 and by 2003 had an average daily circulation of 90,300. In 1981, the Gannett chain entered daily Spanish publishing when it bought El Diario/La Prensa, a 52,000-circulation New York City tabloid that is the nation's oldest Spanish daily.

The Tribune Co., Belo Corp. and Knight Ridder launched daily Spanish-language papers in 2003. Hispanic-oriented newspapers and magazines generated $1.3 billion in revenue in 2002. By comparison, the operating revenue that year for Knight Ridder's 32 papers was $2.8 billion. Readership remains small, however. New York City already had two Spanish-language dailies with a combined circulation of about 100,000, as well as papers from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and a score of weeklies. But Louis Sito said their "circulation levels were very, very minimal when compared to the population size." (New York, population 8 million, is 27 percent Hispanic; the Bronx, 1.3 million, is 48 percent Hispanic.) Sito urged Newsday publisher Raymond A. Jansen to launch a daily instead of a weekly, and Hoy premiered on November 16, 1998, with a circulation of 25,000. By 2003, Hoy sold 91,000 copies a day in the New York metro area. The Dallas-Fort Worth market contains 1.3 million Latinos—22 percent of the population and growing (estimated to reach 38 percent by 2006). The Dallas Morning News developed Al Día to entice that audience. The Monday-through-Saturday paper debuted in September 2003 with a staff of 50, an initial circulation of 40,000 and a newsstand price of 25 cents. Diario La Estrella began in 1994 as a dual-language insert of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and first grew into an all-Spanish stand-alone paper with a twice-weekly total circulation of 75,000 copies distributed free via newsstands and selective home delivery.

With the notable exception of Viet Mercury, a five-year-old, 35,000-circulation weekly Vietnamese-language paper published by Knight Ridder's San Jose Mercury News, U.S. media companies have generally eschewed the Asian market even though daily papers in Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese are thriving in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities. The Mandarin-language World Journal, which distributes from San Francisco to Toronto and states a circulation (unaudited) of 350,000. World Journal; its biggest competitor, Sing Tao (181,000 circulation unaudited); and Korea Times (254,000, also unaudited) are owned by international media giants based in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Seoul, respectively.[8]

See also

External links


America's first newspaper, was printed in Boston in 1689, and lasted only one issue.
  • Blanchard, Margaret A., ed. History of the Mass Media in the United States, An Encyclopedia. (1998)
  • Brennen, Bonnie and Hanno Hardt, eds. Picturing the Past: Media, History and Photography. (1999)
  • Caswell, Lucy Shelton, ed. Guide to Sources in American Journalism History. (1989)
  • Emery, Michael, Edwin Emery, and Nancy L. Roberts. The Press and America: An Interpretive History of the Mass Media 9th ed. (1999.), standard textbook; best place to start.
  • Kotler, Johathan and Miles Beller. American Datelines: Major News Stories from Colonial Times to the Present. (2003)
  • McKerns, Joseph P., ed. Biographical Dictionary of American Journalism. (1989)
  • Marzolf, Marion. Up From the Footnote: A History of Women Journalists. (1977)
  • Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism: A History of Newspapers in the United States Through 250 Years, 1690-1940 (1941). major reference source and interpretive history. American+Journalism:+A+History+of&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=j0Iahd_mg6&sig=0m59AhBEBwXN-N-kgqQ91TLtrgk&hl=en&ei=iu2uSY3rBpK2sAPjmMWXDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result part 2 online
  • Nord, David Paul. Communities of Journalism: A History of American Newspapers and Their Readers. (2001) excerpt and text search
  • Schudson, Michael. Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers. (1978). excerpt and text search
  • Sloan, W. David, James G. Stovall, and James D. Startt. The Media in America: A History, 4th ed. (1999)
  • Starr, Paul. The Creation of the Media: Political origins of Modern Communications (2004), far ranging history of all forms of media in 19th and 20th century US and Europe; Pulitzer prize excerpt and text search
  • Streitmatter, Rodger. Mightier Than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History (1997)online edition
  • Vaughn, Stephen L., ed. Encyclopedia of American Journalism‎ (2007) 636 pages excerpt and text search


  • Humphrey, Carol Sue The Press of the Young Republic, 1783-1833 (1996) online edition
  • Knudson, Jerry W. Jefferson And the Press: Crucible of Liberty (2006) how 4 Republican and 4 Federalist papers covered election of 1800; Thomas Paine; Louisiana Purchase; Hamilton-Burr duel; impeachment of Chase; and the embargo
  • Nevins, Allan. The Evening Post: A Century of Journalism (1922) online edition ch 1-2
  • Pasley, Jeffrey L. "The Tyranny of Printers": Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic (2003) (ISBN 0-8139-2177-5)
  • Pasley, Jeffrey L. "The Two National Gazettes: Newspapers and the Embodiment of American Political Parties." Early American Literature 2000 35(1): 51-86. Issn: 0012-8163 Fulltext: in Swetswise and Ebsco
  • Stewart, Donald H. The Opposition Press of the Federalist Era (1968), highly detailed study of Republican newspapers

