The Boston News-Letter published its first issue on this date in 1704, thus becoming America's first continuously-published newspaper. (Another Boston effort, Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick, was published even earlier, in 1690, but there was only one edition before the colonial government squashed it.)
Even though the News-Letter was only published once a week, it was small compared to today's newspapers. At first the entire publication fit on just one sheet (printed on both sides). It included news from London about Europe's political events and wars, plus notices of ship arrivals, accidents, deaths, and other useful info.
Soon after the Boston newsletter began, weekly papers were started up in New York and Philadelphia. By the end of the 1700s, the first daily newspaper began to be published in Philadelphia.
Get the Scoop!
While Boston's News-Letter was still the only newspaper in the colonies, a famous pirate named Blackbeard was killed in hand-to-hand combat on the deck of a ship. Naturally, the News-Letter got the scoop on that particular story, publishing a sensational account of the battle.
With computers, printers, copiers, and word-processing software, these days it's easy to make a newspaper!
Back in the olden days, it was hard and expensive to create a news-letter or newspaper. Printers with hand-set type gave way to typewriters and copier machines, and then to computers and easy-to-use software. These days it's easier than ever before to create a school newsletter, a family weekly, or a community newspaper.
But would anyone want to? The really new thing is to do without the "paper" part of newspapers. A lot of young people get their news from TV, the radio, and especially the internet. Social networking and e-mail have replaced—to a great extent—hand-written letters. Instead of buying opinion pieces in newspapers, people are turning to blogs.
Some people think that it is a really bad thing that newspapers are going to die, but if you think about all the cutting-down-of-trees, making/bleaching/shipping paper, printing newspapers, and then trucking and driving the papers all over the town or nation—and even then, when the newspapers are finally in readers' hands, there is more fuel and energy to be spent picking up all the old, trashed newspapers and recycling them. For the sake of the environment, it really does make a lot of sense to just beam information to people's phones or computers (or i-Pads or e-readers or...?), skipping the paper part entirely!
Here are some internet “newspapers” for kids: Here are some ideas about using newspapers (the old-fashioned print-on-paper kind) in educational ways.
Reuse newspapers by doing these crafts!
- Make an aquarium full of fishes ...out of newspapers? (Wow!)
Make it on paper by hand, or on paper but using all the bells and whistles your computer system offers.
Or make a digital newsletter to e-mail to family and friends or that will posted on a website. (Note that there is free clip art available on the internet!)