Site MapHelpFeedbackChapter Summary
Chapter Summary
(See related pages)

  • Highlights from the history of journalism, from Mark Twain and Lois Lane to All the President's Men and Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Five myths about reporters
  • 30 slang terms for "reporter"


The Rise and Fall of America's First Newspaper
  • 1690: Benjamin Harris published the first and only issue of Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick.
The Zenger Trial & Freedom of the Press
  • 1735: Freedom of the press was strengthened in the colonies when John Peter Zenger, jailed for libel for after printing accusations of official corruption, was acquitted.
Patriotism, Propaganda & the Revolutionary War
  • 1729: Ben Franklin took over the Pennsylvania Gazette, making it the boldest and best paper in the colonies.
  • 1765: The Stamp Act imposed a heavy tax on printed matter. Editors protested and colonists united in forcing repeal.
  • Revolutionary debate heated up. Editors grew bolder, exerting political influence and exhorting military action.
  • By 1775 Isaiah Thomas, publisher of The Massachusetts Spy, was demanding independence from England.
  • 1776: The Declaration of Independence first appeared publicly in the Pennsylvania Evening Post and was reprinted in 20 other colonial papers.
  • 1791: The Bill of Rights provided that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech or of the press."


Emergence of the Penny Press
  • Innovations in printing: cheaper paper and faster presses made printing newspapers affordable and available like never before, especially in growing urban areas.
  • 1833 Benjamin Day began selling the New York Sun for a penny a copy, pioneering the idea of "mass media."
  • A new kind of newspapering aimed at the interests of the common citizen.
The Rise of the Modern Newsroom
  • The biggest and best newspapers began hiring and training reporters to cover news in a professional way.
The Golden Age of Yellow Journalism
  • Yellow journalism: sensational stories, lavish use of pictures, comics, features, crusades, publicity stunts and rumors.
  • Excesses reached a climax as editors William Randolph Hearst (New York Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (The World) battled for supremacy in New York, by then the nation's media center.
  • Hearst, Pulitzer and the Spanish-American War: Sensational coverage of the Cuban rebels' fight for freedom from Spain inflamed readers and pressured politicians. War was declared; circulation skyrocketed.
  • Radio and TV brought an end to newspapers' media monopoly.
    • Radio: the first medium to provide a 24-hour stream of news coverage.
    • TV journalism came of age in the 1960s (1963 nonstop coverage of the Kennedy assassination).
  • Newspapers' response to competition: tighter writing, better formatting; improved design, corporate consolidation.

Harrower, 1eOnline Learning Center

Home > Chapter 1 > Chapter Summary