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Newspapers, History and Economics of

Over the past 1,300 years, newspapers have morphed from government pronouncements handwritten on silk in China to digital-only sites that churn out news updates, blogs, listicles, podcasts, videos, and investigative pieces 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even as newspaper have chronicled some of the most memorable events that defined the course of human history, a series of innovations and external shocks have determined the economics of the industry, the choices publishers made to adjust, and the audiences who read these accounts.

For example, the steam-powered rotary press and the Internet created new business models, while allowing newspapers to reach wider audiences and seek new forms of revenue. The rotary press, which could produce thousands of copies an hour, ushered in the era ...

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