The Commercialization of News in the Nineteenth Century

The Commercialization of News in the Nineteenth Century

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The Commercialization of News in the Nineteenth Century traces the major transformation of newspapers from a politically based press to a commercially based press in the 19th century. Gerald J. Baldasty argues that broad changes in American society, the national economy and the newspaper industry brought about this dramatic shift. Increasingly in the 19th century, news became a commodity valued more for its profitability than for its role in informing or persuading the public on political issues. Newspapers started out as highly partisan adjuncts of political parties. As advertisers replaced political parties as the chief financial support of the press, they influenced newspapers in directing their content toward consumers, especially women. The results were recipes, fiction, contests and features on everything from sports to fashion alongside more standard news about politics. Baldasty makes use of 19th century materials - newspapers from throughout the era, manuscript letters from journalists and politicians, journalism and advertising trade publications, government reports - to document the changing role of the press during the period. He identifies three important phases: the partisan newpapers of the Jacksonian era (1825-1835), the transition of the press in the middle of the century, and the influence of commercialisation of the news in the last two decades of the century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 153.67 x 229.62 x 14.22mm | 340.19g
  • Wisconsin, United States
  • English
  • 2 figures
  • 0299134040
  • 9780299134044

Review quote

Baldasty argues that commercialization set the course of journalism, and he offers detailed samples from twenty-five papers, urban and rural, from every region. "The Commercialization of News" is a fresh reading of the evidence as to how Americans became a news-obsessed people. Thomas C. Leonard, University of California, Berkeley"
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About Gerald J. Baldasty

Gerald J. Baldasty is associate professor of communications at the University of Washington in Seattle.
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