Newspaper

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Newspapers are periodical publications that present current news and commentary on the news, usually supported by advertising. City newspapers are often published daily, while smaller communities may have weekly editions or use other periods. Generally newspapers are published on cheap paper, known as newsprint, or sometimes just newspaper. The term newspaper may also refer to the business that publishes the periodical. The current issue is often referred to simply as "the paper."

Generally serious public interest newspapers use a large format known as broadsheet, although some use a smaller folio or tabloid format. Often the smaller publications are known as pulp newspapers, which delve into scandals, hyped up news, or even invented and far-fetched stories.

General interest newspapers are a commercial enterprise, but they are also a public service. The published news in newspapers is the raw material from which history is written. Most libraries have subscriptions to various newspapers which they make available for patrons to read.

Some newspapers are published for special interest groups, such as the agricultural community. Those published by large companies for use within their own structures are called house organs.

Newspapers are often referred to as "print media" and are a part of journalism, sometimes in competition with "broadcast media" which provides news on television or radio. Recently the Internet has become an new avenue of journalism, and in some areas has become so competitive with newspapers that circulation has declined. Some newspapers have begun publishing online as an adjunt to their printed editions, and there are a few new "newspapers" that are published entirely online.

It is desirable for a general interest newspaper to be a designated legal newspaper for municipalities and courts to advertise, as required by law, such as lists of property that are delinquent in taxes, probate of estates, lawsuits where not all parties can be located, and many other. Required advertising such as this is bread and butter for newspapers. To be a designated legal newspaper, it must meet certain conditions, usually of a minimum size, that has been continuously published for a minimum time, and has a paid circulation.

While advertising generally pays for the publication, a nominal charge is made to pay for the circulation which may be by employed or contracted delivery personnel, or by mail.

Publications that exist only to advertise, and are distributed free of charge may mimic newspaper formats to some degree, but they are not newspapers.

Newspapers flourished during the industrial revolution, as printing presses were developed for high speed mass printing. Newspapers rely on a literate population, but are also thought to help stimulate increased literacy.

In the U.S. the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press and this also helped to develop a robust newspaper industry. Legal precedents have established that public persons, such as politicians and entertainers have given up some of their privacy rights. While a public person may sue a newspaper for libel, if it prints something unfavorable, courts have held that truth is an absolute defense. Legal prior restraint of publication is rare in U.S. history.

Well known newpapermen in American history were Benjamin Franklin, a colonial leader who assisted in the movement to independence from Great Britain; Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who was prominent in the abolition movement by publishing The North Star in Rochester New York; Samuel Clemens, humorist and commentator, who published under the pen name Mark Twain; H. L. Mencken; William Randolph Hearst; Joseph Pulitzer; and the reporter team of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Photographer Matthew Brady took extensive photographs of the American Civil War, which were widely published in newspapers and introduced photojournalism to the industry.