Ink-on-Paper Industries

Study Preview Newspaper circulation peaked in 1984. Not long thereafter, though, the decline of newspapers as a major influence in daily life became evident. A sharp drop in market penetration crippled the industry. Magazines, as an ink-on-paper medium, also saw some attrition in readership, but fared better overall than newspapers. Only the book industry has held its ground and appears to be well-positioned for the future. This is, in part, because book publishing has never relied on advertising revenue as heavily as newspapers and magazines. Also, although the book industry has been able to comfortably transition to Internet delivery, and e-books have grown in popularity, many people still prefer to read offline.

Learning Objectives By the end of this module you will be able to:

  1. 5.3.1 Explain the decline of the U.S. newspaper industry
  2. 5.3.2 Outline the history of the magazine industry
  3. 5.3.3 Analyze how book industry sales changed over time

5.3.1 Newspapers 1. Objective: Explain the decline of the U.S. newspaper industry

Newspapers grew in importance in the lives of generations of readers of Benjamin Day’s New York Sun and through the rest of the 1800s. What was reported in newspapers was what people talked about. What wasn’t reported generally didn’t have alternate avenues into public dialogue. This relates to agenda setting—the way in which journalists and their editors determine which stories get into the news and which don’t. It has been an integral part of journalism in Day’s era through the


Political candidates sought editorial endorsements. Some politicians or their parties took out paid ads to call attention to their position on certain issues. Advertisers crammed newspapers with ads. The demand for ad space exploded in the penny press era and thereafter. Not only was there an abundance of manufactured goods on the market, but advertisers wanted to distinguish their products from those of their competitors. Product differentiation led to brand identification. Substantially more money was spent on ads, and it was not unusual in the newspaper industry’s heyday to see 5-pound Sunday editions in major cities.

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