american newsprint: 1690-present

2 Sep

Stanford University has created an interactive visualization of American newspapers, beginning at printing’s dawn in 1690. Don’t write it off as just one more infographic. It’s worth checking out. An interesting bit, from 1808:

“When an Irishman named Joseph Charless came to St. Louis to start the Missouri Gazette in 1808, it was the first newspaper to be printed West of the Mississippi. A year’s subscription could be paid in cash or vegetables.”

Plus, do you know where the Associated Press came from? It’s the result of a cooperative five New York dailies formed to afford the high costs of transmitting information via telegraph, in order to report on the Mexican War. “The telegraph also forever altered news-writing style,” I learned, “making it more concise, and inspiring the ‘reverse pyramid’ style: the most important facts up front, in case the rest didn’t make it through.”

As you click through, note the explosion of American newspapers between 1860 and 1890.

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