Starting J-Schools

Despite how long journalism as a profession has been around, journalism as a major was not so popular. In fact, in some places the major still doesn’t exist. However, the media industry has grown a lot in its education of future journalist.

In the US, the first school dedicated to teaching journalism was the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri which was founded in 1908.

The Missouri School of Journalism trained the first school-taught journalists in teaching them the history and ethics of the media industry, as well as helping them begin to develop the skills that create quality journalism.

Now, there are many competing journalism schools that are ranked at the top of J-schools in the US by the Washington Post.


  1. Missouri School of Journalism
  2. Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University
  3. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Georgia
  4. S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
  5. Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Syracuse University
  6. Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism
  7. E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University
  8. College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida
  9. School of Journalism at the University of Montana
  10. Electronic Journalism Arts Department at Lyndon State College

About the same time that Journalism schools became common, journalism awards also began to highlight the best journalism across the country. Some of these were awarded by journalism schools like Cronkite and Columbia, including the Pulitzer Prize and the  Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

As the journalism education around the country grew, so did other aspects of the media world. Some effects of journalism education has been young reporters entering into the field with prior training. And now, these young journalists often know more about their age’s digital functions than the long-time professionals. The constantly changing newsrooms inspire individuals to surpass previous boundaries to produce real, moving journalism.

As the media industry has changed and revolutionized throughout time, the reporters in America have not only welcomed the changes of technology and method, but thrived in learning to produce news through every medium.


Digital pilots

In the last 20 or so years, the internet has been born and has grown faster than anyone knew it could. It started as a tiny newborn baby, but grew faster than a teenage boy. Now, what started as the World Wide Web (WWW) is a giant.

It all began on August 6, 1991 when the first website was published. Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the WWW, published this page to explain what the WWW was created for. But even Berners-Lee couldn’t predict the way the WWW would impact the world, or more specifically the entire journalism industry.

Though a few news companies attempted to use the internet to their advantage, it wasn’t until the “Dot-Com Boom” in 1999 that news became accessible to common households who owned their own computers. By then, there were a few big moments in the internet’s history.

  • 1992: The first news is broken via internet. Computer Gaming World broke the news of Electronic Arts’ acquisition of Origin Systems on Prodigy, before its next issue went to press.
  • 1990’s: The first professional online news site on the World Wide Web was The News & Observer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. 
  • 1994: Netscape Navigator is founded as the first commercial web browser.
  • 1995: Internet Explorer follows Netscape as a commercial web browser.

These major moments in the history of web journalism all happened so soon. From then on the internet only grew in depth and strength. And by 2008 more Americans received their news information from the internet than any other source. Not only has the web changed the audience, but in addition journalists around the world now use the internet in their daily work life.

By 2004 the world not only engaged in the internet on increasing levels, but was drawn to the internet by sites like Facebook. By 2006, Twitter was invented and began to change how breaking news reached the public.

The founding of social media site like Facebook and Twitter smashed the line between reader and reporter. Now, readers witness information and have the power to “report” it to the rest of the world via Twitter. This drastic change has morphed how journalism approaches its audience. And today the media industry is still experimenting with the internet and social media.
New york plane crash
Despite the huge number of stories that have brokeSome breaking news that have broken on Twitter are:

  • 2009 New York Plane crash into the hudson river
  • 2008 Northern England earthquake
  • 2008 Earthquake in China
  • 2009 Google’s Nexus One revealed on Twitter
  • 2009 G2O’s protests and violence in London
  • 2009 Michael Jackson’s death
  • 2009 Patrick Swayze’s “death”
  • 2008 Ice on Mars

Cardinal Correspondants

In this section I will talk about two different types of correspondents, those who were the first to pioneer war reporting and those who were killed in the line of duty. Both set precedents for how the media world would continue to cover wars around the world.

War Writers

Being a war correspondent is not a new position, but actually dates back to when journalism was established in the United States. However, the first journalist known for his war reporting was a man named Richard Harding Davis. He worked as a foreign war correspondent at Joseph Pulitzer’s New York Herald during the Spanish-American War. Davis was especially praised for his sensationalism which popularized himself, the war, and President Roosevelt.

Another huge name in the media world, Edward R. Murrow, got his fame from his radio reporting during Hitler’s aggressive air raids on London during World War II. Murrow broadcasted live during a show known now as “This is London.” He was able to broadcast the sounds and sights of war to Americans, which drew many Americans into the war movement. Because of his famous reports from London, when Murrow returned to the US, he became one of the first news celebrities. He was even welcomed back from the President himself.

