United States

Mass Media in the United States


From the earliest beginnings in Boston in 1690, the American press has developed into a major industry, and in the United States more newspapers and magazines are published than in any other country. There are approx. 11,000 different magazines and magazines in the United States; about. 1450 daily newspapers with a total circulation of 55.2 million (2004). The number of Sunday newspapers is approx. 917; total Sunday circulation 58.5 million (2003) There were approx. 6,700 weekly newspapers (2003). From the 1990’s onwards, there has been a tendency for the number of daily newspapers to fall, while the number of Sunday newspapers has increased somewhat. However, circulations for both types have fallen and continue to fall.

The daily press is mainly regional, but the New York Times launched a national edition in 1980, and two years later the popular newspaper USA Today was launched as a nationwide newspaper. Later, the Wall Street Journal also became nationwide with editions in several places. The leading newspapers are major morning newspapers in the major cities, but most are without nationwide distribution. Well-regarded quality newspapers include: New York Times (circulation approx. 1.1 million 2004), Washington Post (approximately 707,600), Los Angeles Times (902,100 million) and Wall Street Journal (approximately 2.1 million). The country’s largest newspaper is USA Today (about 2.2 million).

The “popular” part of the daily press, the so-called super market tabloids, does not make up as much of the press image as in many other countries. These newspapers compete more directly with television.

Television’s ingestion (seriously around 1950), incidentally, did not lead to the newspaper death that many feared. But in recent years, increased production costs have created major financial problems for many newspapers. This has resulted in merging of newspapers and newspaper groups, a concentration in the American press that has given the large publishing groups and newspaper chains increased power. 60% of the newspaper circulation (1992) consists of newspapers published by the 20 largest press groups. Well-known groups are EW Scripps, Knight-Knight, New York Times Co., Hearst Corpn., Gannett Co Inc and Tribune Publishing. After 2000, competition from the Internet has become noticeable in the American press as well, not least this applies to the advertising market. The development and content of the daily press.

It was Benjamin Harris’s book print that in 1690 in Boston published a print that is considered the precursor to the modern American press. He called it Publick Occurances Both Forreign and Domestick and announced a number once a month – or more often if something of interest occurred. But Harris, who had fled England, where he had spent some time in prison after publishing a rambunctious pamphlet, also had no luck with the New World. He had not secured the government’s permission to publish his magazine, and so the governor intervened and stopped it. Harris was sentenced to both prison and gap. It took 14 years before a new magazine saw the light of day. It was published by bookseller and postmaster John Campbell under the name News-Letter in Boston. In 1719, News-Letter gained a competitor in William Brooker’s Boston Gazette. It was in it that Benjamin Franklin, as a 13-year-old, began as a teaching boy in the printing press. Nine years later, he was the owner of the Philadelphia Gazette in Pennsylvania and made a fortune on it, before selling it in 1766.

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Other newspapers were founded around the British colonies in America; but they were all weekly magazines. The first daily newspaper, the New York Daily Advertiser, began to appear in 1785, and several followed, among others. Pennsylvania Daily Advertiser. Initially, they contained little real local news. Initially, they aimed to inform merchants about ship calls in New York and Philadelphia. The merchants had so far been referred to lookups in the coffee houses when they wanted to inform themselves about the import possibilities. Otherwise, local reports had little of this. Their readers were also most interested in what was happening “at home” in England, so English newspapers were diligently cut. But the revolution, detachment and the years that followed were a real challenge for the New World press. The newspapers had to focus on satisfying the reader’s interest in political issues, and articles on social problems gradually gained a wider place. Typical party newspapers emerged such as the Gazette of The United States (1789-1818), which was the federalists’ speech tube, and the Philadelphia General Advertiser – better known as Aurora, which was the Jefferson Republican’s fighting body.

United States

In the 1830’s a new type of newspapers emerged. Instead of the relatively expensive large-format newspapers, cheaper tabloid newspapers were made. The first successful product of this so-called penny press was the New York Sun. It was founded in 1833 by Benjamin H. Day. In the New York Sun, the news was the most important; politics came second. It concentrated on a realistic journalistic representation of everyday life, and it formed a school. Following the New York Sun followed newspapers that are big names in the history of the American press: the New York Herald (1835), the Baltimore Sun (1837), the New York Tribune (1841), the New York Times (1851). In particular, the New York Herald under James Gordon Bennett’s dynamic leadership was a pioneer of modern journalism. He not only put the greatest emphasis on current reporting on US conditions, but also allowed “flying correspondents” to go out into the world to bring foreign affairs to their newspaper. His dispatch of Stanley to Africa to look for Livingstone was then a unique journalistic feat, which attracted worldwide attention.

