A Brief History of Journalism
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A Brief History of Journalism



Intended for new media and journalism students at Mercer County Community College in Prof. Holly Johnson's classes. This presentation gives a broad overview of the history of journalism with emphasis ...

Intended for new media and journalism students at Mercer County Community College in Prof. Holly Johnson's classes. This presentation gives a broad overview of the history of journalism with emphasis on the development of journalism in the U.S. in particular.



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  • What is “Convergence Media”?Who would take it?What would the curriculum look like?Would it generate revenue?Who else offers it?Would it transfer to four-year colleges and universities?What additional resources would a convergence program require?

A Brief History of Journalism A Brief History of Journalism Presentation Transcript

  • A brief history of Journalism Journalism 1 + 2 + New Media © 2012 - Prof. Holly Johnson
  • Humans were born to gossip Primatologist Robin Dunbar theorizes changes in food sources allowed early humans to walk upright Environment changes made it possible to feed many individuals in one area increasing social interactions. Distances between food sources forced long separations of group members Grooming is key way of keeping track of group members Groups exceed number groomable (150) so have to find other way to keep track of one another – gossip/language evolves
  • Written Language - Hieroglyphics 3300BCE - The ancient Egyptians and various other cultures created hieroglyphic languages to record stories.
  • Cuneiform3000BCE – The earliest written language is discovered in Sumeria. It is now called CUNEIFORM.
  • First Alphabetic Writing - 800BCFrom cuneiform and other pictographic language an alphabetic language where symbols stand for consonant sounds evolves. The earliest written alphabet is ancient Aramaic. It is the precursor to modern day written Arabic.
  • Ancient Greek– 600BC Gossip Songs Epic poetry Hand copied manuscripts
  • 2000 years pass…
  • Advent of the printing press Gutenberg, 1456 Used to print bibles
  • First periodical was issued in Latin Semiannual – distributed at book fairs Mercurius Gallobelgicus (Cologne, 1592)Before Newsweek, People and Time….there was Mercurius Gallobelgicus
  • First regularly published newspaper in English The Oxford Gazette – 1665 Begun while the English Court was at Oxford because of the plague in London When the court returned to London the paper went too
  • American newspapers in the Colonial Period In the British colonies, printing was regulated by the Press Restriction Act which required that the printers name and place of pub. Be included on each printed doc. First printer in the colonies was Stephen Day at Cambridge, MA in 1638. Day himself does not seem to have been a printer. He was a locksmith in Cambridge, Eng., and, in 1638, contracted with the Reverend Jose Glover, a wealthy dissenting clergyman, to set up the first printing press in the colonies. Although Glover died on the sea voyage, Day and Glover’s widow set up the press in Cambridge, Mass., and by March 1639 it was in full operation.
  • American newspapers in the Colonial Period 1662 Massachusetts law forced printers to have a license which contributed to suppression of the press Benjamin Harris’s Publick Occurences both Foreign and Domestick – 1690 suppressed for content and license
  • First real colonial newspaper 1721 – James Franklin’s New England CourantThe authorities of Bostonbecome enragedbecause Jamesconstantly makes fun ofthem. He gets thrown injail and has to pretend hisyounger brother Ben isthe real publisher. Benruns the press whileJames is in jail in 1723.When James gets out hedoesn’t thank Ben forrunning things in hisabsence. Ben breaks hisapprenticeship (a seriousoffense) and sails to NYbut the only printer theredoesn’t need any help.Almost broke, Ben heads to Philadelphia. His boat from NY gets caught in a hurricane. He has towalk three days across NJ. But Philadelphia is a land of freedom for the 17 year old printer.
  • By the American Revolution papers were abundant 89 papers in 35 different communities published during the 1770s
  • The Stamp Act - 1765 Most newspapers at the time of the American Revolution were anti-royalist because the opposed the Stamp Act which taxed newsprint Newspapers could only use paper that had received a stamp indicating the tax had been paid making it easy to suppress papers by denying them the stamp.
  • Truth and responsibility in reporting? Early US papers were NOT focused on reporting things in a fair and balanced way, they were used as a way to slam the opposition party’s positions or to persuade people to their views After the Jefferson administration the industry became more independent and less partisan, owned by private enterprises with real editors rather than party hacks
  • Political machines and propaganda When he became president, Andrew Jackson started his own newspaper and press. He funneled both government printing business (leaflets etc.) and information to it, forcing the other Washington papers out of business. Andrew Jackson - Spin doctor in Chief from 1829-1837