Media Martyrs

In looking into the sheer amount of journalists who have been killed throughout America’s history, it was almost impossible to choose two reporters to represent the martyrs of media.

Though many were killed before him, Edgar Damalerio was both a radio reporter and and editor. He was stationed in the Philippines where he was constantly reporting about the local police and corruption within the city’s officials.

Despite receiving multiple death threats, Damalerio continued to write and publish content on the corruption in the Philippines. Because of his work, Damalerio was shot and killed on May 13, 2002, at around 8 p.m.

Although journalism martyrs are rare, even this year journalists have been slain because of their work. James Foley was an American freelance journalist who was covering the ISIS crisis when he was taken captive and beheaded on August 19, 2014.

Foley’s death highlighted the danger and risk involved in foreign reporting, especially in the Middle East. However, journalists are still taking that risk in an effort to report the truth they think their audience deserves to know.

These valiant reporters lost their lives for the same cause most journalists go to work each day: to report the truth.

Beginning Broadcasts

Television developed quickly beginning in the 1880s when The Scientific American magazine published a piece on the concept of a working television. However, it wasn’t until 1927 when Philo Farnsworth created the first working model. Despite a war in the patent war, David Sarnoff began marketing the television to the masses and is now known as the father of television.

The first successful TV broadcast allowed the world to view the New York World’s Fair in 1939. During the broadcast, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech to thousands of anxious Americans to introduce them to the power of TV. Shortly after this production, the RCA had the first mass wave of television sets sold in 1947.

Americans then began owning televisions and in 1948 Douglas Edwards began the CBS TV News with the help of his producer Don Hewitt. CBS TV News began a huge momentum within television news broadcasting.

  • 1948: Douglas Edwards began the CBS TV News
  • 1949: KTLA broadcast the Kathy Fiscus rescue attempt for 27 hours
  • 1950: The Kefauver Committee hearings on organized crime in America were broadcast for 15 months, from May 1950 to July 1951
  • 1951: Nov. 18 was first TV broadcast of See It Now, produced by Fred Friendly and directed by Don Hewitt in magazine format, broadcast coast-to-coast using newly-completed coaxial cable
  • More of this timeline can be found here.

Television at this time amazed its audience, but actually it was very simple. The broadcasts mainly featured one anchor reading news updates off a piece of paper, as teleprompters were not created until later. And graphics were minimal, sometimes including a still picture and very rarely anything more. But in the early years, television didn’t need to be fancy, because the invention itself wowed its audience.

Television became more and more valuable as the business grew. A great example of that is just how influential television was in the first broadcasted Presidential debate of 1960. Both candidates, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, took part in what is now known at the “Great Debate,” which can be seen below.

This “Great Debate” made TV all the more popular as well as television news. The mass population could hear news directly from the source and see it at the same time. Not only did this change the way news was reported for television, but it increased the need for timeliness in the media world.

Television was a huge invention that is still morphing today. Local news and national news are experimenting with new ways to gain profit from advertising, and searching earnestly to connect their audience to the news around them.

Main magazines

Although Benjamin Franklin conceived the idea for an American magazine, Andrew Bradford beat him to the press by three days when he published American Magazine in January 1741. However, Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine soon joined the ranks of the first American magazines. Neither magazine lasted for long; The American Magazine and Historical Chronicle was the first to last that long when it was published between 1743 and 1746 in Boston.Magazine

Between many of these short-lived magazines in Boston, New York and Pennsylvania the first political cartoons, maps and illustrations. Though these magazines stood for independence and freedom of speech, magazines did not become a true medium for journalists until the 1900s when journalists entered the Muckraking Era.

The Muckraking Era showcased some of the most deeply investigative writers of all time, including Ray Stannard Baker, Nellie Bly, Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens. With words of weight like theirs, they needed a new, more lengthy medium to truly expose the untold truths of their 20th century world. So, they turned to Magazines. Some of the most notable magazines for muckraking journalists were The American Magazine and McClure’s Magazine

McClure’s Magazine began in 1893 and continued publishing until 1929. Founded by S. S. McClure, the magazine contained pieces on both literary and political news. Some of the most famous muckrakers like Tarbell, Steffens and Baker worked on the staff of McClure’s. Together, they created the foundation of how magazines could produce news.

Magazine2That same group (Tarbell, Steffens and Baker) also joined together to create their own magazine called The American Magazine in 1906. This magazine was released monthly and allowed Americans to see how magazines could function outside of the muckraking world. Instead of hard-hitting investigative stories, American featured human interest stories, fiction and social issues of the day.

