Newspapers remain as primary source of information for people these days, despite the growing popularity of the Internet. It ranks third in a Pew Research survey conducted last 2010 following television and Internet.
But despite being a part of our daily life, little is known in the history of this material.
It all began 5 centuries ago. European merchants would hand out newsletters to people that contained information about the weather, wars, and other interesting stories. At the time, these newsletters were mostly written by hand. It wasn’t until the 1400s that the first newspaper was printed in Germany. It was created in the form of news pamphlets which often contained exaggerated contents.
America was way behind in newspaper creation. The first American newspaper called Publick Occurrences appeared in 1690 in Boston. However, printing of this newspaper was immediately restrained due to unauthorized publication. It remained forgotten since then until in 1845 when a copy of the newspaper was found in the British Library.
In 1704, the Boston News-Letter was created and became the first successful newspaper in America. Later on, two new papers were introduced in Philadelphia and New York, and when the Revolutionary War started, there were already two dozen papers issued at all colonies.
During that time, printing newspapers was a long and arduous task. The invention of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg in 1450, however, changed that, and the printing task was shortened. Still, it remained laborious since rearrangement of the letters was required when a new page needed to be printed.
Years later, in the early 1800s, the Gutenberg press was enhanced with the use of steam-powered press. This made the process more cost-efficient, thus, the term “penny press”. In 1884, the linotype press was introduced making the printing process much quicker. A decade or more later, computers were introduced that led to newspaper printing becoming much more advanced.
There may be a threat to publishing newspapers these days, but one truth shall remain: newspapers have helped shaped the printing and publication history.