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newspaper, publication issued periodically, usually daily or weekly, to convey information and opinion about current events.

Early Newspapers

The earliest recorded effort to inform the public of the news was the Roman Acta diurna, instituted by Julius Caesar and posted daily in public places. In China the first newspaper appeared in Beijing in the 8th cent. In several German cities manuscript newssheets were issued in the 15th cent. The invention and spread of the printing press (1430–50) was the major factor in the early development of the newspaper. The Venetian government posted the Notizie scritte in 1556, for which readers paid a small coin, the (gazetta).


In England in the 17th cent., journalism consisted chiefly of newsletters printed principally by Thomas Archer (1554–1630?), Nathaniel Butter (d. 1664), and Nicholas Bourne (fl. 1622). The London Gazette, founded (1665) in Oxford, is still published as a court journal. The first daily paper in England was the Daily Courant (1702). Thereafter many journals of opinion set a high standard of literary achievement in journalism—the Review (1704–13) of Daniel Defoe; the Examiner (1710–11) edited by Jonathan Swift; and the high society periodicals, Tatler (1709–11) and the Spectator (1711–12) of Joseph Addison and Richard Steele. The first English periodical essay was published in the Tatler.

John Wilkes, the 18th-century outspoken journalist, challenged Parliament's efforts to punish the press for the reporting of Parliamentary debates. After Wilkes's successful battle for greater freedom of the press, British newspapers began to reach the masses in the 19th cent. Of several present-day London papers born in the 18th cent., The Times, founded in 1785 by John Walter, the Manchester Guardian, now printed in London, and the Financial Times are internationally known. Other prominent London newspapers include the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, and the Daily Mail.

The Continent

The continental newspaper also developed in the 17th cent. in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Censorship was common throughout Europe, and Sweden was the first country to pass a freedom of the press law in 1766. One of the oldest papers, Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, appeared in Germany in 1609; the Nieuwe Tijdingen was published in Antwerp in 1616; the first French newspaper, the Gazette, was founded in 1631.

Major French newspapers today include Le Figaro, France-Soir, Libération, and Le Monde. Among newspapers of contemporary Germany are Tagesspiegel (Berlin), Die Welt (Hamburg), Rheinische Merkur (Coblenz), Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), Frankfurter Allgemeine, and Frankfurter Rundschau. Other well-known European newspapers include the Irish Independent (Dublin), Corriere della Sera (Milan), Osservatore romano (Vatican), and Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Zürich).

Newspapers have played an important historical role as the organs of revolutionary propaganda. The most notable of such revolutionary newspapers was Iskra, founded by Lenin in Leipzig in 1900. In the USSR, Izvestia and Pravda were the largest-circulation official newspapers. After the Soviet Union's disintegration, Izvestia became an independent newspaper involved in joint ventures with the New York Times and the Financial Times. Pravda, which the new government briefly banned (1993), remained aligned with the former Communists. In 1994 an editorial faction at Pravda opened a rival paper with the same name, and in 1998 the original Pravda changed its name to Slovo (“the word”).


In Asia the leading newspapers include Renmin Ribao (Beijing), Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo), the Straits Times (Singapore), the Times of India (Delhi), and the Manila Times. Japan's first daily newspaper, Yokohama Mainichi Shimbun, appeared in 1870, although printing from movable type was introduced in Japan in the late 16th cent. Today, Japan has a very high newspaper readership.

The United States

The existence in the United States of an independent press, protected by law from government authority and responsible to the public can be traced back to the libel trial (1735) in the colony of New York of John Peter Zenger. A single number of a newssheet, Publick Occurrences, was issued in Boston in 1690 and was then suppressed by royal authority. John Campbell's Boston News-Letter endured from 1704 to 1776. James Franklin launched the New England Courant in 1721, and seven years later his younger brother, Benjamin Franklin, founded the Pennsylvania Gazette. Other colonial papers include the American Weekly Mercury (Philadelphia), the New York Gazette, and the Maryland Gazette. Many of these papers were filled with letters and essays from contributors, news cribbed from other publications, pieces written by the printer, records of government business, and advertisements placed by readers. Reporting in the modern sense did not exist.

