Journalism and Print Media

Journalism first came about in print, spreading the news to the public. Journalists would cover stories, or single news features, and that information would be collected into one publication released in certain time intervals, either daily, weekly, or less frequently. Print encompasses the entire world of newspapers, magazines, and even nonfiction books.

Print media was one of the first sources for journalists to spread the news to the public. It began with announcement bulletins that were carved in stone, wood, or metal and then placed publicly in Ancient Rome and Egypt. Eventually in China, the government began circulating news bulletins. The practice of handwritten news sheets was practiced not only in China, but in Europe as well, eventually evolving into the newspaper, magazine, and books.

Movable printing presses began to make print media infinitely easier. The technology was first invented in the 9th century in China by Bi Sheng, a Han Chinese printer. In the 1450, Johannes Gutenberg, a German printer and goldsmith, invented a mechanical movable printing device that would eventually change the face of printing all over the world. It helped establish an assembly-line style of book printing. As more methods of printing became accessible, journalists had different ways to release their work.

Newspapers

Newspapers were established after the printing presses came into play. Some of the earliest papers began in Europe in the 17th century and spread as the printing press did. The actual term "newspaper" started become common in the 17th century as well, mostly in Germany. The first English-language newspaper was published out of Amsterdam in 1620 and was followed by the first French newspaper in 1631. Soon, the sensation of the press and journalism would be spread to the world.

During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, newspapers were able to be more widely circulated thanks to advances in the printing process. The ability to print on both sides of the page at once allowed the papers to become cheaper and more widely available to the population. In 1814, London's The Times had a press that was able to make 1,100 impressions per minute. In 1830, the first penny press newspaper was released, appealing to a much larger audience and costing nearly one-sixth the price of other papers.

Eventually the printing process moved to the new Americas, causing the news to now be an international craze. In 1764, the Quebec Gazette was first printed and it still remains as one of the oldest published newspapers in North America. The first paper in South America was published in 1825. In 1690, Benjamin Harris published the first newspaper in the American colonies, even though there was only one copy before it was stopped by the government. Soon in 1704, The Boston News-Letter was allowed to be published and was circulated around the colonies. The first American daily was published in 1783.

When categorizing newspapers, there are several classifications they could fit in. Some are defined by their frequency, like dailies, weeklies, or even fortnightlies. There are some categorized by the geographical scope or distribution. This would include local papers, regionals, and nationals, like the Wall Street Journal or the International Herald Tribune. There are some classified by their subjects and the way they are printed, for example either online or print.

Due to the fluctuations in the industry, every individual newspaper has and will continue to face interesting times. The increase of online activity has actually decreased the steady need for a paper publication for most of the world. Most publications will likely incorporate a hybrid technique, mixing both print and web-based content. Some will even adapt solely to the Internet and get rid of print all together. This is causing journalism schools to change their content to adapt to the ever-changing industry. They are focusing more time on the Internet being a common circulation method for the news, understanding that the days of the newspaper may just be behind us.

Magazines

Magazines can either be printed or circulated electronically, providing a wide variety of content for regular subscribers. Journalists have been working with magazine and periodical publications for countless years, bringing a steady stream of information to the public on a regular schedule. Magazines are usually distributed either by mail, through bookstores, sold at newsstands, or distributed freely.

The first magazine was published in 1663 in Germany, focusing on philosophy and literature. Later in 1731, the first general-interest magazine, The Gentleman's Magazine, was published in London by Edward Cave. Cave was the first to coin the term "magazine". The longest running magazine, which is now a daily business newspaper, is Lloyd's List, which was founded in 1734.

Similar to newspapers, magazine publications are slowly turning to online rather than print. Subscription numbers in 2013 significantly declined for several of the top magazines across the United States. With the rise of online popularity, the need for print publications is rapidly waning.

Return to About Journalism.