  • A typical newspaper post Revolution By mid 1800’s typical newspapers were weekly or semi weekly, short and aligned with one or the other political party (Whigs and Federalists). Other than local news, much of the reporting was simply copied from other papers, sometimes verbatim (now considered plagiarism). In addition to news stories there might be poetry or fiction, or (especially late in the century) humorous columns
  • The rise of the great newspapers In the 1850’s technology advanced and new massive presses that could print thousands of copies of a paper every hour increased potential circulation The emergence of “illustrated” newspapers (still mostly weeklies) suggested the possibility of merging articles with images
  • The New York Herald The New York Herald – Founded 1835 – Under James Gordon Bennett began the modern concept of a newspaper Charged a penny rather than the usual 6 cents Topped 40,000 circulation within 15 months of opening First paper with a city staff covering regular beats In 1838 Bennett organized the first foreign correspondent staff (six men in Europe) and placed domestic correspondents in key cities (including Washington) He also used fast offshore boats to rush foreign news from incoming ships
  • Papers that followed the Herald Other papers saw Bennett’s success and followed his example New York Tribune – 1841 – more liberal (Karl Marx was briefly the London correspondent), crusaded for unionism, abstinence and abolition. Lead the way with technology. The New York Times – 1851 – Established the principle of balanced reporting and high-level writing. Also known as the “Old Gray Lady” and “The paper of record.” Wire services originated in 1848 with the creation by six large NY papers of a news cooperative to provide coverage of Europe.
  • Civil War Reporting for the war drove competition between papers The short, crisp style of journalism was born because reporters had to send stories via telegraph or by rail
  • New York was THE center of news Midwestern papers developed with much more local focus, but New York remained the hub of news activity and international coverage for decades. Western papers DID contribute two major forces in American journalism. After building fortunes with western newspapers, in the first 25 years of the1800’s William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer established two more NY papers. William Randolph Joseph Pulitzer Hearst – established the established the New York World New York Journal newspaper newspaper
  • Yellow Journalism  Hearst and Pulitzer competed by printing more and more sensationalist stories known as “yellow journalism” named after a Pulitzer cartoon called “The Yellow Kid.”  This kind of journalism became looked down upon and was followed by “muckraking” – journalists who would hunt down and deliver sensational stories that were directed toward the public good (not just sensational to sell papers)HUNGRY, FRANTIC FLAMES. They Leap Madly Upon the Splendid PleasurePalace by the Bay of Monterey, Encircling Del Monte in Their Ravenous EmbraceFrom Pinnacle to Foundation. Leaping Higher, Higher, Higher, With DesperateDesire. Running Madly Riotous Through Cornice, Archway and Facade. Rushing inUpon the Trembling Guests with Savage Fury. Appalled and Panic-Striken theBreathless Fugitives Gaze Upon the Scene of Terror. - The Examiner (owned by Hearst)
  • 20th century – Investigative Reporting  Muckraking turns to investigative reporting  Upton Sinclair – a muckraker – publishes his book The Jungle in 1905 uncovering the unsanitary conditions of the meat packing industry and leading to passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.“All day long the blazing midsummer sun beatdown upon that square mile of abominations:upon tens of thousands of cattle crowded intopens whose wooden floors stank and steamedcontagion; upon bare, blistering, cinder-strewnrailroad tracks and huge blocks of dingy meatfactories, whose labyrinthine passages defied abreath of fresh air to penetrate them; and thereare not merely rivers of hot blood and carloadsof moist flesh, and rendering-vats and soupcauldrons, glue-factories and fertilizer tanks, thatsmelt like the craters of hell-there are also tonsof garbage festering in the sun, and the greasylaundry of the workers hung out to dry anddining rooms littered with food black with flies,and toilet rooms that are open sewers.” -The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
  • Ida Tarbell SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: Tarbell wrote a 19 segment series published articles in McClures Magazine criticizing Rockefeller, president of Standard Oil, and his monopoly in the oil business. She dug into public documents all over the country to uncover the the shady business dealings of the oil industry and oil magnate John D. Rockefeller’s personal use of strong arm tactics to eliminate rivals. He responded to these attacks by describing her as "Miss Tarbarrel” but significant damage was done to his reputation. *Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • Nellie Bly Nellie Bly: A pseudonym for Elizabeth Cochrane, a reporter whose journalistic style told the stories of ordinary people. Her information was often obtained by going undercover. She is most well known for faking her own insanity just to get into New Yorks insane asylum on Blackwells Island*. *Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • Radio kills the print star? 1895 – Marconi sends firsttransatlantic radio signal By the 1930’s radio competes withprint for coverage of the news
