U.S. newspapers have informed, entertained for 300-plus year

For the past three-plus centuries, the newspaper has been an important part of American culture.

Daily and weekly newspapers across the country report happenings in cities and communities and play an important role in the balance of government.

My motto: To inform and entertain.

This week, Oct. 1-7, is National Newspaper Week.

The first newspaper hit the streets in Boston, Mass., on a late September day in 1690. The publication beared the name Publick Occurences Both Foreign and Domestic and it was found to be offensive to those loyal to Britain.

In fact, the newspaper was immediately suppressed.

Nevertheless, newspapers survived and flourished. Even with today’s technology involving radio, television and the Internet, newspapers still enjoy a unique place in culture.

In Arizona, the first newspaper was published in Tubac in 1859. By 1870, the Weekly Arizonian evolved into the Tucson Citizen where it continues to report news in southern Arizona.

Many other newspapers we read today also had their beginnings in territorial Arizona — from the Bisbee Daily Review and Yuma Daily Sun to the Prescott Daily Courier and the Williams News.

The Williams News began publishing news in 1889 and continues its operation 111 years later. News from Grand Canyon has been a regular part of the Williams News with varying degrees since its debut. In 1980, the Grand Canyon News section debuted.

Before statehood, 200 newspaper were published in sixty towns. Today, 120 newspapers are published in Arizona.

Now, just how much do you know about newspapers? Do you the following terms:

• Bulldog edition — This is the earliest edition of a morning newspaper published the preceding night. The term supposedly originated in the 1890s when the New York World and other morning newspapers published early editions to catch mail trains. The newspapers fought like bulldogs to make their deadlines.

Some believe the bulldog edition term dates back to William Randolph Hearst, who urged the editors of his New York American to write headlines that would bite the public “like a bulldog.”

• Masthead — A newspaper’s masthead is an area that indicates the newspapers name and other information such as the year it was founded, personnel, statements of policy, etc. The masthead generally appears on the editorial page of newspapers. In the Williams-Grand Canyon News, it appears on page 4A, the Williams section’s editorial page.

• Flag — The flag is the title or name of a newspaper and it appears at the top of page one or the front cover in distinctive typeface. The flag is not the masthead, though the words are sometimes used as synonyms. The Grand Canyon News section recently did a redesign of its flag.

• Broadsheet vs. tabloid — A broadsheet is the standard format with a single-page dimension of approximately 13 inches wide by 21 inches deep. A tabloid is a less-than-standard format with a single-page dimension one half that of a broadsheet — approximately 10.5 inches by 13 inches deep. The regular Williams-Grand Canyon News is a broadsheet. The recent special section, “Fall Sports ‘00” is an example of a tabloid.

• Double-truck ad — This is an advertisement that spans the centerspread of a newspaper and usually prints across the gutter (the margin between facing pages).

• Newspaper ears — Ears are the boxes in the upper left and right top corners flanking the flag. Ears are used for weather reports or other messages, including advertising. In the Grand Canyon News section, the newspaper’s price, date, copyright and volume number are in a box on the left, while a promo for an inside story is on the right.

• Yellow journalism — This is a term characterized as exaggeration, sensationalism, misrepresentation and falsehood used for the purpose of selling newspapers. The News, of course, does not practice in that type of activity. An example might be some of the tabloids you might see on newsstands near checkout stations at grocery stores.

• First female editor — Ann Franklin, sister-in-law of Benjamin Franklin. She became editor of the Newport Mercury upon the death of her son, James Franklin Jr., on Aug. 22, 1762. She edited the paper until her death on April 16, 1763. The Williams News section has a female editor — Ann Widmann. She succeeded a previous female editor — Ruth Ann White. Three editors ago, the Grand Canyon News had a female in charge of the news — Kyle Hesselton.

Those are a few facts about newspapers. Good reading.

(Brad Fuqua is editor of the Grand Canyon News).

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