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History Of American Journalism Essay

1200 words - 5 pages

Humans, it seems, have an innate need to feel connected on a global level with one another. Our history as a civilization shows the importance that we have placed on sending and retrieving the latest news so that we may be ever informed on the happenings of the world. Beginning at first with the sending of messages of news to each other through conversations to the press explosion that Gutenberg set off with the invention of his printing press, people remained connected. The idea of public in the eyes of journalism has changed, in some aspects, over the course of time in America. In the beginning American’s were given Party Presses that were funded and exclusively wrote about wealthy political candidates at the time and in time came Benjamin Day who created the first Penny Paper to flourish in 1833. The Penny Papers turned the tide of the circulation of news from the wealthy elite who were far more interested in the politics of the day to the working masses who were for the first time given stories that they cared about. (Stephens 2007)
An example of separating an audience and informing them of news is shown during the American Revolution where writers would frequently refer to their audience as Americans (first appearance of this word) as well as denouncing the British as to incorporate a stronger bond between the reader and that paper. The journalist’s role of writing for their publics varied depending on which newspaper organization they worked for. In the beginning with the circulation of the Party Press the journalists wrote exclusively for their employer and promulgated their wishes upon the readers. As this form of paper faded out and the wildly successful Penny Press found its footing the marketplace by offering new story lines ones that directly impacted the lives of working class men and their families.
These papers for the first time were affordable and were easily distributed across the nation. These, of course, weren’t the only literature being spread around during this time but two of the most prominent. As papers moved away from having a single rich beneficiary they needed to provided for their cost of operation and decided to do so through the use of advertisements. As the United States government did not choose to begin its own newspaper or to fund any of the existing papers, the use of advertising as a means to operate the newspaper became commercialized and the concept of acting like a business became strengthened. The first of such came from a man named Volney Palmer in 1841 who was the first commercial advertising broker. (Cramer 2009)
As newspapers became more and more popular a division in the readership became more and more notable. Throughout the 1830’s and 1860’s women and African American’s were forbidden to learn how to read and thus were left out of the new whirlwind of excitement that shrouded their daily lives in the aspects of political reform, economy etc. This rift in coverage and who was allowed to be seen...

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