2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Media

A selection of newspapers
A selection of newspapers
Topics in Journalism   
Professional Issues

Ethics & News Values
Objectivity & Attribution
News Source & Libel Law
News & Investigation
Reporting & Writing
Business & Citizen
Alternative & Advocacy
Sports Journalism
Science Journalism
Computer and video game journalism

Journalism Education & Fourth Estate
Other Topics & Books

Social Impact

Infotainment & Celebrity
'Infotainers' & Personalities
News Management
Distortion & VNRs
PR & Propaganda Model
'Yellow' Journalism
Press freedom

News media

Newspapers & Magazines
News Agencies
Broadcast Journalism
Online & Blogging
Alternative Media


Journalist, Reporter, Editor, News presenter, Photo Journalist, Columnist, Visual Journalist

A newspaper is a publication containing news and information and advertising, usually printed on low-cost paper called newsprint. It may be general or special interest, most often published daily or weekly.

The first printed newspaper was published in 1605, and the form has thrived even in the face of competition from technologies such as radio, television, and the internet. Recent developments on the internet are posing major challenges to its business model, however. Paid circulation is declining in most countries, and advertising revenue, which makes up the bulk of a newspaper’s income, is shifting from print to online, resulting in a general decline in newspaper profits. This has led to some predictions that newspapers’ role in society will shrink or even disappear, although historically, new media technologies such as radio and television never supplanted print media.


General-interest newspapers are usually journals of current news. Those can include political events, crime, business, culture, sports, and opinions (either editorials, columns, or political cartoons). Newspapers use photographs to illustrate stories; they use editorial cartoonists, usually to illustrate writing that is opinion, rather than news.

Some specific features a newspaper may include are:

  • weather news and forecasts
  • an advice column
  • critic reviews of movies, plays, restaurants, etc.
  • editorial opinions
  • a gossip column
  • comic strips and other entertainment, such as crosswords, sudoku and horoscopes
  • a sports column or section
  • a humor column or section
  • a food column
Reading the newspaper: Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, United States.
Reading the newspaper: Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, United States.

Types of newspaper

A daily newspaper is issued every day, often with the exception of Sundays and some national holidays. Saturday, and where they exist Sunday, editions of daily newspapers tend to be larger, include more specialized sections and advertising inserts, and cost more. Typically, the vast majority of these newspapers' reporters work Monday to Friday, so the Sunday and Monday editions largely depend on content done in advance or content that is syndicated.

Weekly newspapers are also common and tend to be smaller and less prestigious than daily papers. However, those Sunday newspapers that do not have weekday editions are not considered to be weekly newspapers, and are generally equivalent in size and prestige to daily newspapers.

Most nations have at least one newspaper that circulates throughout the whole country: a national newspaper, as contrasted with a local newspaper serving a city or region. In the United States and Canada, there are few truly national newspapers, with the notable exceptions The Wall Street Journal and USA Today in the US and The Globe and Mail and The National Post in Canada. Large metropolitan newspapers with expanded distribution networks such as The New York Times and The Washington Post can fill the role of de facto national newspapers. In the United Kingdom, there are numerous national newspapers, including The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express and The Independent.

As English has become the international language of business and technology, newspapers formerly in non-English (only) languages have been publishing an English-language edition. In places as varied as Jerusalem and Bombay (Mumbai), newspapers are printed to a local and international English-speaking public. The advent of the Internet has also allowed the non-English newspapers to put out a scaled-down English version to give their newspaper a global outreach.

There has also been an emerging class of international newspapers. Some, such as The Stageman International Weekly, Christian Science Monitor and The International Herald Tribune, have always had that focus, while others are repackaged national newspapers or “international editions” of national-scale or large metropolitan newspapers. Often these international editions are scaled down to remove articles that might not interest the wider range of readers.

The owner of the newspaper, or person in charge, is the publisher. The person responsible for content is the editor, editor in chief, or executive editor.

Newspapers have been developed around very narrow topic areas, such as news for merchants in a specific industry, fans of particular sports, fans of the arts or of specific artists, and participants in the same sorts of activities or lifestyles.

Newspapers often refine distribution of ads and news through zoning and editioning.

Zoning occurs when advertising and editorial content change to reflect the location to which the product is delivered. The editorial content often may change merely to reflect changes in advertising — the quantity and layout of which affects the space available for editorial — or may contain region-specific news. In rare instances, the advertising may not change from one zone to another, but there will be different region-specific editorial content. As the content can vary widely, zoned editions are often produced in parallel.

Editioning occurs in the main sections as news is updated throughout the night. The advertising is usually the same in each edition (with the exception of zoned regionals, in which it is often the ‘B’ section of local news that undergoes advertising changes). As each edition represents the latest news available for the next press run, these editions are produced linearly, with one completed edition being copied and updated for the next edition. The previous edition is always copied to maintain a Newspaper of Record and to fall back on if a quick correction is needed for the press. For example, both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal offer a regional edition, printed through a local contractor, and featuring locale specific content. The Journal's global advertising rate card provides a good example of editioning.


