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A newspaper is a regularly scheduled publication containing news, information, and advertising. By 2007 there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world (including 1456 in the U.S.) selling 395 million copies a day (55 million in the U.S). The worldwide recession of 2008, combined with the rapid growth of web-based alternatives, caused a serious decline in advertising and circulation, as many papers closed or sharply retrenched operations.
General-interest newspapers typically publish stories on local and national political events and personalities, crime, business, entertainment, society and sports. Most traditional papers also feature an editorial page containing editorials written by an editor and columns that express the personal opinions of writers. Other features include display and classified advertising, comics, and inserts from local merchants.
The newspaper is typically funded by paid subscriptions and advertising.
A wide variety of material has been published in newspapers, including editorial opinions, criticism, persuasion and op-eds; obituaries; entertainment features such as crosswords, sudoku and horoscopes; weather news and forecasts; advice, food and other columns; reviews of movies, plays and restaurants; classified ads; display ads, editorial cartoons and comic strips.
Before the invention of newspapers in the early 17th century, official government bulletins were circulated at times in some centralized empires.
In China, early government-produced news sheets, called tipao, circulated among court officials during the late Han dynasty (second and third centuries AD). Between 713 and 734, the Kaiyuan Za Bao ("Bulletin of the Court") of the Chinese Tang Dynasty published government news; it was handwritten on silk and read by government officials. In 1582 there was the first reference to privately published newssheets in Beijing, during the late Ming Dynasty;
In Early modern Europe the increased cross-border interaction created a rising need for information which was met by concise handwritten newssheets. In 1556, the government of Venice first published the monthly Notizie scritte, which cost one gazetta. These avvisi were handwritten newsletters and used to convey political, military, and economic news quickly and efficiently to Italian cities (1500â€“1700) â€” sharing some characteristics of newspapers though usually not considered true newspapers.
However, none of these publications fully met the classical criteria for proper newspapers, as they were typically not intended for the general public and restricted to a certain range of topics.
The German-language Relation aller FÃ¼rnemmen und gedenckwÃ¼rdigen Historien, printed from 1605 onwards by Johann Carolus in Strasbourg, is often recognized as the first newspaper. At the time, Strasbourg was a free imperial city in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation; the first newspaper of modern Germany was the Avisa, published in 1609 in WolfenbÃ¼ttel.
Other early papers include:
The Dutch Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt, &c. of 1618 was the first to appear in folio- rather than quarto-size. Amsterdam, a center of world trade, quickly became home to newspapers in many languages, often before they were published in their own country.
The first English-language newspaper, Corrant out of Italy, Germany, etc., was published in Amsterdam in 1620. A year and a half later, Corante, or weekely newes from Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Bohemia, France and the Low Countreys. was published in England by an "N.B." (generally thought to be either Nathaniel Butter or Nicholas Bourne) and Thomas Archer.
Opregte Haarlemsche Courant from Haarlem, first published in 1656, is the oldest paper still printed. It was forced to merge with the newspaper Haarlems Dagblad in 1942 when Germany occupied the Netherlands. Since then the Haarlems Dagblad appears with the subtitle Oprechte Haerlemse Courant 1656 and considers itself to be the oldest newspaper still publishing.
In Boston in 1690, Benjamin Harris published Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick. This is considered the first newspaper in the American colonies even though only one edition was published before the paper was suppressed by the government. In 1704, the governor allowed The Boston News-Letter to be published and it became the first continuously published newspaper in the colonies. Soon after, weekly papers began publishing in New York and Philadelphia. These early newspapers followed the British format and were usually four pages long. They mostly carried news from Britain and content depended on the editorâ€™s interests. In 1783, the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first American daily.
By the early 19th century, many cities in Europe, as well as North and South America, published newspaper-type publications though not all of them developed in the same way; content was vastly shaped by regional and cultural preferences. Advances in printing technology related to the Industrial Revolution enabled newspapers to become an even more widely circulated means of communication. In 1814, The Times (London) acquired a printing press capable of making 1,100 impressions per minute.
Soon, it was adapted to print on both sides of a page at once. This innovation made newspapers cheaper and thus available to a larger part of the population. In 1830, the first penny press newspaper came to the market: Lynde M. Walter's Boston Transcript. Penny press papers cost about one sixth the price of other newspapers and appealed to a wider audience. In France, Ã‰mile de Girardin started "La Presse" in 1836, introducing cheap, advertising-supported dailies to France. In 1848, August Zang, an Austrian who knew Girardin in Paris, returned to Vienna to introduce the same methods with "Die Presse" (which was named for and frankly copied Girardin's publication).
