Welcome back to our series on the newspaper! I want be very clear and transparent today: most of my research for this post comes from Wikipedia. It turns out that if you click on the links in the "Footnotes" section of an article, they take you to wonderful resources full of tons of great information! OK, to the point of this post: the history of the newspaper.
The modern newspaper as you and I know it was developed on the European continent in the 1500s. Single sheets of paper were passed around the streets of Venice known as “gazettes” and you should definitely click here to read the history of this word because it is fascinating. It wasn’t until 1609 that the modern version of the newspaper came into being and then it wasn’t until the 1830s that newspapers were being distributed widely. We can thank Johannes Gutenberg for inventing the printing press with movable type, because who knows how long it would’ve been before we got to where we are now! Famous people who ran/knew how to operate printing presses include Benjamin Franklin, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and the father of the most common printing press ever, George Phineas Gordon. He is responsible for developing a press that was quick and easy to use, thus advancing the trade and making it more available to a broader range of people.
The first unofficial newspaper ever printed in the United States came in 1690 but Benjamin Harris got shut down real fast by the British government. Word on the street is he was printing “fake news.” It wasn’t until 1704 that the British government allowed a very censored and controlled newspaper to be published on a consistent basis with very British-centric news and opinions. 1783 is when the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first official daily American paper.
One important thing you should know before we wrap this up is that North American newspapers have almost always been part of the political spectrum. Go read the top section of this Wikipedia article and you will see that political parties have always been using the press to influence voters opinions! Politicians tampering with the press in 2018 is old news.
Next week I’ll talk about some good memories I have growing up reading the newspaper. See you then!
- written by David Baral, illustrated by Ryan Klein, 2018