Trace the history of the printed newspaper and various types of eras in reporting the news. Start with the colonial period of print up to and including how printed news is delivered today with national papers like USA Today. Include and describe what was the significance of the era of the ‘penny press’, ‘jazz journalism’, ‘yellow journalism’, and ‘muckraking.’
The history of the printed newspaper in the United States has spanned even before the nations independence. The format and coverage may have changed over the years, but one principle element has remained the same. That element is the dispersion of information. From its humble beginnings during the colonial era in Boston and Philadelphia, the printed newspaper found interest by the masses. Newspaper during this time was limited, but even in these early beginnings coverage of topics ranged from international news to political scandals. Newspapers grew overtime though and did see growth in reporting into other areas of interest for it subscribers. At the beginning of the era of political press, which was during the American revolution reporting covered the “hot topic” on hand as does today’s press. Articles ranged from political support of either side to the ongoing war effort. Political coverage in the newspaper continued on even with the American Revolution coming to an end. In fact it just shifted during this time to internal matters the new country was facing.
Topics ranging from the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Federal Governments control over the freedom of speech were often reported on. The passing of the 1st Amendment during the Political press era set a precedence that is still felt today. Its passing enabled newspapers the ability provide its readers information without the fear of censorship. This would eventually help to develop coverage of stories across a wide medium. The development of the Penny Press is one of the mediums that also changed the type and cost of newspapers people had accepted as normal. This cheap newspaper was a precursor to what we would be commonly known today as a tabloid style newspaper. These newspapers at their reduced price were more widely accepted by the American society. The ability to mass produce was invaluable to the success of these newspapers. Penny Press newspapers in fact began to redefine what actually constituted what was news worthy in the US.
Because of this these Penny Press newspapers changed the industry and in effect introduced other types of reporting to include sports, financial, and reform. The civil war introduced us to another type of reporting known as “inverted pyramid”. Although the news reporting world didn’t continue to use it after the war it still bears mention since it could be considered the birthplace of the newspaper composite article. With the passing of time, increased circulation of newspapers, and added competition in news reporting, controversy of what was reported as news worthy was bound to change. With every newspaper looking to “one up” each other the age of yellow journalism had begun. During this era news reporting shifted from financial and reform to topics such as sex, murder, self-promotion and human interest stories. Although not the most in depth reporting in areas of worldwide concern it did sell newspapers. During the same relative time newspapers were reporting yellow journalism the magazine industry was experiencing an era named “muckraking”.
This type of reporting was comparable to today’s investigative journalism. With advent of new technology, advertiser’s preference, and potential profits, newspapers entered a consolidation phase in the United States. During this consolidation period newspapers began the era of jazz journalism. As discussed earlier, the Penny Press era was the first to report into what would resemble a tabloid today. The progression of technology in printing and photography however began to change such papers as the New York Daily News with more illustrations and photographs to accompany its articles. The Great Depression and the end of World War II only increased the newspaper consolidation. With consolidation an era of concentration began. With fewer companies owning more they were able to share resources and become more effective in their reporting.
This efficiency carried over with advertising and other sources of income for the newspapers. The invention of the Internet took its toll on the newspaper industry. The availability of news became widely available to a much larger audience. The printed newspaper at first faced severe cut backs due to advertising teetering off and paid subscriptions declining. In order to counter these losses the printed newspaper transitioned into the online newspaper. In addition, with this online newspaper they were able to share content and essentially cut down on their bottom line cost in production. Unlike the printed paper and its “newshole” the online paper is essentially limitless on how much it can report. The printed newspaper has been an integral part of American society for many more years then most realize. Either through its digital distribution on mobile or social media, it will always be in some form that integral part of how American society is informed.
Although the telegraph was first in providing electronic communication in the 19th Century, ‘radio’ is considered the grandfather of modern day electronics which led to television and where we are today with the Internet, computers, and all types of audio and video devices. Keeping this in mind, chronicle in order the events that took place that originally began with the discovery of the electromagnetic spectrum to the beginnings of radio broadcasting which led to the creation of the NBC and CBS networks. Include the following individuals and their contributions to broadcasting in the early days: Hertz, Marconi, Paley, deforest, Armstrong, and Sarnoff.
The development of electronic communication in the United States throughout history has been quintessential to the society we know today. The format in which we use may have changed over the years, but one principle element has remained the same. That element is the dispersion of information.
In the early 19th century the invention of the Morse code telegraph really introduced the American public to electronic communication. The telegraph was quickly accepted by people eager for a faster and easier way of sending and receiving information. The electric telegraph transformed how wars were fought and won and how journalists and newspapers conducted business. In time though new technologies would overshadow the telegraph, which would fall out of regular widespread usage. Right around the turn of the century the discovery by Heinrich Hertz of electromagnetic waves, commonly known as radio waves, would change electronic communication once again. His discovery would lead other scientists to even greater more advanced inventions. Once such inventor was Guglielmo Marconi. His pioneering work on long distance radio transmissions would complement both the works of Morse and Hertz.
With the 20th century came yet another great invention from yet another inventor named Lee de Forest. He invented the Audion, the first electrical device which could amplify a weak electrical signal and make it stronger. The Audion, which would lead to vacuum tubes, was what would essentially making radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone service possible.
As with the rapid advances of new technology the government will often call for some sort of regulation. Such regulation was needed in radio broadcasting. This in turn led to the passing of the Radio Act of 1927, Communications Act of 1934, and in turn the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In an attempt to capitalize on all this new technology abundant to them many new inventors sought to sell their ideas or find finical backing. Many of them were unsuccessful with their inventions and finding funding. One such inventor who experienced this early on struggle was Edwin Armstrong. He is noted for his experiments with FM radio during the mid-1930’s. His advancements in FM, although not highly regarded by his friends such as David Snarnoff, struggled to take off mostly due to AM radio being in place beforehand. If Snarnoff had provided that early financial backing FM could of been a standard in communication much earlier in history.
The onset of World War II did delay radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone services for the general public. However the military’s development in these areas did end up being beneficial. The years following World War II and with the advancements made would eventually bring all three together.
This culminating point would be begin at the 1939 world fair with the demonstration of the first broadcast commercial television. As television gained popularity other means of electronic communication such as radio and telephone changed in order to stay in business. Such changes could be found in business advertising and programming content.
William S. Paley was just one of the many notable people who discovered the business side of electronic communication. His family’s purchase of the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System in 1927 would eventually become what we know as CBS. Paley’s recognition of how to harness the potential reach of broadcasting was the key to his growing CBS from a tiny chain of stations into what was eventually one of the world’s dominant communication empires.
These broadcasting empires both CBS and NBC would use all three mediums, radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone service, to develop what we know today as network broadcasting. This was only possible due to the foresight and inventions of the early scientific pioneers we discussed.