By the late 1990s the availability of news via 24-hour television channels and then the Internet posed an ongoing challenge to the business model of most newspapers in developed countries. Paid circulation has declined, while advertising revenue â€” which makes up the bulk of most newspapersâ€™ income â€” has been shifting from print to the new media, resulting in a general decline in profits. Many newspapers around the world launched online editions in an attempt to follow or stay ahead of their audience.
However, in the rest of the world, cheaper printing and distribution, increased literacy, the growing middle class and other factors have more than compensated for the emergence of electronic media and newspapers continue to grow.
On April 10, 1995,The American Reporter became the first daily newspaper, with its own paid reporters around the world and all-original content, to start on the Internet. The Editor-in-Chief and founder is Joe Shea. The site is owned by 400 journalists.
While most newspapers are aimed at a broad spectrum of readers, usually geographically defined, some focus on groups of readers defined more by their interests than their location: for example, there are daily and weekly business newspapers and sports newspapers. More specialist still are some weekly newspapers, usually free and distributed within limited areas; these may serve communities as specific as certain immigrant populations, or the local gay community.
A daily newspaper is issued every day, sometimes with the exception of Sundays and some national holidays. Saturday and, where they exist, Sunday editions of daily newspapers tend to be larger, include more specialized sections and advertising inserts, and cost more. Typically, the majority of these newspapersâ€™ staff work Monday to Friday, so the Sunday and Monday editions largely depend on content done in advance or content that is syndicated. Most daily newspapers are published in the morning. Afternoon or evening papers are aimed more at commuters and office workers.
Weekly newspapers are common and tend to be smaller than daily papers. In some cases, there also are newspapers that are published twice or three times a week. In the United States, such newspapers are generally still classified as weeklies.
Most nations have at least one newspaper that circulates throughout the whole country: a national newspaper, as contrasted with a local newspaper serving a city or region. In the United Kingdom, there are numerous national newspapers, including The Independent, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Express and The Daily Mirror. In the United States and Canada, there are few national newspapers. Almost every market has one or two newspapers that dominate the area. Certain newspapers, notably The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today in the US, and The Globe and Mail and The National Post in Canada are available throughout the country. In India, newspapers like the Times of India, The Hindu, and the Hindustan Times are extremely popular and have large reader bases. Large metropolitan newspapers have also expanded distribution networks and with effort can be found outside their normal area.
There is also a small group of newspapers which may be characterized as international newspapers. Some, such as The International Herald Tribune, have always had that focus, while others are repackaged national newspapers or "international editions" of national-scale or large metropolitan newspapers. Often these international editions are scaled down to remove articles that might not interest the wider range of readers.
As English became the international language of business and technology, many newspapers formerly published only in non-English languages have also developed English-language editions. In places as varied as Jerusalem and Mumbai, newspapers are printed to a local and international English-speaking public. The advent of the Internet has also allowed the non-English newspapers to put out a scaled-down English version to give their newspaper a global outreach.
Virtually all printed newspapers have online editions, which depending on the country may be regulated by journalism organizations such as the Press Complaints Commission in the UK. But as some publishers find their print-based models increasingly unsustainable, Web-based "newspapers" have also started to appear, such as the Southport Reporter in the UK and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which stopped publishing in print after 149 years in March 2009 and went online only.
A new trend in newspaper publishing is the instroduction of individualization through on-demand printing technonlogies. Customized newspapers allow the reader to create their individual newspaper through the selection of individual pages from multiple publications. This "Best of" approach allows to revive the print-based model and openes up a new distribution channel to increase coverage beneath the usual boundaries of distribution.
In the United States, the overall manager or chief executive of the newspaper is the publisher. In small newspapers, the owner of the publication (or the largest shareholder in the corporation that owns the publication) is usually the publisher. Although he or she rarely or perhaps never writes stories, the publisher is legally responsible for the contents of the entire newspaper and also runs the business, including hiring editors, reporters, and other staff members. This title is less common outside the U.S. The equivalent position in the film industry and television news shows is the executive producer.
Most newspapers have four main departments devoted to publishing the newspaper itselfâ€”editorial, production/printing, circulation, and advertising, although they are frequently referred to by a variety of other namesâ€”as well as the non-newspaper-specific departments also found in other businesses of comparable size, such as accounting, marketing, human resources, and IT.
Throughout the English-speaking world, the person who selects the content for the newspaper is usually referred to as the editor. Variations on this title such as editor-in-chief, executive editor, and so on are common. For small newspapers, a single editor may be responsible for all content areas. At large newspapers, the most senior editor is in overall charge of the publication, while less senior editors may each focus on one subject area, such as local news or sports. These divisions are called news bureaus or "desks", and each is supervised by a designated editor. Most newspaper editors copy edit the stories for their part of the newspaper, but they may share their workload with proofreaders and fact-checkers.
