Reading newspapers is one of the best ways to keep abreast with news around the world. As you flip through the pages, you learnt about how Rwanda came to be one of the cleanest cities in the world. You learn about new places to visit and about the events happening in neighbouring cities.
Now news articles are typed on computers and printed by machines but that’s not how it was at the start. According to Mitchell Stephens a researcher and author, news reporting started as early as 59 BC in Rome and was done by way of disseminating handwritten sheets. The material wasn’t any different from the kind that there is today. It was just as varied, covering a wide range of subjects.
News printing did not start until the late 1400s. This is according to History Pages, an online shop for early and rare publications. Germany was the first to have this kind of news material that was designed like a pamphlet. The English-speaking European countries followed next in the 1640s and then America in 1690.
According to Wikipedia, the word “newspaper” became common in the 16th century. Previously, written news items did not qualify for an official name because their circulation was irregular, only reporting on particular events.
When circulation of newspapers began, they were expensive. According to the web-based knowledge dissemination platform Local Histories, the reason for being expensive was because they were charged stamp duty. In the late 19th century, stamp duty was abolished and newspapers became cheaper and therefore more available.
Another thing that aided in the increased circulation of newspapers, according to Britannica an online encyclopedia was the onset of the industrial revolution. Technological advances made typesetting and printing much cheaper and increased communication channels made circulation easier.
One main struggle that early newspapers faced and modern newspapers face to this day is trying to meet readers’ expectations. People don’t read newspapers only to be informed. They also want to be entertained or even shocked sometimes. That’s why freedom of press came in handy.
The idea of freedom of press began in England after the Civil War broke out. Previously, newspaper printing companies were highly censored and were barely allowed to report on the politics of their countries.
Although there is a lot of leeway in news reporting now, in most countries the content is still regulated by government.
With increase in technology and consequently, other sources of information, fewer people are keen on buying physical newspapers. They read articles online, tune in to television or make use of social media. Newspaper printing companies have learnt to adapt to this change.