A month or two ago, our local newspaper (the SF Chronicle) arrived sheathed in a special cover, with a surprisingly interesting illustrated history of the paper. You can get a sense of that history here.
The story of the paper’s creation was so outlandish and improbable that it got me interested in a broader history of newspapers, particularly as significant businesses (the media empires created at the turn of the 19th century by Pulitzer, Scripps, Hearst among others). You could see, in the founding and evolution of the Chronicle, something not too dissimilar to what we’re witnessing now, with another great media revolution and birthing of new media outlets like Talking Points Memo, Politico, TechCrunch, GigaOm and more.
So I have before me a couple of books about the history of the newspaper business (there were shockingly few about this subject). I’ve just begun to sink my teeth into E. W. Scripps and the Business of Newspapers by Gerald Baldasty. For those of us who are new media entrepreneurs, there is stuff to be learned. I’ll try to share the most relevant bits in a series of posts over the coming weeks.