After breaking in the new medium with big-name magazines such as McClure’s and American, magazines then expanded and flourished. Stories that deserved more space were getting it, and this new leisure reading helped general interest and ladies magazines, like Vogue, became expected by readers. Soon, magazines were no longer under the shadow of newspapers, but created their own rules.

Minority journalists

The news organization was created by white men, and continued to be run by white men until a few multicultural individuals entered the journalism field to pave the way for minorities in America.

African Americans in the news

Though some African Americans preceded Max Robinson in the journalism field, Robinson made the biggest impact. Robinson grew up in Virginia and attended both high school and college at Oberlin College and Indiana University. He also served in the United States Air Force before receiving a medical discharge.

Following his discharge, Robinson got his first taste of journalism when he worked as “Max the Player” on the radio in Virginia. But he didn’t begin his television career until 1959 where he was hired to read the news behind the news logo. However, when he once attempted to remove the logo and reveal his face, he was fired. Later he went to WRC-TV in Washington DC where his career really took off. He won six awards for his reporting on civil rights and won two Emmys for his documentary The Other Washington.

Even later, Robinson became the first African American anchor on a local television newscast when we was employed at WTOP-TV in Washington DC. In this position he really gained fame with both his audience and political professionals. Robinson also became the founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, paving the way for future African Americans in the news industry.

Asian Americans in the news

Veteran investigative journalist Lee speaks after being awarded the Foundation for Improvement of Justice 2007 Paul H. Chapman Award in Atlanta, Georgia
Kyung Won Lee was among the first Asian Americans to make a big splash in the journalism world. He was a first generation Korean American who is often thought of the pioneer of Asian American journalism in America. Lee found himself usually as the only Asian American on journalism staffs across the nation. As an Asian American, Lee focused primarily on minority issues, often covering immigrants.

Lee’s most significant contribution was translating many of the Korean newspapers into English in order to help the younger, often second generation Korean Americans learn both English and Korean. Lee also started a weekly newspaper, Koreatownin 1979 that was based in Los Angeles. Following that, he began translating the Korean version of the Los Angeles Korea Times into English in 1990. Lee is also known for founding the Korean American Journalism Association Throughout his career he has also received multiple awards from the CSPA, AP and other professional associations.

Early printing

First Newspaper Ever

Despite newspapers being firmly established in England by the time the United States was founded, it was not until 1690 that the first newspaper was attempted in the American colonies. This first newspaper was called Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic and was put together by a man named Benjamin Harris. But Harris made one huge mistake, costing him the life of his paper: he failed to get the government’s permission. His lack of a license allowed the government to shut him down completely and immediately. Publick Occurrences only lasted one edition.

This poor start to American journalism hindered others, as no one followed Harris’ start until 14 years later. However, this time, they followed the rules. As a postmaster, John Campbell got his newspaper, Boston News-Letter, licensed by the government. HIs paper was filled with news from Europe—he was the first to hear it through the mail—shipping news, letters and paid advertisements. Campbell was safe and effective. Campbell never sold more than a few hundred copies, nor did he make much money on his paper, but he held a monopoly on the newspaper business for 15 years before another rival was created.

In 1719 the Boston Gazette joined the ranks of newspapers. followed by the New-England Courant in 1721. During this time, the most common start of a newspaper stemmed from a printer becoming an editor. In this cycle, more and more newspapers were created until eventually each colony had their own. Early on in American printing, most newspapers were very safe and dealt with little government intervention apart from being required a license.

By the start of the Revolutionary War, there were 37 independent newspapers running to keep the colonists informed. These all had seven major themes of content, including:

  1. “Old News” from Europe, usually England
  2. Trading/shipping information
  3. Oddities (lightening strikes, two-headed goats, etc.)
  4. Public executions
  5. Grab bag (poetry, jokes, quips, etc.)
  6. Religious sermons
  7. Letters to the editor

First Penny Press

Unlike the colonial presses, the founding of the Penny Press was a revolution in the journalism world. For the first time, news was actually being distributed on a daily basis to a large sum of people. Beginning in 1833, a new kind of paper, called the Penny Press made news available to all classes of people; it was sold for a penny. Benjamin Day was the leader in this field as he began the Sun in New York City and sold it for one penny, as opposed to six cents for any other newspaper.


This photo was published by Benjamin Day as part of the “Great Moon Hoax.”

This idea of presenting “all the news of the day” for all the people, made Day’s business model boom. Soon he couldn’t print enough papers to keep up with the demand. Day also made another huge business decision, instead of selling through subscriptions, he took profits day by day, winning over his audience each morning. Not only did this open his market up to every literate adult in America, but it also increased the pressure to please his audience in order to win them back each day.