The first American daily, the Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser, appeared in Philadelphia in 1784. The Independent Journal (New York) carried the famous Federalist essays. Two rival political organs were Alexander Hamilton's Gazette of the United States and Thomas Jefferson's National Gazette, edited by Philip Freneau, and many other newspapers of the era were also highly partisan. The first New York daily newspaper was the Minerva (1793), edited by Noah Webster. Under other names it survived into the 20th cent.

Alexander Hamilton was among the founders (1801) of the New York Evening Post, for many years edited by William Cullen Bryant. As the New York Post, it is the oldest newspaper in the United States with a continuous daily publication. William Lloyd Garrison made the Liberator a powerful organ for the abolitionists. The New York Sun (1833) achieved national fame under Charles A. Dana. The New York Herald, launched (1835) by James Gordon Bennett, became famous for its foreign news coverage and later established a Paris edition.

Horace Greeley, one of the best-known figures in American journalism, was proprietor and editor of the New York Tribune from its inception in 1841 until 1872. The Tribune was influential in the Civil War period. The New York Times was founded (1851) by Henry J. Raymond, and under the supervision of Adolph S. Ochs it achieved worldwide coverage and circulation, which it has retained. The rotary press, a huge automated roll-fed printing press made high production rates possible to increase circulation. Newspaper circulation increased to keep up with growing population.

The New York World became enormously influential after its purchase by Joseph Pulitzer. When it issued the first colored supplement in the United States in 1893, the paper's critics dubbed it “yellow journalism.” The term stuck and it came to represent a more sensational handling of the news, for which Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst are considered by many to be main instigators.

Other major U.S. newspapers have included the New York Daily News, the Providence Journal, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Chicago Tribune, the Nashville Tennessean, the Kansas City Star, the Atlanta Constitution, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Christian Science Monitor (Boston), the Dallas News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Denver Post, the Miami Herald and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

A number of American newspapers are published in languages other than English. An example of a foreign-language paper published in an urban area is El Diário in New York. Several other newspapers are oriented toward professional interests: Variety, for example, deals with show business. Although the Wall Street Journal is primarily concerned with commerce and finance, it now has one of the largest daily circulations of any U.S. newspaper.

Consolidation of Newspaper Publishing and Other Developments

In England large newspaper-publishing empires were built up by Lords Rothermere, Northcliffe, and Beaverbrook. The great American chains were founded by Joseph Pulitzer, J. G. Bennett, William Randolph Hearst, F. A. Munsey, E. W. Scripps, the McCormick-Pattersons, Frank E. Gannett, Charles L. and John S. Knight, and Hermann Ridder. More recent media empires with major operations on both sides of the Atlantic were created by Rupert Murdoch and Robert Maxwell.

As the U.S. population in the latter half of the 20th cent. shifted from cities to suburbs and as competition from other media grew, many large city newspapers were forced to cease publication, merged with their competitors, or were taken over by newspaper chains such as the Gannett Company or Knight Ridder. In 2006 the latter was itself taken over by the McClatchy Company chain. Further consolidation in the 21st cent. made the New Media Investment Group's GateHouse Media the largest chain by number of newspapers. In 2019 New Media announced the planned purchase of Gannett. As a result of such changes, many cities that had two or more papers in the early 20th cent. now have only one.

In 1982, using satellite transmission and color presses, the Gannett chain established a new national newspaper, USA Today, published and circulated throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, are the U.S. newspapers with the largest circulations and are read all over the country. Small towns and rural districts usually have daily or weekly local papers made up largely of syndicated matter, with a page or two of local news and editorials. These local papers are frequently influential political organs.

Since the invention of the telegraph, which enormously facilitated the rapid gathering of news, the great news agencies, such as Reuters in England, Agence France-Presse in France, and Associated Press and United Press International in the United States, have sold their services to newspapers and to their associate members. Improvements in photocomposition and in printing (especially the web offset press) have enhanced the quality of print and made possible the publication of huge editions at great speed. Advertising revenues became increasingly important, and by the beginning of the 20th cent., newspapers were supported primarily by the sale of advertising space. The dependence on advertising income made newspapers highly vulnerable to the rise of the Internet at the end of the century.

