The New Journalism 1865-1919

1865 - From the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the new century, the U. S. population doubled and urban population tripled; illiteracy declined from 20% to 10.7% and newspaper readership rose from 10% to 26% of the adult population; the number of daily newspapers increased 600 to 2400 and circulation increased from 2.6 to 15 million; 2 out of 3 dailies were evening editions as leisure time increased, electric power provided a new source of lighting, workers sought entertainment and diversion from mechanized and drab labor; newspaper revenue from advertising doubled from 35% to 64% from department stores and patent medicines. The New Journalism evolved from the penny press and was politically independent, appealed to the workingman with afternoon editions, engaged in reforms and exclusives and self-promotion, featured entertainment and crime and scandal, devoted more space to advertising and illlustrations, and used the latest modern printing technology. It was modeled on the earlier success of the New York Herald, Sun, Daily News, and Philadelphia Public Ledger, and was nurtured by a new generation of young publishers such as Joseph Pulitzer, James and E. W. Scripps.

W. R. Hearst

1866 - Atlantic telegraph cable increased availability of foreign news and became part of a global network.

1867 - Fourdrinier process used wood pulp to make newsprint, lowering the cost from 6 cents to 2 cents per pound. In the 1890s sulphite pulp replaced rag as the toughening agent.

1871 - In Dec., James Gordon Bennett, Jr., sent reporter "Henry Morton Stanley" (real name John Rowlands) to Africa to "find" David Livingston (who was not lost but exploring central Africa and Lake Tanganyiki). Bennett, Jr., had inherited the New York Herald from his father Bennett, Sr., who was one of the founders of the penny press before the Civil War and who printed the first regular Sunday edition starting in 1841 with more features than the daily newspaper.

1872 - Western Newspaper Union was one of the first syndicates to distribute non-news features and fiction. Syndication became more important with the rise of national columnists and literary figures such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Jack London. E. W. Scripps founded his Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) in 1902 and Hearst founded King Features in 1914.

1873 - James Scripps founded the Detroit Evening News, 4 pages for 2 cents.

1874 - James Gordon Bennett, Jr., printed the "wild animal hoax" in the Nov. 9 Herald, about the escape of all wild animals from the Central Park Zoo, causing people to barricade themselves in their homes.

1875 - Joseph Pulitzer merged 2 papers into the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and put 3 columns of crime news on every front page. His statement of policy was published on the front page: "The Post and Dispatch will serve no party but the people."

1876 - Melville Stone became publisher of the Chicago Daily News.

1878 - E. E. Scripps founded the Cleveland Press.

1880 - Stephen Horgan published the first halftone photograph "Shantytown" in the New York Evening Graphic. Horgan would perfect the halftone process for use in rotary web presses by 1897, but the process would not be much used until the tabloids of the 1920s.

1881 - In London, George Newnes started his weekly penny paper Tit-Bits. The New Journalism in Newnes's publications, according to John Jenks, "meant briefer stories (the tit-bit - or 'tidbit,' according to the Associated Press), sentimentality and drama, and a real effort to reach readers through technical innovations, promotions and contests, and a carefully calibrated public persona. The tit-bits themselves were snippets of information, short stories, pieces of advice, jokes, correspondence, and advertisements presented in a sixteen-page weekly. Newnes juiced up the appeal of the newspaper through a continual series of contests and promotions. One contest offered a suburban London 'Tit-Bits villa' for the best short story submitted. But the best-known promotion was the Tit-Bits Insurance scheme in which the survivors of any Tit-Bits reader killed in a railway accident, and found with a copy of the newspaper on the body, would be given one hundred pounds. By 1891 there had been thirty-six cases. Tit-Bits quickly found a market, selling an average of 500,000 copies a week, and spawning imitators such as Answers and Pearson's Weekly. The Millions, Newnes's other paper, was a minor variation of the Tit-Bits theme, with an added bonus of color illustrations. But when the novelty wore off and production costs mounted, Newnes shut it down."

