A publisher is a person or entity that creates and distributes information in the form of books, magazines, newspapers, academic journals, and similar products. In journalism, publisher is the title typically given to a news organization’s top executive. It is most often applied to the leader of a legacy newspaper. In early 2021, for example, A.G. Sulzberger was the publisher of The New York Times, but digitally native news organizations have also adopted the term. Melissa Bell, meanwhile, was publisher of Vox, an online publication she cofounded after leaving The Washington Post in 2014.

Like the news business itself, publishers’ duties, responsibilities, and struggles have changed over time. This entry explores the evolution of the role of the publisher from the colonial era to the present, ...

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