Computer technology also has had an enormous impact on the production of news and newspapers, and by the 1990s when the first independent on-line daily appeared on the the Internet, it also had begun to affect the nature of newspapers. By the decade's end some 700 papers had web sites, some of which carried news gathered by their own staffs, and papers regularly scooped themselves by publishing electronically before the print edition appeared. Meanwhile, independent Internet-based news sources proliferated. The growth of on-line editions of established newspapers, other on-line news sources, and on-line venues offering free classified ad space also affected newspapers' sale of advertising space and the production of vital advertising revenue.

In the early 21st cent., as newspaper owners devoted more and more attention to their Web editions, print advertising was typically declining while sales of advertising for increasingly popular on-line and other digital editions was growing but not enough to offset print advertising losses. Concurrently, as print readership and advertising declined, many newspapers were experiencing cuts in their budgets, buyouts, staff layoffs, and reductions in physical size, and some daily newspapers cut their news coverage, moved to publishing several days a week instead of every day, or stopped publishing a print edition. Others ceased to publish completely.

The extent to which the editorial policy of a paper is affected by the interests of its advertisers has been a subject of frequent controversy. More broadly controversial is the entire question of corporate ownership wielding vast influence through controlling interests in newspapers, radio, and television.

For discussion of newspaper censorship, see press, freedom of the. See also journalism and periodical.


See F. L. Mott, American Journalism (3d ed. 1962); J. C. Merrill, The Elite Press (1968); A. K. MacDougall, The Press (1972); A. M. Lee, The Daily Newspaper in America (1937, repr. 1972); E. Case, The Press (1989); P. Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper (2004); A. S. Jones, Losing the News (2009); D. Kindred, Morning Miracle: Inside The Washington Post (2010); J. O'Shea, The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers (2011); D. Folkenflik, ed., Page One: Inside the New York Times and the Future of Journalism (2011).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a printed periodical publication that publishes materials about current events; an extremely important weapon of political struggle and one of the principal media in the system of mass information and propaganda.

According to Marx’ and Engels’ definition, the chief distinction between a newspaper and other types of periodical publications (for example, journals and bulletins) is “its daily intervention in a movement and its potential to be a direct megaphone for this movement, a reflection of current history in all its fullness” (Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 7, p. 1). Newspapers also differ from other periodical publications in format, size, and greater frequency of publication. They may be issued daily, several times a week, or weekly.

The materials in a newspaper contain facts and their evaluation and a characterization of the processes and developmental tendencies of contemporary reality. A newspaper acts as the conveyer of the policy and ideology of one or another class, party, or social group. In accordance with its point of view, it expresses opinions on the most important political problems and carries on political propaganda and agitation. On the basis of the material that it prints, it endeavors to create an “informational picture of the world” that will predispose the reader’s attitude toward events and his concept of life and contribute to the formation of political, economic, and moral ideals, convictions, definite motives, and behavioral stimuli.

The Marxist newspaper openly links its activity with the interests of the working class. It is an organ of political enlightenment and solidarity with all the progressive forces of society. The reactionary bourgeois press defends the interests of monopolists, often concealing its economic, political, and ideological ties with them by covering itself with slogans of “classlessness,” “lack of party affiliation,” and “objectivity.”

Various genres and forms are used in newspapers. The greatest space is taken up by effective information and publicistic pieces. Effective exposition of events is provided by official communications by party and state organs, press agencies, reports, chronicles, notes, and reporting. Explanations of events and opinions about them are given by commentaries, correspondence reports, interviews, and reviews. Summaries and analyses of events are contained in articles and surveys, and the editor’s point of view on the most important problems is set forth in editorials. The artistic and publicistic embodiment of events and figures is the essence of the sketch and short essay; satirical wit is characteristic of the lampoon and the topical satire. Also published in newspapers are political documents, fiction, popular science articles, semidocumentary works, letters from readers, and so forth.

A newspaper system includes central (national), specialized (by fields), and regional (local) publications. (For details about the Soviet newspaper system, see below: The newspaper in the USSR.) The central part of a newspaper’s editorial office consists of an editor in chief (in the USSR—an editorial board headed by an editor), managing editors of various sections, and different kinds of writers (reporters, commentators, and writers of surveys, essays, and topical satires). Many newspapers have special (traveling) correspondents, as well as their own correspondents within the country and abroad. Newspapers also obtain news from press information agencies by means of telegraph, telephone, teletype, and Telex.