Reporters are journalists who primarily report facts that they have gathered. Reporters writing longer, less news-oriented articles may be called feature writers. Photographers and graphic artists provide images and illustrations to support articles. Journalists often specialize in a subject area, called a beat, such as sports, religion, or science. Columnists are journalists who write regular articles recounting their personal opinions and experiences.
Printers and press operators physically print the newspaper. Printing is outsourced by many newspapers, partly because of the cost of an offset web press (the most common kind of press used to print newspapers) and also because a small newspaper's print run might require less than an hour of operation, meaning that if the newspaper had its own press it would sit idle most of the time. If the newspaper offers information online, webmasters and web designers may be employed to upload stories to the newspaper's website.
The staff of the circulation department liaise with retailers who sell the newspaper; sell subscriptions; and supervise distribution of the printed newspapers through the mail, by newspaper carriers, at retailers, and through vending machines. Free newspapers do not sell subscriptions, but they still have a circulation department responsible for distributing the newspapers.
Sales staff in the advertising department not only sell space to clients such as local businesses, but also help advertisers design and plan their advertising campaigns. Other members of the advertising department may include graphic designers, who design ads according to the customers' specifications and the department's policies. In an advertising-free newspaper, there is no advertising department.
Newspapers often refine distribution of ads and news through zoning and editioning. Zoning occurs when advertising and editorial content change to reflect the location to which the product is delivered. The editorial content often may change merely to reflect changes in advertising â€” the quantity and layout of which affects the space available for editorial â€” or may contain region-specific news. In rare instances, the advertising may not change from one zone to another, but there will be different region-specific editorial content. As the content can vary widely, zoned editions are often produced in parallel.
Editioning occurs in the main sections as news is updated throughout the night. The advertising is usually the same in each edition (with the exception of zoned regionals, in which it is often the â€˜Bâ€™ section of local news that undergoes advertising changes). As each edition represents the latest news available for the next press run, these editions are produced linearly, with one completed edition being copied and updated for the next edition. The previous edition is always copied to maintain a Newspaper of Record and to fall back on if a quick correction is needed for the press. For example, both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal offer a regional edition, printed through a local contractor, and featuring locale specific content. The Journalâ€™s global advertising rate card provides a good example of editioning.
Most modern newspapers are in one of three sizes:
Newspapers are usually printed on cheap, off-white paper known as newsprint. Since the 1980s, the newspaper industry has largely moved away from lower-quality letterpress printing to higher-quality, four-color process, offset printing. In addition, desktop computers, word processing software, graphics software, digital cameras and digital prepress and typesetting technologies have revolutionized the newspaper production process. These technologies have enabled newspapers to publish color photographs and graphics, as well as innovative layouts and better design.
To help their titles stand out on newsstands, some newspapers are printed on coloured newsprint. For example, the Financial Times is printed on a distinctive salmon pink paper, and Sheffieldâ€™s weekly sports publication derives its name, the Green â€™Un, from the traditional colour of its paper. The Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is also printed on pink paper while L'Ã‰quipe (formerly Lâ€™Auto) is printed on yellow paper. Both the latter promoted major cycling races and their newsprint colours were reflected in the colours of the jerseys used to denote the race leader; for example the leader in the Giro d'Italia wears a pink jersey.
The number of copies distributed, either on an average day or on particular days (typically Sunday), is called the newspaperâ€™s circulation and is one of the principal factors used to set advertising rates. Circulation is not necessarily the same as copies sold, since some copies or newspapers are distributed without cost. Readership figures may be higher than circulation figures because many copies are read by more than one person, although this is offset by the number of copies distributed but not read (especially for those distributed free).
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the daily circulation of the Soviet newspaper Trud exceeded 21,500,000 in 1990, while the Soviet weekly Argumenty i Fakty boasted the circulation of 33,500,000 in 1991.
According to United Nations data from 1995 Japan has three daily papers â€”the Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, and Mainichi Shimbun â€” with circulations well above 5.5 million. Germanyâ€™s Bild, with a circulation of 3.8 million, was the only other paper in that category.
In the United Kingdom, The Sun is the top seller, with around 3.24 million copies distributed daily.
In India, The Times of India is the largest-circulation English newspaper, with 3.14 million copies daily. According to the 2009 Indian Readership Survey, the Dainik Jagran is the most-read, local-language (Hindi) newspaper, with 55.7 million readers.
In the U.S., the Wall Street Journal has a daily circulation of approximately 2.01 million, making it the most widely distributed paper in the country.
