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Mister Pulitzer and the SpiderModern News from Realism to the Digital$
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Kevin G. Barnhurst

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040184

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040184.001.0001

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Industrial News Became Modern

Industrial News Became Modern

(p.3) Chapter 1 Industrial News Became Modern
Mister Pulitzer and the Spider

Kevin G. Barnhurst

University of Illinois Press

This chapter traces the evolution U.S. news, from the American realism of the nineteenth century to the advent of online media in the twenty-first century. It discusses how the spider of digital media sent images on paper into retreat, leaving printing and paper manufacturing industries in disarray. It details how newspaper stories grew in length from the 1880s to the 2010s. These longer stories reflected changes in content and visual presentation, which changed how news presented people, events, and places. The impact of longer news on content was also counterintuitive. Instead of “human interest” growing, ordinary and working-class people disappeared from news, replaced by groups, officials, and experts. Although audiences presumably preferred local stories, locations moved away from the street address, as references to faraway places expanded. Moreover, news no longer aimed to report events-as-they-happened for the public to process. It explained larger problems or tried to make sense of issues, aiming to interpret events.

Keywords:   U.S. news, American news, modernism, press, mass media, realism, online news, online media

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