Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Penny Papers -- popular culture--sensationalism!

P. 134, (The Creation of the Media), Starr's comment on the penny papers:

"The penny papers were an editorial and entrepreneurial innovation of singular importance. In their quest for circulation, they became the first papers in the United States to publish extensive coverage of local news and to turn news itself into entertainment".

Starr goes on to state, P. 136: "According to David S. Reynolds, saw a shift in the literature of moral reform". The conventional literature which emphasized "hopeful themes of characters" began to grow in the direction of "dark forces of the human psyche".

The penny press spoke to the tastes of the common man. Everyone, who is honest enough to admit it, enjoys a sensational news story. With an eye to increasing their readership and circulation, I think the early editors were very smart to include these kinds of stories in their papers. I wonder if the New York Post could be compared to the penny press in terms of format?


At 10:55 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post with two good quotes.

Yes, today's Post can be compared to the sensationalism of the penny press. The Post existed in the 1830's, it was a political paper serving an elite readership.

Packaging news as entertainment for the common man was and is a sound business plan.


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