While many people may operate under the impression that there are differences between various television channels and newspaper with one showing better content than another, the reality is that, with recent trends toward consolidation, many media outlets operate under the same corporate umbrella.
Consider the example of Gannett Corporation. Frank Gannett started small. In 1906, Gannett and a few associates pooled enough money to buy a half interest in the
Elmira, New York, Gazette. Things went well. Soon they added nearby small-town papers. Eventually they created the Empire State group of dailies and moved the headquarters to Rochester. Gradually more papers were added. Today Gannett owns 90 dailies, and nearly 1,000 newspapers, coast-to-coast, including USA Today. The company also owns 300 dailies in Britain and newspapers in five other countries. Holdings also include 22 television stations. Along the way, Gannett has been in and out of radio, billboards, magazines, polling, job placement, and other related enterprises.
The Gannett story is also that of Big Business—of a conglomeration. Somebody began with a concept, and a willingness to take on risk and success begat growth, where a single entity became two, then three. In Gannett’s case, the Elmira Gazette grew into a newspaper chain, then a full-blown media conglomerate with dozens of subsidiaries.
Giant media operations don’t just burst forth into the marketplace. To many Americans, Rupert Murdoch may have appeared on the media scene rather suddenly. There he was, previously a relatively obscure Australian, in control of Fox television, movie studios, newspapers, books, magazines, and home-delivery satellite television. Murdoch began with a relatively small inheritance—a single newspaper in Adelaide, Australia—and made several wise business decisions that ultimately led to his media empire that includes the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Fox Channel, 20th Century Fox films, and his British newspaper holdings, all operating under his multinational mass media corporation and parent company News Corporation (often called News Corp).
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