American newspapers were an important part of mainstream media during the early 1900s because people depended on them to keep up with the latest news. There were no radio broadcasts until 1920 and television broadcasts first started in the late 1920s, so newspapers were vital to communication. Local newspaper publishers served community needs by providing tips about commerce, political meetings and local events. Major newspapers helped readers stay current on national and international news as well as local issues.
The Boston Globe
''The Boston Globe'' was created by six Boston businessmen, including Eben Jordan, in 1872. They invested a total of $150,000 to purchase the facilities, buy printing presses and hire laborers to start the paper. The Boston Globe's first issue was published March 4, 1872 and cost four cents. (Reference 1) Jordan hired Civil War veteran General Charles Taylor, who had experience with the ''Boston Traveler'' and ''The New York Tribune,'' to help with financial difficulties associated with the paper. Taylor helped improve ''The Boston Globe's'' reputation and increased circulation, so Jordan asked him to be his business partner. Taylor was named publisher of the newspaper. ''The Boston Globe'' was originally a morning paper but switched to an evening paper in 1878. ''The Evening Globe'' lasted over 100 years and ceased publication in 1979.
The New York Times
''The New York Times'' began publication in 1851 as a penny newspaper. The editors avoided sensationalism so the paper appealed to an intelligent audience -- one that appreciated objective reports and facts. The Times struggled to keep up with other New York newspapers that chose to engage in yellow journalism, losing $1,000 a week before Adolph Simon Ochs purchased it in 1896. Ochs continued the tradition of publishing factual details, both on a national and international level. In 1912, ''The New York Times'' received acclaim for it's detailed and graphic description of events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic.
''The Washington Post'' started in 1877 as a four-page publication for the Democratic Party. It faced financial troubles as a result of competition with other local and national newspapers and was sold in 1889. The new publisher did away with the paper's strict support of the Democratic Party. Readership increased and it gained the reputation of being a conservative publication. John McLean purchased the paper in 1905 and used sensationalism to report the news. In the 1920s, the paper lost credibility and nearly went bankrupt because McLean's son, Edward McLean, favored biased topics that supported his friend President Warren Harding.
San Francisco Chronicle
"The San Francisco Chronicle" was originally called the "Dramatic Chronicle" and published its first issue in 1865. The newspaper was founded by brothers Charles and M.H. de Young who were only 19 and 17 years old, respectively. The paper was headquartered in the heart of the city and "faithfully and often passionately recorded the great events, famous figures, and quirky characters that shaped the Bay Area, the nation, and the world," according to SFGate.com.
The Saturday Evening Post
''The Saturday Evening Post'' was originally Benjamin Franklin's newspaper and was called the ''Pennsylvania Gazette.'' The first article was published in 1728 and the newspaper was renamed -- The Saturday Evening Post -- in 1821. Publisher Cyrus Curtis later bought the newspaper in 1897 for one thousand dollars. Curtis hired George Horace Lorimer as editor and under Lorimer's leadership from 1899 to 1936, the Post grew from 2,000 copies per year to over three million. ''The Saturday Evening Post'' became the first newspaper to reach 1,000,000 copies sold. The newspaper evolved into more of a magazine than a newspaper because the cover featured artwork and illustrations and included short stories, pop culture and commentary, as well as the news.
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