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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/211

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DEVELOPMENT OF THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER.

the highest offices of the Government; but the time had come when the people wanted the news, rather than individual opinions. American genius and ingenuity responded promptly and adequately to the demand, and from the time of the civil war the development of the newspaper has been a marvel of science and art. The telegraph came into general use for the transmission of news, correspondents and artists were sent to the front with all the armies, the men employed in Washington to write their own views of public questions were instructed to send to their papers only a record of the great events then transpiring around them, and in a month, or at most a year, American journalism was well advanced upon a new era of marvelous development. The time when the opinions, the power in phraseology, or the individuality of one man could alone make a daily newspaper a financial, literary, or political success had passed. The press had become an institution, journalism a profession, and the publication of newspapers a practical business requiring and rewarding enterprise and sagacity.

With the sudden demand for more papers came rapid progress in the mechanical department of the business. Double cylinder presses capable of printing twenty thousand papers an hour were soon perfected, folding machines came into general use, stereotyping was employed to save time, labor, and wear of type, white paper was made from wood pulp at greatly reduced cost, and the progress in all departments of the business was by leaps and bounds until every demand was more than supplied and new expectations created. From that time forward invention kept pace with every increase of circulation. As soon as one press was found inadequate or imperfect, the manufacturers were ready to set up a faster and better one. As competition reduced the selling price of the newspaper, invention supplied every demand for the material of production at a reduced rate. The impetus to circulation imparted by the civil war created a new reading public, which rapidly grew to include every person who could read and a demand for all the news of the world once created would not be denied. The collection of news was quickly reduced to a system and perfected, until to-day no event of importance occurring in any part of the world is omitted from the daily record of current history.

The great cost of collecting news at the front and transmitting by telegraph full reports of battles during the civil war caused certain newspapers in New York city to enter into an arrangement to receive reports in duplicate and share expenses. Then the cost was further reduced by selling the news to papers in other cities. That was the beginning of the Associated Press, a plan