You can’t talk about newspapers without talking about journalism, and you can’t really talk about journalism without reading another really involved “history of journalism” piece. I thought I would make it a little easier for you. First, some highlights from Writesite,
“1608: First English reporter in the colonies, Captain John Smith, leader of the Jamestown settlement, publishes his newsletter Newes from Virginia”
1791: First Amendment to the Constitution, protecting freedom of the press and other freedoms, is approved.
1795: Reporters allowed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
1849: Groups of newspapers band together to support a news-gathering service that will supply foreign news by ship and telegraph; the group later becomes the Associated Press (AP)
1900-1925: Political cartoons offer commentary on the news in many newspapers
1960-1990: Investigative reporters uncover information about the activities of the government and other groups and offer interpretations of events and issues, such as organized crime, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, and Iran-contra.
To get past the bullets and dig a little deeper, you should turn to Rick Musser’s, History of Journalism. It breaks up the major highlights in U.S. Journalism by decade and digs into the people, places, ideas and events that have driven the profession forward.