History of Journalism 1

European models of newspapers
-Contained locally gathered information- rumors, gossip, information from letters
-Concept of privacy was different
“Public Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick”
-First multipage newspaper published in the Americas
-Printed by Richard Pierce and edited by Benjamin Harris
-Boston 1690
-Intended to be published monthly (or more often) as a publication similar to those existing in the port cities of Europe, market for commercial info
-Censored and put out of business after a single edition (British crown laws- was not published with authority; no license)
-*Showed that in this period, the government had all the power, the press had none (could literally not exist without government)
-*Was first try at American journalism
John Campbell/”Boston News-Letter”
-Campbell- Boston postmaster who followed the custom of periodically writing a summary of the most noteworthy information that passed through the post office, then circulating that newsletter to a small group of friends
-Decided to print these letters, resulting in the first successful multiple edition English-language newspaper in the New World (April 1704)
-Clearly on the front page: “Published by Authority” (learned from “Publick Occurrences”) (had stamp of approval because he was a government worker)
-Intended for small audience of white male social elites
-Didn’t cover anything that might offend local authorities
-Filled with stories from London newspapers (most letters)
-*First multi-issue newspaper in America
John Peter Zenger
-Immigrant from Germany who had been enlisted to publish the New York Journal, an outlet for the political views of a faction headed by James Alexander
-Was approached in 1735 by enemies of the royal authorities to print an article critical of NY governor William Crosby
-Alexander wrote it, Zenger published it and was arrested and tried for seditious libel (any written critique or undermining of the government or its officers)
-Spent nine months in jail. During this time, his sons and wife, Anna, took over printing, making her one of the first women to run a print shop in America
-Case should have been straightforward, material was critical of the governor and Zenger published it, making him guilty
-Andrew Hamilton represented him; he argued the jury should acquit Zenger because the material was true (truth defense was new, unorthodox- repeating its truth was committing a fresh offense)
-Jury found him “not guilty”
-Important political impact: 1. sent message to colonial governors, who didn’t press more charges of seditious libel 2. often cited in the 1780s during the debate over the need to protect press freedom in drafting the new Constitution and Bill of Rights
-Often hailed as a milestone, but: after, press freedom was limited (backward progress) and there was no legal impact/precedent
Ben Franklin
-Flen from apprenticeship in London to Philadelphia, where he work as a printer during the late 1600s/early 1700s
-Wrote essays under the pseudonym “Silence Do Good,” an old woman living in the countryside near Boston
-Advocated open press
“Apology for Printers”
-Defense of printing newspapers with opinions
-“So many mens, so many minds”- people will disagree
-Said we traffic in ideas (opinions) and cannot be neutral
-Seemed heretical because he did not recognize God
-Invoked English thinking about Liberty of the Press- when in fair play, Truth will always trump Error and the printer serves society by circulating ideas
Open press
-Franklin’s idea (“Apology for Printers”)
-The printer-editor is expected to open his pages to competing points of view
-The printer serves society by circulating ideas (public service)
-When in fair play, Truth will always trump Error
“Rules for the New England Courant”
-Wrote to the author of the New-England Courant (1728)
1. In the first place, then, Whatever you do, be very tender of the Religion of the Country.
2. Take great care that you do not cast injurious Reflections on the Reverend and faithful ministers of the gospel…
3. Be very careful of the reputation of the People of this Land in general.
4. By no means cast any Reflections on the Civil Government, under the care and protection of which you live…
5. We advise you to avoid Quotations from prophane and scandalous authors . . .
6. In writing your Courants, we advise you carefully to avoid the Form and Method of Sermons, for that is vile and impious in such a Paper as yours…
7. Be very general in your Writings, and when you condemn any Vice, do not point out any particular Persons…
Free press
-Jeffersonian idea
-Printers can say their own point of view
-People can buy different papers, but don’t expect to find the same view in them
-Papers are “free” to take sides
Thomas Paine
-Pamphleteer who allied self with rebel cause
-Made it to the US around 1774, on the eve of the American Revolution
-January 1776, wrote “Common Sense,” spread like wildfire
-Common Sense: 1. Republicanism- let’s rule ourselves, no primogeniture, social hierarchy 2. Independence- colonies and mainland should be separate 3. The American Crisis: “These are the times that try mens’ souls”
-First pamphlet written in plain, direct English, aimed at the masses
-Needed mass support to support the revolution
-Put printers into the center of the crisis, in a very important position
Alexander Hamilton
-Federalist/proponent of the Constitution
-One of the chief authors of the Federalist Papers
-Argued for the ratification of the Constitution based on the premise of future amendments that would appease anti-Federalists
-Favored a government which, thanks to taxes, has the resources to do things, such as charter a national bank and encourage manufacturing
started party politics among newspapers
-Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury
-*Founder of the New York Post, beginning of partisan press
Federalist Papers
-85 essays published in NY newspapers advocating for the ratification of the Constitution-NY was a hotspot for Constitutional debate-vital place to garner support of its residents
-Mostly written by Hamilton, also Madison and John Jay
-Also fleshed out ideals articulated in the Constitution for future reference
-Eventually published in an aggregate volume due to high demand
-Journalistic approach that effectively resonated with the masses and swayed public opinion toward the Federalist cause (through rhetoric and reason)
Thomas Jefferson
-Anti-federalist; proponent of a free press- sought constitutional provision to guarantee this, but argument was lost and no provision materialized, despite widespread popular support for free press
-Washington’s Secretary of State
-Believed that the only mechanism to keep people informed enough to govern themselves was the printed press (newspapers, pamphlets, books), essential for democracy
-Federalists argued for a “clean slate,” build government from the ground up and allocate specific, enumerated powers (only authorized to act based on the powers granted to it) – Federalists won in the short run, Constitution was ratified (partially due to success of Federalist papers)
-Eventually, free press protection was enumerated in the Bill of Rights- ideal that was engrained in American society
First Amendment
-“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of the press.”
