The Dallas Express newspaper has a rich history that is closely intertwined with the history of newspapers in general. From the first newspaper published in colonial America to the digital age, newspapers have played a crucial role in disseminating information and shaping public opinion. In this article, we will explore the history of the newspaper, from its humble beginnings to its evolution into a powerful tool for social and political change.

The Birth of the Newspaper

The first newspaper in colonial America was the Boston News-Letter, published in 1704 by John Campbell. It was a simple one-page sheet that featured news from England and the colonies. The paper was a commercial venture, with Campbell charging subscribers six shillings per year. In 1719, James Franklin, brother of Benjamin Franklin, began publishing The New England Courant, which was the first newspaper to be published without government approval.

As the colonies grew, so did the number of newspapers. By the time of the American Revolution, there were around 40 newspapers in circulation. The newspapers played an important role in the Revolution, providing a means for the patriots to spread their message and rally support for their cause.

The Rise of the Penny Press


In the 1830s, the penny press emerged in the United States. These newspapers were sold for just one penny and were accessible to a wider audience. The first penny paper was the New York Sun, founded by Benjamin Day in 1833. The Sun’s success inspired a wave of imitators, and by the end of the decade, there were over 20 penny papers in New York City alone.

The penny press revolutionized the newspaper industry by making newspapers more affordable and accessible to the masses. The papers focused on sensational stories and human-interest pieces, rather than political news, which had been the focus of most newspapers up to that point. This shift in focus led to a rise in circulation, with some papers boasting over 100,000 subscribers.

The Impact of the Civil War

The Civil War had a profound impact on the newspaper industry. The war created a demand for up-to-the-minute news, and newspapers rose to the occasion. The telegraph allowed newspapers to report on events as they happened, and many papers set up their own war correspondents to provide first-hand accounts of the conflict.

The war also led to the rise of the newspaper as a tool for social and political change. Abolitionist newspapers like the Liberator and the National Anti-Slavery Standard played a crucial role in the fight against slavery. African American newspapers like the New York Times provided a voice for the black community and helped to advance civil rights.

The Age of Yellow Journalism


In the late 19th century, a new style of journalism emerged known as yellow journalism. Yellow journalism was characterized by sensationalism, exaggeration, and a disregard for the truth. The term “yellow journalism” was coined in reference to the Yellow Kid, a popular comic strip of the time.

Yellow journalism reached its peak during the Spanish-American War. Newspaper owners like William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer used their papers to whip up public support for the war, often through exaggerated and sensationalized stories. The impact of yellow journalism on public opinion is still debated today, with some historians arguing that it played a significant role in shaping public opinion and leading the country into war.

The Digital Age

The rise of the internet has had a profound impact on the newspaper industry. With the advent of online news sources, traditional newspapers have struggled to maintain their relevance. Many newspapers have shifted their focus to online content, with some papers ceasing print production altogether.

Despite the challenges posed by the digital age, newspapers remain an important source of information and a powerful tool for social and political change. The Washington Post, for example, continues to provide a voice for the African American community and covers issues that are often ignored by mainstream media outlets.

In conclusion, the history of the newspaper is a story of innovation, adaptation, and perseverance. From the humble beginnings of the Boston News-Letter to the digital age, newspapers have played a crucial role in shaping public opinion and advancing social and political change. While the industry has faced numerous challenges over the years, newspapers remain an important source of information and a vital tool for democracy.