Historical sketch. The compilations of news and official announcements that used to be hung in public places in ancient Greco-Roman and oriental cities may be considered the remote prototype of the newspaper. During the Middle Ages commercial cities and cultural centers were the points where information was exchanged. In 16th-century Venice offices for the collection of information were first established, and the profession of news writers appeared. These men drew up manuscript compilations of information on court life, events in various cities, and trade. The name of the coin gazzetta—the customary price for a compilation of news in Venice—is associated with the origin of the word “gazette.” The term “gazette” began to be widely used after the founding in 1631 of the French La Gazette by T. Renaudot. In various languages the concept of “gazette” is conveyed by other terms, including “newspaper” (English), Zeitung (German), and journal (French).

The newspaper took shape as a type of publication during the period of the emergence of capitalism, and it served as a weapon of the bourgeoisie in the class struggle. At the beginning of the 17th century newspapers became quite widespread, and they were issued regularly, but with small circulations. One newspaper issued with relative regularity was the German Aviso-Relation oder Zeitung, founded in 1609. From the mid-17th century daily newspapers began to appear, including Leipziger Zeitung, founded in 1661 in Germany; the Daily Courant, founded in 1702 in England; and Journal de Paris, founded in 1777 in France. Among the famous newspapers published during the period of the Great French Revolution were Marat’s Ami du peuple (1789-92) and Hébert’s Le Père Duchesne (1790-94). In Russia the first newspaper appeared in 1702 (see below: The newspaper in Russia).

During the 19th century the demand for regularly published newspapers rose sharply, and the role of the newspaper in public life increased. Every major political movement made an effort to publish its own newspaper. In particular, the Chartists published a number of newspapers, on some of which Marx and Engels collaborated. Marx was also a contributor and from 1842 the editor in chief of the Rheinische Zeitung, an organ of German revolutionary democracy. During 1848-49 the Neue Rheinische Zeitung was published, with Marx as editor in chief and Engels as the foremost contributor. At that time this newspaper was “the finest and unsurpassed organ of the revolutionary proletariat” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 26, p. 83).

The newspaper in Russia. The development of the periodical press in Russia began with the publication of manuscript news under the title Vestovye pis’ma, ili Kuranty, the earliest copy of which dates from 1621. The first printed newspaper, Peter I the Great’s Vedomosti, appeared in 1702. Throughout the 18th century, however, newspapers yielded the leading role in the Russian press to journals. Two official newspapers—Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti (until 1728, Vedomosti) and Moskovskie vedomosti (from 1756)—fully satisfied the needs of the literate population for information. (The first of these newspapers was published by the Academy of Sciences, and the second by Moscow University.)

The beginning of the 19th century was marked by a revival of the newspaper business. The newspaper Severnaia pochta—the official organ of the postal department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs—appeared in 1809. The word gazeta was used for the first time in its subhead. The first provincial newspapers were founded (Kazanskie izvestiia, 1811-20), as well as several specialized newspapers, including Sankt-Peterburgskie kommercheskie vedomosti, 1802-10 and Sankt-Peterburgskie senatskie vedomosti, 1809-93). During the first half of the 19th century the first privately owned newspapers began to be published. The most influential of them was F. V. Bulgarin’s and N. I. Greeh’s Severnaia pchela, which maintained a monarchist orientation, monopolized the foreign news, and struggled against democratic literature and journalism. Particularly outstanding during the 1830’s was A. A. Del’vig’s progressive Literaturnaia gazeta, to which A. S. Pushkin contributed. Separate newspapers were published as supplements to monthly journals. (For example, the journal Teleskop issued the newspaper Molva, 1831-35.) The newspaper business gradually improved, the scope of newspapers was increased, and their makeup was perfected. The major newspapers began to be published daily, rather than twice a week, as had been the case previously. Newspaper publishing was under the strict supervision of the Third Section and the censor-ship. In 1830 a statute was approved concerning the publication of official government newspapers in the provinces—the Gubernskie vedomosti. Their number increased beginning in 1838, although a network of Gubernskie vedomosti finally took shape only in 1857.