A common measure of a newspaperâ€™s health is market penetration, expressed as a percentage of households that receive a copy of the newspaper against the total number of households in the paperâ€™s market area. In the 1920s, on a national basis in the U.S., daily newspapers achieved market penetration of 123 percent (meaning the average U.S. household received 1.23 newspapers). As other media began to compete with newspapers, and as printing became easier and less expensive giving rise to a greater diversity of publications, market penetration began to decline. It wasnâ€™t until the early 1970s, however, that market penetration dipped below 100 percent. By 2000, it was 53 percent.
Many paid-for newspapers offer a variety of subscription plans. For example, someone might want only a Sunday paper, or perhaps only Sunday and Saturday, or maybe only a workweek subscription, or perhaps a daily subscription.
Most newspapers provide some or all of their content on the Internet, either at no cost or for a fee. In some cases, free access is available only for a matter of days or weeks, after which readers must register and provide personal data. In other cases, free archives are provided.
A newspaper typically generates 70â€“80% of its revenue from advertising, and the remainder from sales and subscriptions. The portion of the newspaper that is not advertising is called editorial content, editorial matter, or simply editorial, although the last term is also used to refer specifically to those articles in which the newspaper and its guest writers express their opinions. (This distinction, however, developed over time â€“ early publishers like Girardin (France) and Zang (Austria) did not always distinguish paid items from editorial content.)
Newspapers have been hurt by the decline of many traditional advertisers. Department stores and supermarkets could be relied upon in the past to buy pages of newspaper advertisements, but due to industry consolidation are much less likely to do so now. Additionally, newspapers are seeing traditional advertisers shift to new media platforms. The classified category is shifting to sites including craigslist, employment websites, and auto sites. National advertisers are shifting to many types of digital content including websites, rich media platforms, and mobile.
In recent years, the advertorial emerged. Advertorials are most commonly recognized as an opposite-editorial which third-parties pay a fee to have included in the paper. Advertorials commonly advertise new products or techniques, such as a new design for golf equipment, a new form of laser surgery, or weight-loss drugs. The tone is usually closer to that of a press release than of an objective news story.
Since newspapers began as a journal (record of current events), the profession involved in the making of newspapers began to be called journalism.
In the yellow journalism era of the 19th century, many newspapers in the United States relied on sensational stories that were meant to anger or excite the public, rather than to inform. The restrained style of reporting that relies on fact checking and accuracy regained popularity around World War II.
Criticism of journalism is varied and sometimes vehement. Credibility is questioned because of anonymous sources; errors in facts, spelling, and grammar; real or perceived bias; and scandals involving plagiarism and fabrication.
In the past, newspapers have often been owned by so-called press barons, and were used either for gaining a political voice. After 1920 most major newspapers became parts of chains run by large media corporations such as Gannett, The McClatchy Company, Hearst Corporation, Cox Enterprises, Landmark Media Enterprises LLC, Morris Corporation, The Tribune Company, Hollinger International, News Corporation.
Newspapers have, in the modern world, played an important role in the exercise of freedom of expression. Whistle-blowers, and those who "leak" stories of corruption in political circles often choose to inform newspapers before other mediums of communication, relying on the perceived willingness of newspaper editors to expose the secrets and lies of those who would rather cover them. However, there have been many circumstances of the political autonomy of newspapers being curtailed.
Some ways newspapers have tried to improve their credibility are: appointing ombudsmen, developing ethics policies and training, using more stringent corrections policies, communicating their processes and rationale with readers, and asking sources to review articles after publication.
The future of newspapers has been widely debated as the industry has faced down soaring newsprint prices, slumping ad sales, the loss of much classified advertising and precipitous drops in circulation. In recent years the number of newspapers slated for closure, bankruptcy or severe cutbacks has risenâ€”especially in the United States, where the industry has shed a fifth of its journalists since 2001. Revenue has plunged while competition from internet media has squeezed older print publishers.
The debate has become more urgent lately, as a deepening recession has shaved profits, and as once-explosive growth in newspaper web revenues has leveled off, forestalling what the industry hoped would become an important source of revenue. At issue is whether the newspaper industry faces a cyclical trough, or whether new technology has rendered obsolete newspapers in their traditional format.
Newspapers, since the dawn of internet, have had to contend with online media. These did not bring about the demise of printed newspapers. Reading newspaper print has a lower impact on global warming than reading online, according to one of the world's leading papermakers."Reading a newspaper has a lower impact on global warming than reading the news online for 30 minutes," according to Torraspapel's Paper: the alternative to climate change report.
At the same time, then, as the printing press in the physical, technological sense was invented, 'the press' in the extended sense of the word also entered the historical stage. The phenomenon of publishing was born.
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