-First of 12 amendments approved by Congress and sent to states for ratification, 10 were ratified and comprised Bill of Rights
-Jeffersonian idea of free press immortalized in American government: press is recognized as an integral component of true democracy- newspapers should have a vital role in public debates, allowed to take positions
Sedition Act of 1798
-Imposed heavy fines and prison terms on anyone who conspired to oppose the government/promoted riots/published any “false, scandalous and malicious writing against the government and its elected officials”- in the aftermath of the French Revolution
-Aimed at suppressing the opposition news media, put them out of business
-Indictments brought by Federalist prosecutors against 15 editors of Republican newspapers; 10 convicted of sedition
-Republicans saw as mechanism by majority to silence minority forever
-Federalists saw it as a weapon against a perceived threat to the US; said it did not violate the constitution; said the First Amendment was never intended to protect sedition
-Contemplated the truth as a defense; things that were true and malicious should be ok- but who’s to decide what is true?
-Jefferson thought the Supreme Court would be the answer to reconcile problem, but all of the sitting justices were appointed by Washington/Adams (Federalists who would not reject Constitutionality of Act)
-Federal government created by states, states should have authority to interpret const. (it is a creature of the states)
-Jefferson got Kentucky and Virginia to pass resolutions- said it violates First Amendment, calls it null and void
-Party alignment shifts for the first time in US history- peaceful transfer of power, Jefferson assumes Presidency and pardons convictions re: Act, House Judiciary Committee (in Congress) eventually overturns Act
•First major challenge to free press in America, end of sedition as a law in America, didn’t come back until 1918
Penny Press
-The Sun published by Benjamin Day was the first
-Charged a penny a day, people didn’t have to subscribe
-Many people could afford it every day, but still not the security of subscribers
-By going down market- appealing to middling/lower/laboring classes in NY without a lot of individual money, but there are many of them
-local news (things the audience would be interested in every day), advertisements
-Uninterested in politics
-*Available to everyone, no longer luxury of educated/rich
Benjamin Day
-Publisher of The Sun, first of the penny papers
-“The Sun shines for all.” inclusion of lower/middle class workers- business model to sell to everybody, tap into previously untouched market & report on anything interesting
-Birth of reporting- decided to seek out info, listen to condos
-Employed first full-time reporter, first newsboy (newsie)
James Gordon Bennett
-Publisher of The Herald, another penny paper, rival of The Sun
-*Created a newspaper war/rivalry
Margaret Fuller
-Author, feminist, editor of magazine
-Transcendentalist
-Helped found and edit Transcendentalist magazine The Dial
-Became one of the first full-time female journalists for NY Tribune for Horace Greeley
-Wrote literary columns, feature stories
-1845- published Women in the 19th Century- feminist analysis
-Went to Italy, first woman to be foreign correspondent for newspaper; drowned on ship home
The Associated Press
-NYC 1846
-Wholesaler of news, serving the news business
-Not for profit corporation, cheap way of supplying fresh news to newspapers
-Set up as cooperative, owned by different institutions in news business
-Easy transmittal of info- would get news straight off the boat from Europe, share, and report
-*Fostered ideal of objectivity in the news- have to serve all these different masters
-*Grew to be the oldest, largest, most influential news gathering place in the world
Samuel F.B. Morse
-Received subsidy from Congress and built the first working telegraph line in America between Washington and Baltimore
-Invented hardware (telegraph key) and software (commands that turn it into a communications system)
-Morse code
“The Victorian Internet”
-Took advantage of electricity, reason for “first wiring” of the world, has since been wired several times
-Paves the way for the internet
-Still a few impediments: 1. didn’t go many places at all (all networks are more valuable as they become bigger) 2. person at the end of the telegraph key- humans make mistakes
-*By 1874, the world was almost universally connected for the first time in history, transmittal of information was faster
-*Civil War reports sent quickly over a long distance
-*New importance placed on conciseness- no longer space for Victorian (wordy) style- resulted in “hard news”
William Lloyd Garrison
-Journalist, ardent abolitionist, opponent of slavery (white man)
-Editor of “The Liberator”- an anti-slavery New England newspaper-unique in that it openly and unwaveringly called for the complete emancipation of slaves, the national mood had not caught up and idea was still considered “radical”
-Despite controversy, the publication remained an important part of American discourse through the Civil War
-Ideas: 1. immediate abolition 2. Civil rights 3. Non-violence
-*Attracted a respectable following and became one of the most visible anti-slavery advocates in American history
Ben Bache
-Journalist
-Grandson of Ben Franklin, worked in Philadelphia in his print shop
-Headed the openly Jeffersonian publication, the Philadelphia Aurora, which is notable for being some of the impulse behind the Alien and Sedition Acts.
-Dropped the word “Agricultural” from his paper’s full title and removed the motto – “Truth, Decency, Utility” – from the nameplate, and expanded the size of the paper’s pages
-The paper became increasingly polemical and promoted reforms in line with republican ideals
-Openly denounced Federalists- George Washington and John Adams
-Arrested after Alien and Sedition Acts
James Callendar
-Partisan journalist, scandal-monger, author of pamphlet that criticized British law and praised the revolution, also pamphlets that supported Jefferson and his allies
-Took on Hamilton, wrote he had been swindling money, in order to clear himself he had to confess affair with Renolds’ wife- blackmail money
-Spoils of office: Callendar goes to Jefferson, wants reward on behalf of his efforts, Jefferson says no, started rumor that Jefferson is having sex with slave
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