Most modern newspapers are in one of three sizes:

  • Broadsheets: 600 mm by 380 mm (23½ by 15 inches), generally associated with more intellectual newspapers, although a trend towards “compact” newspapers is changing this.
  • Tabloids: half the size of broadsheets at 380 mm by 300 mm (15 by 11¾ inches), and often perceived as sensationalist in contrast to broadsheets.
  • Berliner or Midi: 470 mm by 315 mm (18½ by 12¼ inches) used by European papers such as Le Monde in France, La Stampa in Italy and, since 12 September 2005, The Guardian in the United Kingdom.

Newspapers are usually printed on inexpensive, off-white paper known as newsprint. Since the 1980s, the newspaper industry has largely moved away from lower-quality letterpress printing to higher-quality, four-colour process, offset printing. In addition, desktop computers, word processing software, graphics software, digital cameras and digital prepress and typesetting technologies have revolutionized the newspaper production process. These technologies have enabled newspapers to publish colour photographs and graphics, as well as innovative layouts and better design.

To help their titles stand out on newsstands, some newspapers are printed on coloured newsprint. For example, the Financial Times is printed on a distinctive salmon pink paper, the Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is printed on pink paper, while L'Équipe (formerly L'Auto) is printed on yellow paper. Both the latter promoted major cycling races and their newsprint colours were reflected in the colours of the jerseys used to denote the race leader; thus, the leader in the Giro d'Italia wears a pink jersey, while the Tour de France leader wears a yellow jersey, or maillot jaune.

Circulation and readership

The number of copies distributed, either on an average day or on particular days (typically Sunday), is called the newspaper’s circulation and is one of the principal factors used to set advertising rates. Circulation is not necessarily the same as copies sold, since some copies or newspapers are distributed without cost. Readership figures are higher than circulation figures because many copies are read by more than one person.

Newspaper vendor, Paddington, London, February 2005
Newspaper vendor, Paddington, London, February 2005

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the daily circulation of the Soviet newspaper Trud exceeded 21,500,000 in 1990, while the Soviet weekly Argumenty i fakty boasted the circulation of 33,500,000 in 1991.

According to United Nations data from 1995 Japan has three daily papers —the Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun— with circulations well above 4 million. Germany’s Bild, with a circulation of 4.5 million, was the only other paper in that category.

In the United Kingdom, The Sun is the top seller, with around 3.2 million copies distributed daily (late-2004).

In India, The Times of India is the largest English newspaper, with 2.14 million copies daily. According to the 2006 National Readership Study, the Dainik Jagran is the most-read, local-language (Hindi) newspaper, with 21.2 million readers .

In the U.S., USA Today has a daily circulation of approximately 2 million, making it the most widely distributed paper in the country.

A common measure of a newspaper’s health is market penetration. Market penetration is expressed as a percentage of households that receive a copy of the newspaper against the total number of households in the paper’s market area. In the 1920s, on a national basis in the U.S., daily newspapers achieved market penetration of 130 percent (meaning the average U.S. household received 1.3 newspapers). As other media, such as radio and television, began to compete with newspapers, and as printing became easier and less expensive giving rise to a greater diversity of publications, market penetration began to decline. It wasn't until the early 1970s, however, that market penetration dipped below 100 percent. By 2000, it was 53 percent 1.


Most newspapers make nearly all their money from advertising; the income from the customer’s payment at the news-stand is small in comparison. For that reason, newspapers are inexpensive to buy, and some are free. The portion of the newspaper that is not advertising is called editorial content, editorial matter, or simply editorial, although the last term is also used to refer specifically to those articles in which the newspaper and its guest writers express their opinions. In recent years, the advertorial emerged. Advertorials are most commonly recognized as an opinion-editorial which third-parties pay a fee to have included in the paper. Advertorials commonly advertise new products or techniques, such as a new design for golf equipment, a new form of laser surgery, or weight-loss drugs. The tone is usually closer to that of a press release than of an objective news story.

Publishers of commercial newspapers strive for higher circulation, so that advertising in their newspaper becomes more effective, allowing the newspaper to attract more advertisers and to charge more for the service. But some advertising sales also market demographics: some newspapers might sacrifice higher circulation numbers in favour of an audience with a higher income.

Many paid-for newspapers offer a variety of subscription plans. For example, someone might want only a Sunday paper, or perhaps only Sunday and Saturday, or maybe only a workweek subscription, or perhaps a daily subscription.

Some newspapers provide some or all of their content on the internet, either at no cost or for a fee. In some cases, free access is available only for a matter of days or weeks, after which readers must register and provide personal data. In other cases, free archives are provided.

Newspaper journalism

Since newspapers began as a journal (record of current events), the profession involved in the making of newspapers began to be called journalism. Much emphasis has been placed upon the accuracy and fairness of the journalist — see Ethics.