  • Newsreels and radio By the 1930’s newspaper has serious competition from newsreels (film) and radio Number of small papers go out of business, larger ones consolidate especially during the depression Newspaper chains develop 1950’s TV news cuts into the action
  • Edward R. MurrowAlready famous for his radio careerin the 1940s, Murrow led news intotelevision as well. As CBS NewsVice President and Director of PublicAffairs, Murrow wanted to return toreporting in 1951. Although he waswary of television, he made thetransition with "See It Now" the firsttelevision newsmagazine. Murrowalso interviewed celebrities in theirhomes in the popular "Person toPerson." This show surprised somepeople who preferred the moreserious Murrow. The serious Murrowtook on the Red Scare andMcCarthy in 1954.**Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • Walter ChronkiteOnce turning down theopportunity to be a Murrowboy, Cronkite was named aCBS anchor for the 1952Democratic and Republicanconventions. This new jobcoined the term "anchor."Cronkites popularity grewafter the 1950s and CBSstarted the first half-hour showwith Cronkite as the anchor.*One of the most famous newsanchors in history, Chronkiteis best known for themoments he broke from thescript and delivered his ownopinion on air particularly ongrave topics. *Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • Woodward & BernsteinIn 1972 and 1973, Bob Woodward worked with fellow Washington Post reporter CarlBernstein on stories that led to the resignation of President Nixon in 1974. Supportedby The Washington Post Editor Ben Bradley, the pair submerged themselves ininvestigating the Watergate break-in. Eventually, their investigations of the break-inrevealed a scandal involving the Committee to Re-Elect the President and Nixonhimself. Many of the high-ranking committee members and members of Nixonsadministration were indicted on federal charges of burglary and disrupting DemocraticParty activities. In 1973, Woodward and Bernstein won the Pulitzer Prize for theirstories.* *Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • Hunter S. ThompsonOriginally a sports journalist,worked for Rolling Stone duringthe late 1960s and 1970s andhas published several books. Heis called the father of gonzojournalism, because of his manicwriting style and twisted lifestyle– including the use of practicallyevery recreational drug known toman.*Gonzo journalism ischaracterized by the authorinserting him or herself into theaction and reporting on it fromthat perspective, often with awarped angle due to drug use.*Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • 1980’s – Rupert Murdoch = FOX NEWS Rupert Murdoch - Murdoch became one of the worlds media giants during the global media revolution of the 1980s. He merged 20th Century Fox Film Corporation with several independent television stations to form the Fox Television Network in 1985; Fox was the first new television network in the United States to be created since the 1950s. Today, Murdoch is still one of the most powerful and influential individuals in the global media market.*Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • 1980’s – Oprah Winfry Oprah Winfrey - In 1984, Winfrey moved to Chicago and began hosting "A.M. Chicago," an ABC affiliates morning public affairs show. Within three months, her show had outscored the ratings of the popular national talk show hosted by Phil Donahue. Winfrey changed the format of daytime talk show television by providing a platform for honest, sincere discussions of sensitive and sometimes controversial topics. Her nationally syndicated "Oprah Winfrey Show" was one of the most popular shows of the 1980s and lasted into the next century.* *Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • 1980’s – Barbara Walters Barbara Walters - Walters worked two years as the "Today Shows" first official female co-host. She was part of the news team sent to report on President Richard Nixons historic visit to the Peoples Republic of China in 1972. In 1984, ABC wanted her to return to her anchor desk as co-host of the newsmagazine "20/20." *Text courtesy of History of American Journalism at ehub.journalism.ku.edu
  • MTV merges music and television into videoThe firstseeds ofconvergencemedia aresewn by MTVin the 1980’s.
  • 1980’s Color added to USA Today Layout becomes more prominent – news has to look good to compete
  • Experiments in Design
  • Journalism Aims to Keep Up
  • What is • Internet convergence? Convergence is the intersection of: • TV • Radio Convergence • Newspaper • MP3 • Phone*
  • Mobile Journalism Mobile journalism is the name for the new specialty of journalism in which reporters photograph, take and edit audio and video, write and package their articles for print and web. It requires numerous skills to succeed as a mojo. Jobs you can get with a background in convergence media include:  Publications  Information Services  Online Broadcasting  Mobile Journalism  News Research  Public Relations  Marketing and Sales
  • END