After the Crimean War (1853-56) and particularly as a result of the abolition of serfdom in 1861, increased public interest in events brought about a considerable growth of newspapers. This was also facilitated by the Provisional Rules on the Press (1865), which freed the newspapers in the capital from preliminary censorship. However, even for those newspapers that were exempt from preliminary censorship there remained the “supervisory” censorship, which had punitive powers. In 1860, 15 sociopolitical newspapers were published; in 1865, 28; in 1870, 36; and in 1881, 83. By the end of the 1870’s the circulation of newspapers published in the capital had reached 22,000-23,000. Single-issue circulation of provincial newspapers ranged from 3,000 to 5,000. In 1866 in order to provide service to newspapers, the first national information agency was established—the Russian Telegraph Agency. Retail sale and delivery of newspapers was permitted, and newspapers carried commercial announcements and advertisements. The first evening news-papers began to appear—Vechernaia gazeta, which was first published by Birzhevye vedomosti (1866-81), then by Molva. Nevertheless, the reactionary policy of the tsarist government in the area of the press even during this period hindered the development of the newspapers in many ways. Progressive publications were persecuted—even the Slavophile newspapers Parus (1859), Den’ (1861-65), and Moskvich (1867-68). Only monarchist and liberal bourgeois newspapers could be published freely: Moskovskie vedomosti, Sankt Peterburgskie vedomosti, Russkie vedomosti (1863-1918), Golos (1863-84), Birzhevye vedomosti (1861-79), Novosti (1871-80), and Novoe vremia (1868-1917). In 1869 a new official newspaper, Pravitel’ stvennyi vestnik, was organized.

From the end of the 1850’s progressive Russian émigrés had undertaken the publication of revolutionary newspapers. The most important of these were Kolokol (1857-67), edited by A. I. Herzen and N. P. Ogarev; Narodnoe delo (1870), the organ of the Russian section of the First International; and the Narodnik (Populist) newspapers Rabotnik (1875-76) and Vpered (1875-76). The revolutionary Narodniks also organized the publication of illegal newspapers in Russia —Nachalo (1878), Zemlia i volia (1878-79), Narodnaia volia (1879-85), Rabochaia gazeta (1880-81), and Chernyiperedel (1880-81). The general democratic uncensored press “headed by Herzen’s Kolokol” was called by Lenin “the forerunner of the workers’ (proletarian-democratic or Social Democratic) press” in Russia (ibid., vol. 25, p. 93).

During the second half of the 19th century provincial city newspapers developed, especially in the southern cities and in the Volga Region. Among them were Odesskii listok (1872-1917), Kievlianin (1864-1918), Saratovskii spravochnyi listok (1865-79), and Samarskaia gazeta (1884-1912). Regional papers began to appear, including Donskaia gazeta (1873-79), Sibir’ (1873-87), and Kamsko-Volzhskaia gazeta (1872-74). Special newspapers were published “for the people,” including Voskresnyi dosug (1863-72), Narodnyi listok (1876-79), and Sel’skii vestnik (1881-1917). Capitalistic relations increasingly penetrated the newspaper business. Individual major publishers (for example, A. S. Suvorin and I. D. Sytin) undertook the creation of newspaper and magazine associations. Newspapers became a profitable commercial enterprise. There was an increase in the number of tabloids, designed to please the taste of urban philistines: Peterburgskii listok (1864-1917), Moskovskii listok (1881-1918), and later the reactionary Gazeta-kopeika (1908-18), with a circulation of 300,000. At the end of the 19th century new bourgeois newspapers were organized, including Russkoe slovo (1895-1917), Kur’er (1897-1904), and Rossiia (1899-1902). A total of 125 newspapers was published in 1900. The circulations of the more widely distributed news-papers reached 100,000.

At the end of the 19th century there appeared in Russia the first workers’ social democratic newspapers, which laid the foundation for a new type of press. In 1885 in St. Petersburg two issues of the newspaper Rabochii were published illegally by the Blagoev group. In 1897 in Kiev two issues of the illegal social democratic Rabochaia gazeta were published, and in St. Petersburg, one issue of the Sankt-Peterburgskii rabochii listok. (The second issue came out in Geneva.) However, the first all-Russian, politically Marxist, illegal newspaper was Iskra, which was founded in December 1900 by Lenin. The illegal newspapers Vpered (1904-05) and Proletarii (1905), which were published in Geneva, played an important role in the development of the revolutionary press.

