The History of Journalism
From the earliest forms of communication to the rise of the internet, the history of journalism has been an ever-changing landscape. Long before the advent of the printing press, humanity has been able to communicate with one another and keep records of important events. Journalism is a vital part of modern life and can be credited with much of the information people have access to. The ability to communicate and share information allows people to form opinions and set agendas for the future. From the earliest printed newspaper to the current age of citizen journalism, this article will explore the history of journalism and how it has evolved over time.
The emergence of journalism during the Printing Revolution
The proliferation of the printing press in the 15th century revolutionised the way people communicated and quickly changed the dynamic of news-gathering and dissemination. The Gutenberg press made it much easier to mass-produce newspapers and allowed information to spread rapidly. This allowed for the emergence of a new and highly influential form of media: journalism. The first newspapers were published in Germany in 1609 and spread to other European countries shortly after. These papers were primarily used to report on current events and discuss political issues of the day. The reliable, up-to-date information provided by newspapers had a significant impact on the political conversation of the time.
The Revolutionary War and the Emergence of American Journalism
The American Revolutionary War saw the emergence of the first American newspapers. This included the publication of the first major American newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, which was founded in 1730 by Benjamin Franklin. This sparked an explosion of similar newspapers across the country and was an important moment in the history of American journalism. During this time, newspapers were the only way people could access vital information about political, social and economic events, making them hugely influential.
The Industrial Revolution and the Expansion of Journalism
As the Industrial Revolution began to shape society, journalism was positioned for even more growth. The demand for reliable news and entertainment saw newspaper sales soar. Journalists used new technology to improve their methods of production, often travelling great distances in order to report the news as it happened. This also allowed newspapers to go further than simply reporting on national events. Increasingly, newspapers were able to report on international events and discuss issues that had global implications. Journalism had become an integral part of society.
The Boom of Yellow Journalism
The late 19th century saw the emergence of what became known as ‘yellow journalism’. Often sensationalist and exaggerated, this period saw newspapers become increasingly biased and focused on catch-phrases and headlines rather than facts. This eroded the faith of many in the media and led to the Media Trust Movement. This saw trade associations established to promote ethics and truth in the media. This movement was a key factor in the evolution of journalism and led to the rise of modern investigative journalism.
The Rise of Radio and Television Broadcasting
The 20th century saw a massive shift in journalism with the introduction of radio and television broadcasting. This allowed for the wide spread of news and information to people in remote locations, meaning that news was no longer limited to those who had access to newspapers. Radio and television broadcasting rapidly replaced newspapers as the go-to source for news, leading to a rapid decline in newspaper circulation. This shift in media saw the emergence of more modern news interviews and discussions as well as the introduction of news pundits.
The Emergence of Online Journalism
The internet has changed the landscape of journalism in countless ways. The rise of online journalism has seen news that was once tightly guarded now freely available to anyone with an internet connection. This has allowed for great communication and information-sharing across the globe. The emergence of social media has allowed for individuals to become media sources themselves and make unfiltered news available to the masses. This has led to the rise of what is known as citizen journalism.
Citizen journalism is a rapidly evolving form of journalism that is quickly gaining traction. It is based on the idea of individuals creating their own news sources and providing content to the public without having to go through traditional media channels. This has allowed people to discuss and share news in an unprecedented way and gives them a much larger platform to reach a wider audience. Citizen journalism is an important factor in the current media landscape and its influence is only continuing to grow.
The history of journalism is a long and winding one that is still evolving today. At its core, journalism is about providing reliable and accurate information to the public. From the earliest days of newspapers to the current age of citizen journalism, the media landscape has continued to expand and mature. Journalism has been and will continue to be an important factor in society for generations to come.