Until the early 1800’s, newspapers in England and America were expensive and therefore exclusive to the wealthy and literate minority. On average, newspapers would cost around six cents per issue and were usually sold through subscription only. Readers would have to pay for a years’ worth of newspapers when first signing up for a subscription, and that cost could be a middle-class worker’s week’s wage. Most people could not afford newspapers and therefore could not receive daily news. In 1833, a cheap newspaper was introduced that cost only a penny per paper. The Industrial Revolution had made printing such a cheap paper possible, and the new “Penny Press” newspaper became an instant hit. No yearly subscription was necessary, and the majority could afford to read the daily news. This made people in both England and America more aware of current events, and also led to a dramatic increase in literacy rates. The accessibility of the Penny Press to the masses is similar to that of today’s internet blogs. Many websites show news for free, making it available for anybody with internet access. Most blogs that present news concentrate on a certain specific topics. For example, a famous blog called Gizmodo shares the latest updates on new technology, whereas celebrity gossip blogs like Perez Hilton show news about famous people. Blogs are often written in colloquial English, as opposed to newspapers like the New York Times, which are very well-written and may be hard to understand for some. The “Penny Press” newspaper was important because it made news available to the masses, as do blogs today.
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