This spurred a major change in the interpretation of what news is. Straying from the usual, slightly boring news, Day decided to add in the exciting news of crime. Not only did crime attract interest, but it sold papers like crazy. Day was able to see, based on sales, what kind of news the public wanted and what kind they didn’t. This new news was focused on local news, which is what revolutionized the newspaper world.

Differing from colonial presses, Penny Press papers brought a new definition to the word news, including the following key themes in their content:

  1. Advertising
  2. Crime
  3. Scandals
  4. Oddities
  5. Gossip (crazy stories such as the Great Moon Hoax)
  6. Public news (executions, shipping, government, etc)
  7. Editorials (religious, partisan, etc)

Printing was the very first form of American journalism, where each of the other fields stem. So these men, like Campbell and Day are some of the most influential people in journalism. Not only did they succeed at their jobs, but they founded the very field that we rely on today. These first printers discovered journalism and helped in flourish and change in what we know it as today.

Founding Females

In the founding of the American press, many men’s names surfaced as the founders, writers, editors, photographers and so on. However, despite the rarity of their gender, the few women in the field stood out for more reasons than the obvious.

Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller is considered the first female foreign correspondent while working for the The New York Tribune under Horace Greeley. Fuller was unlike many of the women at the time, having received extensive education from her father, Timothy. After learning Italian and German, Fuller began translating pieces from fellow feminists like Susan B. Anthony, placing her in the feminist spotlight.

Her fame in the feminist circle through her work on Women in the 19th Centuryplaced her in view of journalists everywhere. Ralph Waldo Emerson actually gave Fuller her start, inviting her to join in the Transcendentalist circle and become the editor of The Dial (a transcendental journal) from 1840-1842. Shortly after, Horace Greeley spotted Fuller for her strong opinions in Women in the 19th Century and welcomed her onto his staff as a literary critic.

In the summer of 1846, Fuller left for Europe as the first female foreign correspondent. While in Europe, Fuller traveled to many different countries and met with many distinguished artists and writers. Overall, she sent 37 reports back to the Tribune. Fuller ended up meeting her husband and having her first child in Italy, returning to New York in 1850 by ship when forced to return due to war in Rome. However, she never fully returned as she, her husband and her son died in the shipwreck. Margaret Fuller is still considered one of the strongest feminists leaders during this male-dominated age.

Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly is known as the first and probably most influential female investigative reporter. Bly, unlike Fuller, lacked a male role model in her father, as he passed when she was six. However, this tragic loss prompted Bly to enroll in school in order to support her widowed mother. But due to the lack of financial support, she was unable to gain higher education.


However, Bly’s first journalism job came out of her feisty response to a sexist column in The Pittsburg DispatchThe editor, George Madden, hired her as a reporter in 1885.   While at the Dispatch, Bly focused her columns on women’s rights and smaller-scale investigative reporting such as exposing poor working conditions in sweatshops.

But Bly soon left to move to New York where she began her career at The New York WorldThis is what she is most famous for, as she became a famous investigative reporter for her asylum exposé, where she went undercover for 10 days as an insane patient to write about the infamous institution on Blackwell’s Island. Later, she also travelled the world in 72 days, in an investigative stunt to prove it was possible. Bly’s work is still widely read and revered as the beginning of the yellow journalism age.

Dorothy Knapp and Barbara Walters

Though it is hard to pinpoint exactly who was the first woman to serve as a reporter on television, Dorothy Knapp is undoubtably the first woman to sign a contract with NBC in 1930. She was hired to give beauty talks on NBC’s New York station, W2XBS. Knapp was both a model and actress, having guest stared on other networks to talk about beauty before finally getting a contract in New York.

Barbara Walters, on the other hand, is credited with being the first female on a network news program. Walters signed a $5 million contract with ABC television as an anchorwoman for five years beginning April 22, 1976. Later on, she became known as a television personality while producing women interest stories on the morning programming.

All these women have a few things in common. First, they all have the drive and strength to defy social expectations of women. Despite the man-run media world, these four women have inspired and driven their perspective fields of journalism, leaving their mark in history.



Rudimentary Radio

The invention of the radio was a huge step towards the founding of literal breaking news. The radio stems from experimentation with wireless telegraphs, where the sounds for morse code were transmitted via sound waves. In 1888 Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was able to prove the idea of electromagnetism, therefore making the idea of traveling sound possible. Guglielmo Marconi followed behind Hertz, building the first complete wireless telegraphy system in 1998.

