Differentiating Print Media Major ink-on-paper media have distinctive characteristics, albeit with some blurring crossovers.
Books Magazines Newspapers Binding Stitched or glued Stapled Unbound Regularity Single issue At least quarterly At least weekly Content Single topic Diverse topics Diverse topics Timeliness Generally not timely Generally timely Timeliness critical
5.1.2 Transformation of Print Industries 1. Objective: Outline the factors contributing to the industrial revolution
The earliest newspapers were thin sheets, rarely published more often than weekly, with a lean mix of more or less current information. They were a sideline of hardworking printers trying to scrape together an extra sixpence here and there to make ends meet. There were no newspaper companies. No publishers. No reporters. No attempt at a comprehensive account of events.
The transition of newspapers from a print shop sideline into a major industry is no better illustrated than in New York City. A near-penniless 23-year-old printer, Ben Day, set up shop in 1833—just another craftsman hoping for enough printing jobs to pay the rent. Business was slow. With time on his hands, Day began a little handbill of brief news items with some human interest content. Day printed 1,000 copies. The tiny paper, four pages of three columns of type, sold well at a penny a copy. So Day decided to keep it going. In three years, Day’s New York Sun had never-before-seen daily sales of 20,000. In a sense, Day had discovered the mass audience. As with any successful entrepreneur, Day had imitators. The era became known as the Penny Press Period.
When Benjamin Day launched the New York Sun in 1833 and sold it for
one cent a copy, he ushered in an era of cheap newspapers that anyone could afford. Mass media today have many of the Sun’s pioneering concepts. These include content that interests a wide range of readers, a financial base in advertising, and easy access.
5.1-2 Full Alternative Text
While Day was first to succeed with this new style newspaper, it may have been more luck than genius. For sure, without several social and economic factors, all upshots of the Industrial Revolution, neither newspapers nor magazines or books wouldn have taken form when they did.
Factors Contributing to the Industrial Revolution
Industrialization. With new steam-powered presses, hundreds of copies an hour could be printed. Earlier Gutenberg-style presses had been hand-operated.
Urbanization. Workers flocked to cities to work in new factories, creating a great pool of potential newspaper readers for easy same-day delivery. Until this urbanization of the 1820s and 1830s, the U.S. population had been almost wholly agricultural and scattered across the countryside.
Immigration. Waves of immigrants arrived from impoverished parts of Europe. Most were non-English speakers who were eager to learn the American language. These immigrants found that Day’s Sun, a bargain at a penny copy, was not only affordable but also a good tutor with a simple, direct writing style.
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