American Journalism: A Timeline
By Christopher B. Daly
1704 First American newspaper published. (In Boston)
1729 Benjamin Franklin begins publishing
1735 Sedition trial of printer John Peter Zenger.
1776 Start of American Revolution. Thomas Paine writes
pamphlet called “Common Sense.”
1789-91 Adoption of Constitution and First Amendment.
1790-1830 Partisan and commercial press period.
1798 Sedition Act passed by Federalists and used against
Republican editors; allowed to expire under Jefferson.
1833 Founding of first Penny Press paper in New York,
making newspapers cheap enough for the masses.
1844 Invention of telegraph, by Samuel F.B. Morse.
1846 The Associated Press founded, in New York City.
1854 The New-York Daily Times founded.
1861-65 U.S. Civil War.
1880s-90s Rise of “new journalism.” Introduction of photographs into newspapers. Era of “Press Barons” William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer.
1898 Spanish-American War.
1904-12 Period of investigative reporting known as
1917-18 U.S. role in WWI (censorship + propaganda)
1923 Henry Luce founds TIME magazine.
1925 Harold Ross founds The New Yorker.
1926 Radio Corp. of America creates NBC network.
1927 Congress creates commission to regulate radio.
CBS network founded by William Paley.
1930s Economic depression. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers “fireside chats” on radio.
1941-45 U.S. role in WWII. (censorship + propaganda)
1945-89 Cold War
1948 First regular television news.
1954 Edward R. Murrow attacks Sen. McCarthy
1960 Television shows Kennedy-Nixon debate.
1960-75 U.S. involvement in Vietnam War.
1963 Television covers Kennedy assassination.
1964 NYTimes v. Sullivan (Supreme Court libel case)
1968 In Vietnam, Tet Offensive; My Lai massacre.
CBS launches “60 Minutes” TV news magazine
1970 NPR begins.
1971 Pentagon Papers case.
1972-74 Watergate scandal.
1980 CNN founded by Ted Turner
1982 USA Today newspaper launched by Gannett Co.
1987 Broadcasting de-regulation begins.
1988 Rush Limbaugh goes national with conservative talk
1991 U.S.-led war in Persian Gulf.
1995 World Wide Web begins to spread to public.
1996 Fox News debuts.
2001 On Sept. 11, terrorists attack U.S.
2005 NYTimes reporter Judith Miller serves 85 days in jail
to protect a confidential source.
2007 On-line journalist Joshua Micha Marshall, founder of TPM, wins a Polk award for journalistic excellence.