Penny Press, Telegraph and Party Politics

  • Ames, William E. A History of the National Intelligencer.
  • Blondheim Menahem. News over the Wire: The Telegraph and the Flow of Public Information in America, 1844–1897 (1994)
  • Crouthamel James L. Bennett's New York Herald and the Rise of the Popular Press (1989)
  • Davis, Elmer. History of the New York Times, 1851–1921 (1921)
  • Dicken-Garcia, Hazel. Journalistic Standards in Nineteenth-Century America (1989)
  • Douglas, George H. The Golden Age of the Newspaper (1999)
  • Elliott Robert N., Jr. The Raleigh Register, 1799–1863 (1955)
  • Huntzicker, William E. and William David Sloan eds. The Popular Press, 1833–1865 (1999)
  • Luxon Norval Neil. Niles' Weekly Register: News Magazine of the Nineteenth Century (1947)
  • Martin Asa Earl. "Pioneer Anti-Slavery Press", Mississippi Valley Historical Review 2 (1916), 509–528. in JSTOR
  • George S. Merriam, Life and Times of Samuel Bowles V. 1 (1885) Springfield [Mass.] Republican
  • Nevins, Allan. The Evening Post: A Century of Journalism (1925) full text online
  • Rafferty, Anne Marie. American Journalism 1690–1904 (2004)
  • Schiller, Dan. Objectivity and the News: The Public and the Rise of Commercial Journalism (1981)
  • Schwarzlose Richard A. The Nation's Newsbrokers, vol. 1, The Formative Years: From Pretelegraph to 1865 (1989)
  • Shaw Donald Lewis. "At the Crossroads: Change and Continuity in American Press News 1820–1860", Journalism History 8:2 (Summer 1981), 38–50.
  • Smith Carol, and Carolyn Stewart Dyer. "Taking Stock, Placing Orders: A Historiographic Essay on the Business History of the Newspaper", Journalism Monographs 132 ( April 1992).
  • Steele Janet E. The Sun Shines for All: Journalism and Ideology in the Life of Charles A. Dana. (1993)
  • Stevens John D. Sensationalism and the New York Press (1991)
  • Summers, Mark Wahlgren. The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865–1878 (1994)
  • Thomas, Leonard. The Power of the Press: The Birth of American Political Reporting. (1986)
  • Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Horace Greeley, Nineteenth-Century Crusader (1953) online editor of New York Tribune (1840–1872)
  • Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Thurlow Weed, Wizard of the Lobby (1947), Whig editor of Albany Journal
  • Walsh Justin E. To Print the News and Raise Hell! A Biography of Wilbur E Storey. (1968), Democratic/Copperhead editor Chicago Times
  • Williams Harold A. The Baltimore Sun 1837–1987. (1987)

Civil War

  • Andrews, J. Cutler. The North Reports the Civil War (1955), the definitive study
  • Andrews, J. Cutler. The South Reports the Civil War (1970) the definitive study
  • Crozier, Emmet. Yankee Reporters 1861–1865 (1956)
  • Fermer Douglas. James Gordon Bennett and the New York Herald: A Study of Editorial Opinion in the Civil War Era 1854–1867 (1986)
  • Merrill Walter M. Against Wind and Tide: A Biography of William Lloyd Garrison (1963)
  • Reynolds, Donald E. Editors Make War: Southern Newspapers in the Secession Crisis (1970).
  • Sachsman, David B., et al., eds. The Civil War and the Press. (2000)
  • Sanger Donald Bridgman. "The Chicago Times and the Civil War", Mississippi Valley Historical Review 17 ( March 1931), 557–580. A Copperhead newspaper; at JSTOR
  • Skidmore Joe. "The Copperhead Press and the Civil War", Journalism Quarterly 16:4 ( December 1939), 345–355.
  • Starr, Louis M. Bohemian Brigade: Civil War Newsmen in Action (1954)
  • Weisberger, Bernard A. Reporters for the Union ( 1953)



  • Diamond, Edwin. Behind the Times: Inside the New New York Times (1995)
  • Gorman, Lyn. and David McLean. Media and Society in the Twentieth Century: A Historical Introduction (2002) excerpt and text search
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  • Harnett, Richard M. and Billy G. Ferguson. Unipress: United Press International: Covering the 20th Century. (2001)
  • Kluger, Richard. The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune. (1986)
  • Liebling, A. J. The Press (1961)
  • McDougal, Dennis. Privileged Son: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times Dynasty (2001)
  • McPherson, James Brian. Journalism at the end of the American century, 1965-present‎ (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Merritt, Davis. Knightfall: Knight Ridder And How The Erosion Of Newspaper Journalism Is Putting Democracy At Risk (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Noble, James Kendrick. Paper Profits: A Financial History of the Daily Newspaper Industry, 1958-1998‎ (2000)
  • John J. Scanlon, The Passing of the Springfield Republican (1950) it folded after 1947 strike
  • Stacks, John F. Scotty: James B. Reston and the Rise and Fall of American Journalism. (2003)
  • Wolff, Michael. The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch (2008) 446 pages excerpt and text search


  2. "Seattle Paper Shifts Entirely to the Web," New York Times Mar. 16, 2009
  3. Joseph Ellis, After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture (1979) pp 199, 206.
  4. David Paul Nord, "Read All about It"" Chicago History 2002 31(1): 26-57. Issn: 0272-8540
  5. Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism (1941) p. 539 online
  6. Katharine Q. Seelye, "Newspaper Circulation Falls Sharply", New York Times October 31, 2006. online and The State of the News Media 2004 (2005) online at [1]
  7. (2005)
  8. Tim Porter, "Dismantling the Language Barrier" American Journalism Review October/November 2003 online