1882 - The first United Press was founded to compete with the Associated Press, but when AP manager Melville Stone signed exclusive contracts with the foreign agencies of Reuters and Havas and Wolff, many big New York papers switched to the AP and the UP went bankrupt in 1897. When the Illinois courts ruled against AP in 1900 as a monopolistic utility, a new nonprofit AP was chartered in New York City as a news cooperative, yet it was still dominated by the large New York owners and still demanded its members only subscribe to its service and no others. Scripps responded by founding the 2nd UP in 1907, and Hearst founded his INS in 1909 (in 1958 the INS would merge with UP to form UPI). Kent Stone in 1910 became AP traffic chief and supervised the shift from the telegraph to the telephone, and the teletype after 1913.

1883 - Pulitzer published the first issue of the morning New York World May 11, twice the size of Bennett's Herald, with 10 pages. His paper was the first to have a regualr sports department, and he featured the boxing career of John L. Sullivan. He printed a 4-column illustration of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24. Editorial cartoons "came of age" with the Oct. 30, 1884, full-page illustration of James G. Blaine presiding over a dinner of the rich at Delmonicos, drawn by Walt McDougall. According to Don Seitz, the cartoons of McDougall and the art of Grabayedoff in the World were "the first regular effort to illustrate a newspaper."

1885 - Pulitzer's year-long campaign raised $100,000 for the base of the Statue of Liberty dedicated Oct. 28, 1886. In 1889 he sent Nelly Bly "around the world in 80 days" (actually 72 days from Nov. 14 to Jan. 1890). His reporters covered the story of the first electrocution at Sing Sing in 1890 of William Kemmler.

1886 - Mergenthaler invented the linotype for the automatic casting of a line of type from a matrix using a keyboard. By 1890 the curved stereotype plate replace typeset cylinders, allowing the breaking of columns for large pictures, more advertising, syndicated features. The Hoe octuple press used 8 cylinders to print 4 pages each.

1887 - Hearst took over the San Francisco Examiner March 4. The American Newspaper Publishers Association (ANPA) founded as a trade association for owners, especially the large urban newspapers seeking national advertising through agencies such as N. W. Ayer, Lord and Thomas. The 4 largest advertisers were Sapolio cleaning powder, Royal Baking Powder, Pear's Soap, ivory Soap.

1889 - E. W. Scripps and Milton McCrae founded the Scripps-McRae League news syndicate.

1890 - Pulitzer moved into a new headquarters building on Park Row, 309 feet high, 26 stories, the first skyscraper in the city to rise higher than the 284-foot spire of Trinity Church. It stood next to the 18-floor Tribune building built in 1875 by Richard Morris Hunt, the 1889 New York Times Building built by George B. Post, and the 1883 Potter building used by the New York Press.

1892 - Walter Scott built the a four-color press for the Chicago Inter Ocean in April 1892, after owner Herman Kohlsaat had seen the color press of Le Petit Journal in Paris in 1891. Scott built a five-color press for the New York World in 1893, the same year that Hoe made a color press for the New York Recorder. Electric motors and automatic control devices increased the speed and reliabilty of the great Hoe octuple presses. George Pancoast was chief pressman for Hearst and a leader in the development of electrical presses. By the end of 1896, the New York Journal had shifted to electricity. Henry A. Wise invented the autoplate in 1900 for the New York Herald, cutting stereotyping time to one-fifth of the old method.

1893 - McClure's magazine was founded in 1893 as a general illustrated magazine selling for only 15 cents, at a time when the great magazines of the era, Century, Harper's, Scribner's sold for 35 cents. McClure's began a movement creating the mass circulation ten-cent monthly magazine. John Brisben Walker had founded Cosmopolitan 1886 and followed McClure's in lowering his price. Munsey's founded in 1889 lowered its price to 10 cents, followed by McClure's and Cosmopolitan. Munsey's circulation by 1900 was 650,000, followed by McClure's and Cosmopolitan at 350,000, Scribner's at 165,000 (selling for 25 cents), and Haper's and Century at 150,000. After Hearst bought Cosmopolitan in 1905, magazines raised prices to 15 cents, later to 20 and 25 cents. The highest circulation was held by the cheap weekly magazines selling for 5 cents: Collier's had been founded in 1887, but flourished under editor Norman Hapgood after 1902, reaching a circulation of 800,000 by 1912. The Saturday Evening Post was bought by Cyrus H. K. Curtis in 1897 and would rise to a circulation of 2 million. Leslie's Weekly had a circulation of 350,000.

