Journalism History

Printing was expensive, transportation expensive,
and few large advertisers, circulation was small
and confined to the elite who could afford costly
subscriptions (editors were paid as government
 The coverage was subsequently partisan and one
sided (bias)
 Newspapers covered only local news and slowly
disseminated national or international news
People begin move closer together (thus dropping transportation costs)
and government or party media subsidies decline
 1840 – the development of the telegraph means news can be flashed
 (We see the emergence of the “inverted pyramid” news format)
 1848– The Associated Press begins – the desire to sell the service
nationwide means that the service presents the news objectively
› Media (and possibly media bias) is now the product of publishers (Hearst and
Pulitzer), editor, and reporters but not controlled by government or party
Media discovers the value and profitability of criticizing government and
revealing scandals
› (Begin to see the emergence of a common political culture)
Magazines of Opinion (emerges around 1900)
› focused on political issues and guided by the values of
the progressive movement (The Nation, Harper’s,
Atlantic Monthly)
› Emergence of investigative journalism or “muckraking”
 sensationalistic and sometimes inaccurate but aimed at
fighting for “the little guy” – adversarial nature of the
 In the late 1900s the emphasis of the magazines begins to
shift from political news to popular entertainment,
fashion, funnies, sports etc . . .
Media’s tone becomes more moderate
› As times go by the flamboyant founders of the popular
press are replaced by professional managers
› (Readers become more sophisticated)
› Circulation wars fade as papers begin to buy each other
out – ie less competition to attract readers
1920’s - radio, late 1940s - television
› Advantage: politicians can speak to voters directly,
importance of visual impact not lost
› Disadvantage: time is costly (less news is covered),
stations resist giving uninterrupted time to anyone
(unless they pay) because people get easily bored
 Candidates need to do something controversial (i.e. go
negative) or spend $$$
 (incidentally, the electronic media is far more regulated
by the government than the print media)
Following the increasingly negative coverage of the
Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal that was
revealed by two reporters from the Washington
Post the media has come to view the American
government with suspicion
› The watch dog role has been more pronounced than
during 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.
Centralization of ownership: Media conglomerates are
absorbing newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations
that were once owned by families or small corporations
› ***(concerns that this centralization is muffling the marketplace
of ideas)***
Nationalization of news: While there is a variety of
coverage of local news there are fewer sources of national
› caused by fewer news outlets, pack journalism, and common
media values
› the result is a common political culture but if a story is missed it
is really missed
› there is a greater variety of local news
Sound bites are shortening 42 seconds in 1968, 10
seconds in 1988
 The three major networks are facing declining
market share to cable, Internet
 Call-in formats (Larry King) and talk shows
(Oprah, Arsenio Hall, Letterman)
› Dominance by right-wing commentators is being
criticized by the left
 i.e.- Hannity
› There are fewer and fewer large, daily newspapers with
most big cities now being served by just a single
 declining readership especially among the young
› Much optimism that it would enlarge marketplace of ideas
› Would be the perfect host for a global political forum,
provide alternative sources of information
› allow candidates to cheaply speak to the voters –
 but not much evidence it is becoming a dominant political
Sources of information are often the same as
mainstream media
 Original Journalism from Web can be beset by
inaccuracy and bias (Matt Drudge)
Option A:
› Write 2 stories or 2 articles or 2 exposé from 2 different eras
of press about a current problem in America or your
 Party press
 Popular Press-
 Yellow journalism press/sensationalism
 Radio/TV/Internet
Option B:
› Write 1 story or 1 articles or 1 exposé from 1 of the eras of
press and draw 1 magazine cover about your topic about
a current problem in America or your community…
 Party press
 Popular Press-
 Yellow journalism press/sensationalism
 Radio/TV/Internet