Some of the first recorded sounds can be heard below:

Once the 20th century began, the radio industry took off in an insane timeline, beginning with the first voice broadcast in 1901 and by 1907 a commercial transatlantic radio broadcasting system was in place. Following this, the sinking of the Titanic caused a turn in the industry which allowed for government intervention and regulation. A boom in the radio industry followed, where journalists began using this new media to communicate with an audience in an instant.

In an effort to explore the world of radio, radio broadcasters began with a few events that quickly gained interest from the public. In 1920 the Pittsburg Post announced the Cox/Harding election results over the radio. And in 1921, the first world series event was broadcasted. And in 1924 the first political convention was broadcasted. These real-time results, however, pitted the radio producers against the print journalists.

Hence, a press war ensued. They battled for rights to breaking news until the 1933 Biltmore Agreement, where specific times for radio news were scheduled not to interfere with the times of printers’s publication. With this truce, radio news was broadcasted two times a day, and signed off with “for more check out your local newspaper.”

After this agreement was reached, radio boomed. Even the president at the time President Franklin Roosevelt used the radio as a news source to reach mass amounts of the American public, featured in his weekly “Fireside Chats.” (seen in the video above)

The radio became more and more of a news source, eventually becoming a household commodity, which became essential to American life, especially during World War 2. The founding of the radio radicalized journalism, in that breaking news could be announced instantly, even reported live. The radio is considered one of the biggest technological advancements in the media world, rivaling only the printing press.


Premier principles

In studying the history of journalism, five key principles outweigh all others in defining quality journalism: accuracy, timeliness, impact, objectivity and conciseness. Though combining all five of these is a modern image of the media, we can look at how each of these came about within the journalism world. Who was the first to create news based on each concept? Why was it successful? What historical causes spurred this change? Most of these principles stem from the age of the penny presses, which launched the journalism world in America from none to some really quickly.


As one of the most accurate modern publications, The New York Times was also the first Penny Press to focus on accuracy above all else. Then, The New York Times was called New-York Daily Times, and produced by its first editor Henry J. Raymond. At the time, many of the penny press papers were daily and so consumed with competition that accuracy was a rare focus. But in order to jump into a market like that, Raymond made a business decision to change his focus to accuracy.

At that point, Raymond branded his paper as the authority of news. Not only was his news accurate, but he published, “all news fit to print.” With a focus on accuracy, Raymond’s New-York Daily Times became known as the “Great Gray Lady.” As a publication known for accuracy, The New York Times, is one of the only penny press papers that is still remaining today, no coincidence that accuracy goes a long way.


As one of the most important aspects of media today, timeliness was not brought about by one single person, rather by the conditions of the age and technology. During the 1830-1840s Samuel F. B. Morse developed the electromagnetic telegraph machine which revolutionized communication across the globe. The journalism world, in the midst of the penny press age, takes full advantage of this invention. But as this age is focused on timeliness and competition, accuracy was out the window. The first journalist to use the telegraph, reported incorrect information about a vote taken in Congress, a prime example of the need for timeliness over accuracy.


The telegraph also contributed to the new idea of concise news. Previously, news articles tried to pull in their reader in creative, long-winded articles. But during the Civil War the telegraph was used to communicate between bases, something not popular to the opposing side. So, telegraph lines were often cut as a defense technique. Hence the latest idea of reporting news in an inverted pyramid with the most important facts first, followed by details that are less important.

This also contributed to conciseness as stories were often telegraphed word-by-word, but as each letter costs money, stories became shorter and shorter. This developed the style of journalism into short concise news stories that relayed information quickly to the reader.


As one of the first dailies, The New York Sunwas also the first newspaper to incorporate impact towards their audience, rather than straight news. As editor, Benjamin Day changed the field of journalism from drab to fab.

From his very first edition of The Sun, Day included a new type of news: public interest stories. These included, “all the news of the day,” which varied from crime stories to suicides to what was happening in the local court. And for once, news became interesting and impactful towards a large sum of the audience who longed for human interest stories. This is also one of the reasons penny presses and dailies became a success.


One of the most popular words in the journalism field today is objectivity. This concept was not common among the pre-penny press era, where every paper was partisan in content. However, James Gordon Bennett changed all of that when he began publishing The New York Herald in 1835. Just like Raymond based his editorial decisions on business reasons, so did Bennett, who was looking for a new way to report the news. Every newspaper at the time was partisan, so Bennett chose to be non-partisan. And it worked.

Bennett believed his paper was accountable only to the readers, rather than to politicians and government. Not only was he striving for objectivity, but he attempted to be fair to all voices, appealing to all social classes. Bennett’s form of reporting was not popular among his peers, resulting in at least three public beatings. But despite a harsh audience, Bennett remained objective and is credited as one of the founders of this basic journalistic principle.