1895 - Hearst published his first issue of the New York Journal Nov. 7, 16 pages for 1 cent, with a front page story about a Vanderbilt marriage to an English duke. The Sunday Journal was 38 pages for 3 cents.

1896 - Pulitzer on Feb. 10 cut the price of the World to 1 cent. The Sunday editions had 48-52 pages and sold for 5 cents. In 1897 the size increased to 80 pages. Hearst installed new color presses and began in the fall to produce a Sunday supplement, the American Humorist, advertised as "eight pages of iridescent polychromous effulgence that makes the rainbow look like a lead pipe." Sunday color supplements had been only 2 or 4 pages in an 8-page supplement, until Hearst in 1896 printed his full American Humorist supplement in color. After the success of his American Humorist supplement, Hearst added two others with partial color. The Sunday American Magazine had 16 pages and the Woman's Home Journal had 8 pages. Hearst hired entire Sunday staff of Pulitzer's World, led by Morrill Goddard known for his sensationalism, stories devoted to pseuo-science and crime and sob-sister advice and actress's legs.

1896 - Political cartoons had appeared occasionally for many years in newspapers, but they became an established newspaper feature during the McKinley-Bryan campaign. Hearst sent Homer Davenport to the New York Journal to draw anti-McKinley cartoons. Charles Lederer drew anti-Bryan cartoons for the New York World. Charles G. Bush drew cartoons for the New York World in 1897. John T. McCutcheon joined the Chicago Tribune 1903. Clifford K. Berryman drew for the New York Post, invented the slogan "Remember the Maine" in 1898. Frederick B. Opper went from Puck to the Hearst papers in 1899. Jay N. Darling singed his cartoons "Ding" when he began with the Des Moines Register 1906.

1897 - Ervin Wardman was first to publish the term "yellow journalism" on Jan. 31, after he had referred to "yellow-kid journalism" on Jan. 23, and Richard Harding Davis had written about the "yellow kid school" of journalists in a Jan. 10 letter. Wardman and other editors had been critical of Hearst's pro-Bryan, pro-silver position in 1896, and of his frequent printing of women in underwear, or the "nude journalism" that was replacing the New Journalsim according to Wardman, especially the negligee picture of Anna Held in the Sept. 20, 1896, Journal, that had followed the Sep. 13 Journal article on underwear fashion. On Feb. 4, 1897, the Newark Free Library banned the Journal and World, and the boycott spread quickly to other libraries, clubs, YMCAs.

1897 - Pulitzer hired Arthur Brisbane to replace Goddard as Sunday editor of the New York World. Like Goddard, Brisbane emphasized the senasational and bizarre. Alexander Kenealy was editor of the World's Comic Weekly supplement that included Luks' Yellow Kid and a serial about zoo animals called "Gazoozaland." Hearst hire Brisbane away from his $200 job at the World to work for $150 a week at the Evening Journal with $1 added for every 1000 papers in added circulation. By mid-1898, he was making $1000 per week. The first weekly comic strip with the same set of characters was the "Katzenjammer Kids" drawn by Rudolph Dirks for the New York Journal in early 1897. Other strips followed: "Foxy Grandpa" by Charles E. Schultze, "Buster Brown" by Richard Outcault, "Let George Do It" and "The Newlyweds" and in 1912 "Bringing Up Father" by George McManus for the New York American, "Alphonse and Gaston" and "Happy Hooligan" by F. B. Opper, "Little Nemo" by Windsor McKay, "Hairbreath Harry" adventure strip by Charles W. Kahles in the Philadelphia Press in 1906.

