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A newspaper is a form of written communication that is published and distributed on a weekly or daily basis and contains current news, editorials, feature articles and advertising.  Newspapers are usually printed on low-cost paper and they appear on a frequent and regularl basis [1]. The information provided in newspapers tends to focus on the geographical location that they are located and distributed.  Most of the modern printed traditional newspapers have editorial sections that allow for readers and writers to voice their opinions.  Many current newspapers include sections of interest such as comics, advertisements and coupons [2].  As the technological advancements such as the television, radio and the World Wide Web continue to enhance our society, the newspaper has remained a major source of information. Newspapers depend on the publication of advertisments in order to make an income [5].





Prior to the development of the printing press and the production of hand written bullitens, news was exchanged orally around campfires, at markets and in passing [3]. 


In Rome, Julius Caesar requested that handwritten bulletins be posted every day during the 1st century BC and this has been considered one of the earliest journalistic efforts, called the Acta Diurna.  The Acta Diurna were handwritten daily news sheets that contained information on politics, trials, military campaigns, executions and scandals [3].


The Chinese government published news bulletins that were called tipao and were circulated primarily amongst the government officials of the Han dyanasty (202 B.C. to A.D. 221) [3].  During the Tang Dynasty the publication Kaiyan Za Bao was news handwritten on silk and only read by government officers [2].  The earliest known newspaper was printed in Beijing in 748 BC [12].




Modern Remake of Kaiyuan Za Bao





As our economy continues to fluctuate many newspaper companies are struggling to find ways to remain above water.  Some smaller companies have cut back by eliminating publications and increasing their content on the company website.  Many newspaper companies are viewing these minor adjustments as temporary and as forms of cutting costs for printing and distribution [9].  Publisher and editor Pam Mox of the News and Sun states "I plan to keep all my good employess and keep the paper intact.  We're a profitable community newspaper with diversified revenue, and look forward to starting up the Friday edition again when the time is right"  [9].  This editor and publisher also mentions that daily e-mail updates will be sent out and the use of the web will be for the publications.  The question lies with the increasing amount of digitalization our society is encountering, is there very going to be the right time to bring this Friday edition back?  With the cutting back of printed circulated material such as the newspaper, many claim that this will allow for more analytical pieces to be published on a weekly, or twice-weekly basis so that "newspapers can continue to serve their communities and audiences in new ways while adapting to our times" [9].  Some smaller newspaper companies have limited their carriers and began providing their daily newpapers through the United States Postal Service (USPS) due to the turn in our economy.  With the increasing cost of fuel the carrier costs began to also increase and there were high turnovers noted within companies in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.  The advantages of having the newspaper delivered by USPS is that they may deliver it earlier than the reader was previously receiving the printed information [10].  Philip Meyer postulates that in 2043 the American newspaper will die "as the last exhausted reader tosses aside the last crumpled edition" [7]. 




Advertisments are messages that are designed to promote sales of services or products.  Advertisments can be placed in the classified section of a newspaper or it can be considered integrated marketing communications that are seen in newspapers and magazines; and heard on television and the radio and most recently through the internet [11].  As newspapers have slowly shifted there efforts to the internet so has the advertising industry.  The newspaper industry online greatly is influenced by behavorial advertising and this is one of the forms of revenue that companies receive.  Behavior advertising allows advertisers to target ads based on the reader's interests through nonpersonality identifiable information.  The information is obtained through cookies or files that contain information based on visited web sites and this "allows newspapers to help advertisers reach the audiences most interested in their products and services while increasing the newspaper's online revenue" [8].  Behavioral advertising has been brought to the attenion of the Federal Trade Commission because of the potential privacy risks that may be associated [8].




Journalism are reporters that gather information and editors that evaluate and publish information of interest.  As technology as advanced journalism has shifted from primarily reporting information from newspapers to radio, television, magazines and documentary films [4].  The people who write the information in newspapers are claimed to live in the "shadow of technology" [6].  Cathcart states "when the Times introduced steam presses in 1814, or when railways made it possible to get a London paper to Newcastle overnight, or when messages by telegraph outstripped even the train, they did far more to create our national news media than the most brilliant reporter or editor" [6].  The news that journalism creates is far less than the news that was created by the advancements in our communication technology.  The need for more words to fill pages and to satisfy editors is more demanding now as journalism scatters to find stories of interest and this is why journalism will continue to be hypocritical, and becoming more ethical. Journalist must find words to attract readers and printed materials such as newspapers need journalists to keep the production rolling [6].



Impact of Television and the Internet


Newspapers have invested a great deal of money in web site development because there has been an incredible decline in the amount of reading citizens except for the senior population.  The senior population is not in decline because they were part of the transformation of technology to the newspaper.  Finding funding for the development  and maintenance of websites is primarily on the printed advertising revenues because companies have not figured out how to create an internet income.  Although some online newspapers charge a normal subscription rate the online newspaper isn't reaching enough of an audience to create an income [5].  The younger population, ages between 15 and 24 tend to get their news online and circulation of the printed newspaper has been falling for decades.  As the shift from printed newspapers to internet based news increases there will be an increased about of jobs affected.  Smaller companies have already began to sell their papers to larger companies in order to cut costs.  They have also began to try and pull the younger readers back in by increasing the stories related to entertainment and subjects that seem relevant in that age groups lives decreasing the amount of stories related to politics and international affairs being published [7].  According to Jones "as newspapers expand their efforts into the digital world, publishers find themselves at the intersection of technology and policy" [8]. 


Implications for Media Ecology


As the advancements of technology continue to increase our information superhighway, consumers may rely on more interactive and direct forms of information.  Our society is becoming more dependent on digital advancements with computers and cellular phones that are focus is not on the printed material any longer.  With many newspapers now having their own website it is decreasing the amount of printed and circulated materials.




[1] "Newspaper" Retrieved 18 November 2008. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/newspaper

[2] "Newspaper" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 18 November 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspaper

[3] Stephens, Mitchell. "History of Newspapers" Retrieved 18 November 2008. http://www.nyu.edu/classes/stephens/Collier's%20page.htm

[4] "Journalism" (2008) The History Channel Website. 24 November 2008. http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?articleId=213400. 

[5] "Newspaper" (2008) The History Channel Website. 24 November 2008. http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?articleId=217613.

[6] Cathcart, Brian. "Journalist: they can't live without us." New Statesman 137.4915 (29 Sep. 2008): 22:22. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Chadwick Library, Mount Pleasant, IA. 22 November 2008 http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=34478988&site=ehost-live.  

[7] "Who killed the newspaper" (2006). Retrieved 18 November 2008. http://www.economist.com/opinion/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=7830218  

[8] Jones, Mary Lynn F. "Wired in Washingtin" (2008). Retrieved 18 November 2008. http://www.naa.org/Resources/Publications/PRESSTIME/PRESSTIME-2008-November/01-Cover-Wired-in-Washington/01-Cover-Wired-in-Washington.aspx

[9] "Circulation: Economy Prompting Elimination of Publication Days." (2008). Retrieved 15 December 2008.  http://www.naa.org/Resources/Articles/Circulation-Economy-Prompting-Elimination-of-Publication-Days/Circulation-Economy-Prompting-Elimination-of-Publication-Days.aspx  

[10] "Considering the USPS Route." (2008).  Retrieved 15 December 2008. http://www.naa.org/Resources/Articles/Circulation-Considering-the-USPS-Route/Circulation-Considering-the-USPS-Route.aspx 

[11] "Advertising" (2008). The History Channel Website. 24 November 2008.  http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?articleId=200292


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