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All the News That's Fit to Print - and Some That Isn't



All the News That's Fit to Print - and Some That Isn't
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.73

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    human-interest, newsgathering, printing, maniac, entice, lizard-like, latter, documentation, subscription, timely, literacy, publicly, sensational, despite, historical, twentieth
     content words:    New York Times, Vlad Dracula, Count Dracula, After Gutenberg, Publick Occurences, Boston News-Letter, Revolutionary War, New York, Thomas Jefferson, United States Constitution


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All the News That's Fit to Print - and Some That Isn't
By Colleen Messina
  

1     One popular newspaper, The New York Times, has the slogan, "All the news that's fit to print," but some early news pamphlets definitely didn't follow that motto. They relied on sensational tales to entice people to read their pamphlets. An early German news pamphlet had stories about a bizarre Transylvanian maniac named Vlad Dracula. It documented his bizarre, scary life. The character was later known as Count Dracula!
 
2     Some newsletters began during the Renaissance in Europe. Merchants circulated handwritten documents that described the latest wars, economic news, and human-interest stories. After Gutenberg invented the printing press in the fifteenth century, printed newsletters (like the one about Count Dracula) appeared in the late 1400s. Many "news sheets" in the 16th century even had illustrations. One paper in Spain reported the appearance of strange, lizard-like creatures. The newspaper added painted pictures of these creatures in color! We will never know if the creatures existed, but they certainly made for entertaining copy.
 
3     Despite their popularity in Europe, newspapers had a rocky start in colonial America. A newspaper called Publick Occurences was printed in Boston in 1690. Perhaps it documented things too publicly. Authorities arrested the publisher and destroyed all copies of the newspaper. Remember, this was before the Bill of Rights made freedom of the press a basic right in America. The government did support a colonial newspaper called the Boston News-Letter in 1704, but it had a limited circulation. By the Revolutionary War, over two dozen papers circulated through the colonies. New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts became the centers of the printing industry. Many brilliant proponents of the Revolutionary War used newspapers to convince the public to fight for independence from England.

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