The second half of the 19th century was not only journalistic a rich and moving time for American newspapers. Their circulation rose sharply, and across the continent there were more and more newspapers. It was a development that was linked to the rapid expansion of American society, with improved communications, with the settlement in the west, with rising population and living standards and with technical improvements in newspaper production. During these years, both the rotary press and the setter were used. But there was also a period when the competition between the newspapers became sharper and more reckless. The so-called yellow press replaced the penny press. Two names are inextricably linked to this type of newspaper: Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. At the turn of the century, they were America’s undisputed “newspaper kings.” They ran a fierce competition with New York World newspapers, acquired by Pulitzer in 1883, and Journal American, which Hearst took over in 1895. These two became the prototype of newspapers that used all means to bring their readers sensational content about people’s privacy, crimes and sex. The fierce competition also led to the formation of chains – chains of newspapers on one man’s hands. They were run as separate units and could often fight each other in leadership positions. The owners were usually little interested in what their newspapers thought; decisive was whether they were good business. This commercialization of the American press has continued to this day.

American newspapers live on ads and loose sales, making them vulnerable to competition from the Internet, where their own websites with free classifieds adversely affect the newspapers’ finances. The subscription scheme is not widely used. The content of newspapers is highly variable; The American press is a mix of well-known quality newspapers, medium-quality newspapers and clean dirt organs.

Two world wars have increased interest in international affairs, and the leading newspapers have built up a large network of correspondents, but most newspapers leave opinions on what is happening outside the United States – and to a large extent also on national politics – to columnists, columnists. They are “syndicated”, that is, their views are sold to a number of newspapers. The columnists often have different opinions, and it is not unusual for them to stand side by side in the same newspaper. This is a form of disagreement typical of the American press. There are columnists of all categories, from serious writers who deal only with politics and social issues to more easy-going journalists who concentrate on gossip in Hollywood. Nestor among the columnists was Walter Lippmann for many years.

American press has little connection to parties. Only a few of the big ones trying to act as national newspapers can be taken to income for Democratic or Republican views. It is the people more than the parties that determine the political attitude of the newspapers. The press is also unable to influence popular opinion to the extent that this can happen in other democratic societies. It has e.g. On several occasions, presidential candidates who have had most of the press against them have nevertheless received the most votes.

Two of the world’s largest and most effective news agencies, the Associated Press and United Press International, belong in the United States. They, like their customers, have newspapers all over the globe.

The many nationality groups that have populated the United States have led to a need for newspapers in their languages. Several of them are published in German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Hebrew. See also Norwegian-American press.


American magazine press is rich and varied and mostly of high quality. Among the large and well-known are the news magazines Time (circulation 4.03 million 2004), Newsweek (3.1 million) and US News & World Report (2.0 million). The other magazine flora in print edition includes such diverse titles as National Geographic Magazine (5.5 million), Ladies’ Home Journal (4.1 million), Playboy (3.0 million) and Reader’s Digest (10.1 million).). The most widely used US magazine is AARP The Magazine; it is published in 22.6 million copies. Originally, this member magazine was for a retirement organization (American Association of Retired Persons), but the organization is now open to anyone over 50, and the magazine covers a wide range of topics for older people; it comes out every other month.

Radio and television

Regular radio broadcasts began in the United States on a private basis in 1920. Television broadcasts began on an experimental basis as early as the 1920’s; in 1950, almost a hundred stations were in operation and there were six million television receivers. By 1970, approx. 95% of all homes in the United States are equipped with a television set. The United States is now the world’s largest market for communications and broadcasting. The country has the world’s highest density of radio and television sets per head. In 2002, there were 10,965 commercial radio stations with licenses, there were radios in 99% of all households and each household had an average of 5.6 radios each (2000). There were an estimated 254 million television sets in use and there were 9339 cable television systems in operation, with approx. 85.5 million subscribers. In 2002, 91.2% of television owners had video machines.

Commercial broadcast

Electronic services are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (created in 1934), which sets minimum standards for standards and issues licenses. The radio and television business is mainly commercial, financed through advertising. There are three major national broadcasters (networks): American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and National Broadcasting Company (NBC); each has a network of local stations. These are independent stations that “subscribe” to certain national programs on the networks (e.g. news, drama series, etc.), especially at prime time in the evening (prime time), but otherwise broadcast their own, local programs. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Television has built itself up as a new network from the late 1980’s.

There are also a large number of cable companies. Among them is Cable News Network (CNN), which also has an international news service aimed at the world, ESPN, which specializes in sports, C-SPAN, which sends political reports, especially from Congress, and MTV, which targets youth with their music programs.

There are thousands of radio stations, most with strong local character. There is a high degree of specialization in the program offering, and in the last few decades a great number of stations have been targeted at special ethnic groups.

Non-commercial broadcast

The Broadcasting Corporation Corporation for Public Broadcasting is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, grants, etc. and from the business community, and also receives support from the federal government. The company invests in information programs and high-quality entertainment programs through the radio company National Public Radio (NPR) and the television company Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). These companies provide programs to a network of independent local stations in the states. Both PBS and NPR work closely with universities and colleges and provide academic courses to home students. American Public Radio is a smaller, non-commercial network headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, which also offers programs for a network of hundreds of stations throughout the United States.