ERIC Number: ED232153
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The American Newspaper in the Early Nineteenth Century: The Torch-Bearer?
Avery, Donald R.
A longitudinal study sought to determine whether American newspapers shifted from foreign to domestic news content at the end of the War of 1812, as journalism historians traditionally believe, or if the shift in fact occurred before then as a result of a heightened American self-consciousness. A sample was drawn from newspapers from 1808 through 1812. Each selected edition was content analyzed according to content categories: domestic, foreign, other, and advertising. Content was measured in inches (physical volume of material) and then converted to word counts. The results indicated that the newspapers printed nearly twice as much domestic content in 1812 than they had in 1808, and the mean levels of foreign content decreased over time from 1808 to 1812, occurring mostly between 1809 and 1810. There was a significant increase over time in mean levels of federal government news. These results indicate that American newspapers became more domestic in content in the years just prior to the War of 1812, rather than during that conflict, as historians suggest. This shift was not due simply to a reduction of news from abroad, but may have resulted from attempts by the editors to print content that was more American in nature, or that was newsworthy. It cannot be determined from this study whether the newspapers led public opinion or followed it. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Journalism History; War of 1812
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).