The revolutionary events of 1905 compelled the tsarist government to proclaim formally democratic freedoms. The first legal Bolshevik newspaper, Novaia zhizn’, was published in St. Petersburg from Oct. 27 to Dec. 3, 1905. Bolshevik press organs were founded legally in the Caucasus, the Urals, Siberia, and the Baltic region. However, with the onset of reaction during the spring of 1907, the social democratic press (Proletarii and Sotsial-Demokrat) went under-ground again. Nearly all of the liberal bourgeois press, frightened by the Revolution of 1905-07, became sympathetic to the Constitutional Democrats, whose chief newspaper was Rech’ (1906-17).

A new revolutionary upsurge in the country permitted the Bolsheviks to organize the publication of the mass, legal workers’ newspaper Pravda in May 1912. This was a new type of mass political newspaper, published with money collected by workers. Lenin directed work on Pravda. On the eve of World War I Pravda was suppressed. All the monarchist, bourgeois, opportunistic newspapers, infected with chauvinism during the war years, were opposed by the central organ of the RSDLP, Sotsial-demokrat, which was published in Switzerland, as well as by the illegal newspapers of local committees of the RSDLP (Proletarskii golos, 1915-16, Petrograd; Tovarishch proletariia, 1915, Irkurtsk; and a number of others).

In 1913 there were 856 newspapers in Russia with a total single-issue circulation of 2.7 million. During the February Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution of 1917 the monarchist press was eliminated. On Mar. 5, 1917, Pravda resumed publication, leading the struggle against the press of the bourgeois and petit bourgeois parties. In the hands of the Bolshevik Party, Pravda was a weapon for preparing a socialist revolution in the country. After the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution the proletarian state’s Decree on the Press of Nov. 10, 1917, closed down all reactionary newspapers that were actively opposed to Soviet power.

The newspaper in the USSR. The activity of Soviet newspapers, as well as that of the entire Soviet press, is based on the Leninist principles of Party loyalty, ideology, nationalism, mass character, and truthfulness. The most important functions of Soviet newspapers proceed from Lenin’s definition: “A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer” (ibid., vol. 5, p. 11). Lenin also noted: “We need a news-paper not only to promote our working class struggle, but also to provide a model and a beacon for the whole people” (ibid., vol. 21, p. 431).

Soon after the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution an extensive network of Party and Soviet newspapers was created. In addition to strengthening the already-existing central newspapers, Pravda and Izvestiia, the Central Committee of the Party and the Soviet government created new central newspapers: Gazeta Vremennogo rabochego i krest’ianskogo pravitelstva (Nov. 10, 1917, to Mar. 10, 1918) and Armiia i Plot rabochei i krest’ianskoi Rossii, which was later called Rabochaia i krest’ianskaia Krasnaia Armiia illot (Dec. 4, 1917, to Apr. 30, 1918). During 1918-22, Lenin himself participated in founding news-papers, including Bednota, Ekonomicheskaia zhizn’, Zhizn’ natsional’nostei, Kommunar, Trud, and Rabochaia gazeta. In 1918 in the young Republic of the Soviets 884 newspapers were published, and in 1919, about 1,000. According to incomplete data, 580 purely local newspapers were published in 1920.

Problems of developing and improving the activity of Party and Soviet newspapers were reflected in many directives of the Communist Party. At the Eighth (1919) and Eleventh (1922) Congresses of the RCP (Bolshevik), which were held under Lenin’s direct supervision, decrees concerning the press were adopted, in which the principal attention was directed at newspapers, at strengthening their staffs, and at increasing their role in building the Soviet state, economy, and culture, as well as in the ideological and political education of the Soviet people. Party guidance of newspapers was also to be intensified. A number of documents played an important role in improving Party and Soviet newspapers, including the circular of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) On the Program of the Local Newspaper (Apr. 4, 1921), the letter of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) on the plan of the local newspaper (June 7, 1922), and the decree of the Orgburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) On the Model for Workers’ and Peasants’ Newspapers (Dec. 1, 1924). The Resolution of the Twelfth Congress of the RCP (Bolshevik) On Problems of Propaganda, the Press, and Agitation (April 1923) contained instructions concerning a differentiation of the press and the creation of a special type of newspaper for each basic class of reader (KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh … , 7th ed., part 1, 1954, pp. 730-43). Under this resolution groups of newspapers were formed: all-Union general political; all-Union specialized; local general political and specialized—republic, krai, oblast, and okrug newspapers and newspapers of autonomous republics and oblasts; and municipal, raion, and lower level newspapers of enterprises, educational institutions, kolkhozes, and so forth.

