By STEVI BRESHEARS, Editor-in-Chief ¦
For centuries, journalists have taken on the responsibility of telling the stories of their communities. While the concept of journalism is not at all a new one, over the years it has evolved to meet the needs and wants of its audience.
The first newspaper in the United States is widely considered to be “Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick.” According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, it was published only once by British bookseller Benjamin Harris before it was suppressed.
After that, there were technological advancements that helped foster the growth of print journalism. In 1791, the First Amendment was ratified, which granted freedom of speech and press.
The steam-driven printing press was invented in 1823, which made it easier and quicker to print newspapers.
All of these events lead up to the first edition of America’s first “penny press”, “The New York Sun,” published by Benjamin Day. The Sun was followed by “The New York Herald” in 1835 and “The New York Tribune” in 1841.
However, as technology has evolved, print has become less relevant. “Sadly, people get their news from other sources. Online news is faster, more up-to-date and can be updated in a moments notice,” said Amy Stahl, a journalism instructor at Tascosa High School. The first radio signal was sent in 1895 by Guglielmo Marconi, who successfully sent a wireless signal from England to Newfoundland. However, the first radio news program wasn’t broadcast until 25 years later in 1920, by Detroit radio station 8MK.
“Radio became a good medium for news because it could address the masses, and it was immediate. It’s still one of the best ways to get out information quickly to a large number of listeners,” said Amy Presley, FM90 program director.
“September 11 was a great example. People were running to their televisions and radios for the latest information. I was working in a retail store that didn’t have a TV, so I turned on the radio and heard the latest updates. Now, radio competes with Twitter and social media, but it’s still a great way to get accurate news out.”
Television emerged onto the scene not too long after this. In 1941, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) licensed television stations. CBS began airing two 15 minute news broadcasts every weekday.
It wasn’t until 1945, however, that the networks were actually formed, and in 1948 regular news broadcasting began. Through time, technology has advanced to allow networks to air the multiple, lengthy newscasts audiences are familiar with today.
In the early 1990s, online news started gaining popularity, and thus began the 24 hour newscycle. Early contributors included “Computer Gaming World” and “The News & Observer.”
With the rise of digital journalism and the growth of the internet, information was spreading quicker.
Now, news can be accessed with the swipe of a finger. Smartphones allow consumers to constantly be plugged in to things happening across the world. With the rise in social media, users can read and share stories in a matter of seconds. While the face of journalism can change quickly, the true purpose will always be the same: to report the information and tell the stories of communities and their members, all across the world.