Final Exam: Question 1 – Newspapers

By: Greg Desimone

The first newspapers began during the early 1700s, printed to satisfy local news due to lack of transportation. Generally their contents remained highly political, and information aimed toward the upper class businessmen of the time. The next major step for papers came in the 1830s, facilitated by decreasing paper and production costs. Technological advancements in the printing press were the main reason for industry expansion. Changes in content came hand in hand with the growth. The idea of a permanent staff came to being, some of which were reporters that traveled all over to collect news. This increased the potential audience of a newspaper, boosting their reliability. More people began reading papers, creating a significant drop in political content than prior. This was done purposely by those in charge of the industry to acquire more customers. People most likely would not buy something if they don’t want to read it. Newspapers continuously expand with each new way to communicate. When invented, the telegraph was the quickest way to send a message, and those newspapers lacking one were at a disadvantage to the rest. Convergence begins to take place, and only the most intuitive papers use the telegraph early on as an advantage. Like a trend, convergence caught on, and the business model shifted to acquiring and publishing new news as quickly as possible. With every growing industry comes growth in capital, as the race for paper supremacy began. The business model changed, because what made a newspaper successful changed. Information was being communicated more efficiently every day, and soon everyone had the same stories. What truly mattered was promptness. Fast forward to today, and information reaches everyone more or less at the same time with innovation like the internet, television, and radio. The business model has changed yet again. This time, it’s about layout and organization, as well as readability. However, the quality of articles has remained constant since the beginning of newspapers.

Papers like the Baltimore Sun are still converging with new forms of technology. They currently use their website as a “one stop” click away from any information you might need as a Baltimore resident. They have an extremely organized site, with the ability to share any of the content through social media like Twitter & Facebook. A blog section allows users to begin their own discussions where contributors of the Sun often write back. They use these techniques and others in order to generate a sense of trust among its audience. With so many forms of media present in today’s society, we have the power to choose where we obtain our information. The Baltimore Sun clearly aims to become an easy and reliable source of news for the future.

Sources:

http://www.hcn.org/articles/rural-papers-doing-better-than-their-city-counterparts/the-growth-of-newspapers-across-the-us-1690-2011/

http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/how-newspaper-printing-changed-time

http://www.baltimoresun.com/

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