1898 - Adolph S. Ochs lowered the price of the daily New York Times to 1 cent. The price had been 3 cents to offset the expense of rebuilding its offices at 41 Park Row. Due to the lower price and technical improvements, circulation increased from 9000 in 1896 when Ochs had taken over the paper, to 76,000 in 1898, and advertising revenues soared. Ochs started a illustrated Sunday magazine in Sept. 1896, and began printing halftone photos in July 1897.

1899 - California passed an anticartoon law 1899 that forbade caricatures that reflected on the character of a person. The California law was never enforced. Other states including New York attempted to pass a similar law, but failed.

1900 - After the AP lost a court case in Illinois, it created a new AP in New York in 1900 under state law that allowed it to distribute news only to members. The AP made agreements with European agencies and dominated the news gathering business in America. The old UP had declined in the 1890s under pressure from a growing group of strong easter papers joining Melville Stone's AP, and went bankrupt after 1897. The old UP president, Charles Dana of the New York Sun, joined an independent news agency created by William M. Laffin, and the Laffin News Bureau operated successfully until Munsey bought the Sun in 1916 and combined it with the AP franchise of the New York Press. Scripps-McRae Press Association was created in 1897 and cooperated with the Publisher's Press in the east and the Scripps News Service in the west. Finally in 1907, E. W. Scripps united the three organizations into the United Press Association, and made young Roy Howard general manager in 1908. The new UP sold its news by contract, not membership, and served over 500 papers by 1914. Hearst set up his INS in 1909 for morning papers, and his National Press Association for evening papers, merging both in 1911 and operating on a contract basis.

1900 - In July, Hearst launched his Chicago American.

1905 - Hearst bought Cosmopolitan May 1905 "at the onset of the golden age of American magazines." He hired David Graham Phillips to write a political expose of corruption in Washington DC. March 1906 cover had photo of New York Republican Senator Chauncey Depew, and another photo of Depew inside with caption "Here is the Archtypal Face of the Sleek, Self-satisfied American Opportunist in Politics and Plunder." The article was a success, circulation went up 50%. Theodore Roosevelt coined phrase "muckraking" at Gridiron Club speech, and used it again at cornerstone ceremony for new House Office building. Hearst charged 10 cents per copy, low for a magazine, but expensive for the masses.

1907 - The first 6-day comic strip was "A. Mutt" by H. C. Bud Fisher as a horse racing feature in the sports page of the San Francisco Chronicle Nov. 15, later becoming "Mutt and Jeff" and syndicated by Fisher himself, bringing in over one million dollars.

1909 - Hearst was selling his comics by 1908 to 80 papers in 50 cities. In 1909, he founded the INS. In 1915 he had Moses Koenigsberg split off the King Feature Service.

1910 - Yellow Journalism stimulated the use of news photography. Jimmy Hare was photographer for Leslie's Weekly but most newspapers in the 19th century did not hire photographers. After the Spanish-American war, newspapers bought photos from syndicates, but some large newspapers hired staff photographers. William F. Warnecke of the New York World made a clear picture of the attempted assasination of Mayor Gaynor in 1910.

1911 - Hearst bought Good Housekeeping and the World Today (renamed Hearst's Magazine) in 1911, Harper's Bazaar in 1912.

1912 - The Columbia School of Journalism was founded one year after the death of its benefactor, Joseph Pulitzer. The dean of the School served on the advisory committee created by Pulitzer to award prizes, and awarded the first Pulitzer Prize in 1917 to the New York Tribune for its stories on the sinking of the Lusitania.

1915 - The number of country weekly papers reached a high in 1915 of 14,500, untouched by Yellow Journalism, surviving rural free delivery that began 1897, using the growing readyprint and plate services of the Western Newspaper Union.

1917 - Ochs founded the New York Times News Service, began to print complete documents related to World War I, and the New York Times would win the Pulitzer Prize in 1918 for its coverage of the war.

1919 - The number of daily newspapers in the U.S. had increased to an all-time high of 2400.



revised 5/15/06 by Steven Schoenherr at the University of San Diego | reserve