In the yellow journalism era of the 19th century, many newspapers in the United States relied on sensational stories that were meant to anger or excite the public, rather than to inform. The more restrained style of reporting that relies on fact checking and accuracy regained popularity around World War II.

Criticism of journalism is varied and sometimes vehement. Credibility is questioned because of anonymous sources; errors in facts, spelling, and grammar; real or perceived bias; and scandals involving plagiarism and fabrication.

In the past, newspapers have often been owned by so-called press barons, and were used either as a rich man’s toy, or a political tool. More recently in the United States, a greater number of newspapers (and all of the largest ones) are being run by large media corporations such as Gannett (the largest in the United States), The McClatchy Company, Cox, LandMark, Morris Corp., The Tribune Company, etc. Many industry watchers have concerns that the growing need for profit growth natural to corporations will have a negative impact on the overall quality of journalism.

There is no doubt, however, that newpapers have, in the modern world, played an important role in the exercise of freedom of expression. Whistle-blowers, and those who “leak” stories of corruption in political circles often choose to inform newspapers before other mediums of communication, relying on the perceived willingness of newspaper editors to expose the secrets and lies of those who would rather cover them. However, there have been many circumstances of the political autonomy of newspapers being curtailed.

Even though the opinions of the owners are often relegated to the editorial section, and the opinions of other writers and readers are in the op-ed (“opposite the editorial page”) and letters to the editors sections of the paper, newspapers have been used for political purposes by insinuating some kind of bias outside of the editorial section and into straight news. For example, The New York Times is often criticised for a perceived leftist slant to its stories, or, by others, for supporting the American political establishment, whereas the opinion pages (but not the news pages) of the The Wall Street Journal generally take right-wing positions.

Some ways newspapers have tried to improve their credibility are: appointing ombudsmen, developing ethics policies and training, using more stringent corrections policies, communicating their processes and rationale with readers, and asking sources to review articles after publication. Many larger newspapers are now using more aggressive random fact-checking to further improve the chances that false information will be found before it is printed.

The future of newspapers

The future of newspapers is cloudy, with overall readership slowly declining in most developed countries due to increasing competition from television and the Internet. The 57th annual World Newspaper Congress, held in Istanbul in June 2004, reported circulation increases in only 35 of 208 countries studied. Most of the increases came in developing countries, notably China.

Front page of The New York Times on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.
Front page of The New York Times on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.

A report at the gathering indicated that China tops total newspaper circulation, with more than 85 million copies of papers sold every day, followed by India with 72 million—China and India are the two most populous countries in the world—followed by Japan with 70 million and the United States with 55 million. The report said circulation declined by an average of 2.2 percent across 13 of the 15 countries that made up the European Union before May 1. The biggest declines were in Ireland, down 7.8 percent; Britain, down 4.7 percent; and Portugal, where numbers fell by 4.0 percent. One growth area is the distribution of free daily newspapers, which are not reflected in the above circulation data. Led by the Metro chain of newspapers, they grew 16 percent in 2003.

Another growth area is high-quality tabloids, particularly in the UK, where several of the major broadsheets are experimenting with the format (see “ Switch to smaller sizes”). Smaller and easier to hold than broadsheets, but presenting serious journalism rather than traditional tabloid fodder, they appear to have drawn some younger readers who are otherwise abandoning newspapers.

Newspapers also face increased competition from internet sites such as Craigslist for classified ads, especially for jobs, real estate, and cars, the advertising of which has long been key sources of newspaper revenue.

However, many believe that the internet can itself be used to newspapers’ advantage. For instance, it allows newspapers to effectively compete with broadcast journalism in presenting breaking news online in a more timely manner than printing allows. The credibility and strong brand recognition of well-established newspapers, and the close relationships they have with advertisers (particularly in the case of local newspapers), are also seen by many in the newspaper industry as strengthening their chances of survival. The movement away from the printing process can also help decrease costs.

Responses to this sea-change in the competitive environment have varied. Some newspapers have attempted to integrate the internet into every aspect of their operations, for example with reporters writing stories for both print and online, and classified advertisements appearing in both media; others operate websites that are more distinct from the printed newspaper. Many in both camps believe that newspapers will increasingly leave breaking news to online and broadcast media, with print publications focused on comment and analysis.

The moderator of television’s longest-running program began his career in news delivering armfuls of newspapers in Buffalo, N.Y. Decades have passed, but Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press said during a press conference at Mount Union College that he can't imagine doing his job without print news. “I am very reliant on newspapers. I read them all, six or seven a day,” said the former paperboy. Although he could scour the internet for news, Russert said, “I still like to hold a newspaper; it’s part of my upbringing.” Russert, 55, who is also a political analyst for NBC Nightly News and The Today Show, said this in response to Akron Beacon Journal reporter Sandra M. Klepach’s questions while delivering Tuesday’s Schooler Lecture at Mount Union College’s Timken Building.

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