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The Natural History of the Newspaper

Les mots clés

Histoire sociale

Anglais The Natural History of the Newspaper

À propos

The newspaper has a history; but it has, likewise, a natural history. The press, as it exists, is not, as our moralists sometimes seem to assume, the willful product of any little group of living men. On the contrary, it is the outcome of an historic process in which many individuals participated without foreseeing what the ultimate product of their labors was to be. The newspaper, like the modern city, is not wholly a rational product. No one sought to make it just what it is. In spite of all the efforts of individual men and generations of men to control it and to make it something after their own heart, it has continued to grow and change in its own incalculable ways.The type of newspaper that exists is the type that has survived under the conditions of modern life. The men who may be said to have made the modern newspaper-James Gordon Bennett, Charles A. Dana, Joseph Pulitzer, and William Randolph Hearst-are the men who discovered the kind of paper that men and women would read and had the courage to publish it. The natural history of the press is a history of a surviving species. It is one of the most characteristic fruits of enlightenment, due to the extension of the opportunities of education to the masses of the population. The modern newspaper is a product of city life; it is no longer merely an organ of propaganda and opinion, but a form of popular literature. The journal of opinion was largely a business man's newspaper. The so-called independent press added to its public the so-called artisan class. The yellow press was created mainly to capture immigrants, and women. It was this increase of circulation that made the newspaper-formerly a subsidized organ of the parties an independent business enterprise, an envelope and carrier for advertising.

Rayons : Sciences humaines & sociales > Histoire

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