Topics: Newspaper, Benjamin Franklin, Journalism Pages: 12 (1992 words) Published: July 30, 2013
Newspapers: Past, Present, and Future

News is simply defined as "a report of a recent event; something

not heard of before"(Websters, 282). With its lack in its

definition, news is so much more than a report of recent events in

todays world. Today, the underlying purpose of news is to "provide

facts upon which decisions are based" (Mencher, 56), making

journalism the work of gathering news. Neil Postman says that news is

"more often made rather than gathered". He goes on to say that it

consists of information that a journalist believes is important or

what they think their audience will think is important. There are

many different mediums in which one receives news these days,

including, internet, radio and television. One of the ways that has

been around the longest is the newspaper.

Today newspapers are publications that come out regularly

containing news, information and advertisements. Newspapers usually

meet four different criteria: Publicity, periodicity, currency, and

universality. Publicity means that its contents are reasonably

accessible to the public and is well circulated. Periodicity has to

do with the timing of publishing. In order for a publishing to be

considered a newspaper it needs to be published at regular times.

Currency deals with the information of the news itself. A newspaper

usually presents news that is current and applicable to it's readers.

Universality deals with the types of news that is covered. The topics

in a newspaper is often the reason why people pick up a newspaper to

begin with. When a publication meets these four criteria they are

usually considered a newspaper. Newspapers have been around for a

long time, they have always played an important part in society and

while still today an important source of information, are slowly


The Beginning of Newspapers

Although what is thought to be the modern "newspaper" wasn't

invented until the early 17th century, governments and empires have

been circulating news through publications for hundreds of years. In

Ancient Rome, Julius Caesar made public Acta Diuma ( latin for Daily

Acts). These publications were government announcement bulletins

carved in metal or stone and they were posted in public places. The

first form of this publication appeared around 59 BC. Throughout the

time period of the Roman Empire, emperors often censored what was

published in the Acta Diuma. When the seat of the emperor was moved

to Constantinople in 330, publishing of the Acta Diuma ceased.

China was the next empire where a type of newspaper appeared. In

early China, government produced news sheets called, tipao. The tipao

was dispersed among court officials during the late Han dynasty and

featured announcements and news that was intend to be seen only by

bureaucrats. During the Tang Dynasty (713-734) the Kaiyuan Za Bao or

the Bulletin of the Court, published government news. The bulletin

was handwritten news on silk and read largely by government


In the early Europe days, the increase of relations between

countries created a rising need for information. The government of

Venice first published the monthly Notizie Scritte in 1556. These

were handwritten newsletters published to inform on political,

military and economic news throughout Italy.

The Arrival of Newspapers

Although all of these publications were forms of spreading news

and mimicked the modern day newspapers, they did not meet the

criteria of being called a newspaper. The media known as newspapers

did not emerged until the 17th century. The arrival of newspapers is

often contributed to the spread and growing popularity of the

printing press. Johann Carolus was a resident in Strasbourg, Germany

and is often credited with publishing the first...
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