The “Party Press era” refers to a period of time (1783–1833) when news editors in the United States received patronage from political parties, usually in the form of government printing contracts. An editor who had limited financial resources would readily endorse a party's candidates and champion its principles. In turn he received support for his six-cent paper. This gave the editor, who served as printer, writer, and business manager, a sense of prestige and power in society, and patronage was critical to the paper's longterm economic stability. For example, during Thomas Jefferson's administration, Samuel Harrison Smith, editor of the National Intelligencer in Washington, D.C., received from the State Department each year thousands of dollars, a considerable sum at the time.

Generally, the era in the United ...

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