Halberstam argued that between the nineteen-thirties and the nineteen-seventies radio and television brought a new immediacy to reporting, while the resources provided by corporate owners and the demands made by an increasingly sophisticated national audience led to harder-hitting, investigative, adversarial reporting, the kind that could end a war and bring down a President.
Richard Rovere summed it up best: “What The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Time and CBS have in common is that, under pressures generated internally and externally, they moved from venality or parochialism or mediocrity or all three to something approaching journalistic excellence and responsibility.” That move came at a price.
In 1999, the New York Times Company bought the for nearly three hundred million dollars.
By 2000, only three hundred and fifty of the fifteen hundred daily newspapers left in the United States were independently owned.
The view of the new journalism held by people like my father escaped Halberstam’s notice.
In 1969, Nixon’s Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, delivered a speech drafted by the Nixon aide Pat Buchanan accusing the press of liberal bias.Between 19, years when the population of Worcester County rose by more than a hundred thousand, daily home delivery of the less than a year later, for seventeen million dollars, to Halifax Media Group, which held it for only half a year before Halifax itself was bought, flea-market style, by an entity that calls itself, unironically, the New Media Investment Group. In the past half century, and especially in the past two decades, journalism itself—the way news is covered, reported, written, and edited—has changed, including in ways that have made possible the rise of fake news, and not only because of mergers and acquisitions, and corporate ownership, and job losses, and Google Search, and Facebook and Buzz Feed. But by 1900 advertising made up more than two-thirds of the revenue at most of the nation’s eighteen thousand newspapers, and readers were consumers (and voter turnout began its long fall).There’s no shortage of amazing journalists at work, clear-eyed and courageous, broad-minded and brilliant, and no end of fascinating innovation in matters of form, especially in visual storytelling. “The newspaper is not a missionary or a charitable institution, but a business that collects and publishes news which the people want and are willing to buy,” one Missouri editor said in 1892. ” He kept a list, scrawled on the back of an envelope, taped to the dashboard: the Accounts. Bush, the paper was steadfastly Republican, if mainly concerned with scandals and mustachioed villains close to home: overdue repairs to the main branch of the public library, police raids on illegal betting establishments—“,” as the old Washington press-corps joke about a typical headline in a local paper goes. The Worcester was founded in 1884, when a telegram meant something fast. It was never a great paper but it was always a pretty good paper: useful, gossipy, and resolute. The poet Stanley Kunitz was a staff writer for the in the nineteen-sixties before writing “The Selling of the President.” From bushy-bearded nineteenth-century politicians to baby-faced George W.And only one out of every hundred American cities that had a daily newspaper was anything other than a one-paper town. News aggregators also drew display advertisers away from print; Facebook and Google swallowed advertising accounts whole. Early dailies depended on subscribers to pay the bills.Then came the fall, when papers all over the country, shackled to mammoth corporations and a lumbering, century-old business model, found themselves unable to compete with the upstarts—online news aggregators like the Huffington Post (est. Big papers found ways to adapt; smaller papers mainly folded. The press was partisan, readers were voters, and the news was meant to persuade (and voter turnout was high).In a newer trend, so did about a quarter of digital-native news sites.Buzz Feed News laid off a hundred people in 2017; speculation is that Buzz Feed is trying to dump it.In the nineteen-eighties and nineties, as Christopher B.Daly reports in “Covering America: A Narrative History of the Nation’s Journalism,” “the big kept getting bigger.” Conglomeration can be good for business, but it has generally been bad for journalism.