During the period of socialist construction the newspaper network and circulation constantly grew. In 1940 in the USSR 8,806 newspapers with a total single-issue circulation of 38.4 million were published. (The total annual circulation was 7,528,000,000.)

During the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) all-Union and local newspapers assisted the Party in mobilizing all the nation’s forces to resist the enemy. They explained the liberation goals of the Soviet people’s war against the fascist German aggressors, and they propagandized the heroism shown by Soviet soldiers as well as the feats of labor at the rear. An extensive network of newspapers for the front was developed; at the same time, the number of civilian news-papers was curtailed. In 1942 the Office of Propaganda and Agitation of the Central Committee of the Party and the Main Political Directorate of the Red Army approved the statute On the Work of War Correspondents at the Front. In 1943, 728 newspapers were published on the various fronts, including 128 dailies and 600 newspapers that came out three times a week. During the winter of 1941-42 partisan units and underground Party committees in Soviet territory occupied by the enemy printed more than 20 newspapers, and in 1943-44 the number of newspapers reached 270. Among them were Za Sovetskuiu Ukrainu, the Byelorussian Zviazda (Zvezda), Za Sovetskuiu Latviiu, Za Sovetskuiu Litvu, and Za Sovetskuiu Moldaviiu. The Main Political Directorate of the Red Army issued the leaflet Vesti s Sovetskoi Rodiny, which in-formed Soviet people living in occupied territory about the situation at the fronts.

During the postwar period the Central Committee of the Party adopted a number of special decisions concerning newspapers, including On Improving the Quality and Increasing the Scope of Republic, Krai, and Oblast Newspapers (July 1945) and On Measures to Improve the Oblast Newspapers Molot (Rostov-on-Don), Volzhskaia kommuna (Kuibyshev), and Kurskaia Pravda (1946). Other special decisions on newspapers were On the Creation of Editorial Boards of Republic, Krai, and Oblast Newspapers (1948), On Ekonomicheskaia gazeta (1960), and On the 50th Anniversary of the Newspaper Pravda (1962).

The fundamental tasks of the Party and Soviet press during the period of further development of Communist construction were formulated in the Program of the CPSU (1961) and the decisions of subsequent Party congresses. By 1962 the Soviet Union had become one of the largest publishers of newspapers in the world; the single-issue circulation of its newspapers totaled 78.3 million (approximately one-third of the single-issue circulation of the entire world’s newspapers). In the growth rates for the number of newspapers published the USSR has surpassed many countries (see Table 1).

Table 1. Growth of the network of newspapers and their circulation in the USSR
YearsNumber of newspapersSingle-issue circulation (in millions)Annual circulation (in millions)Average single-issue circulation of one newspaper (in thousands)
1This decrease in the network and circulation of Kolkhoz newspapers is explained primarily by the extension of the newspaper network of production boards and also by the considerable growth of raion newspapers
1946 ...............7,03929.65,3344.2
1960 ...............6,80466.714,9779.8
1965 ...............6,25310223,05616.3
1970 ...............7,251139.731,15919.3
Kolkhoz newspapers    
1960 ...............2,7401.9320.7
1970 ...............1,44311.016.90.7

The dynamic growth in the number of newspaper copies per capita of population in the country is significant. In 1913 Russia turned out 2.1 newspaper copies per 100 persons. In 1940 the USSR produced 19.8 copies per 100 of population; in 1960, 32 copies; and in 1970, 58 copies.

During 1970 in the USSR 28 all-Union newspapers (general political and specialized) were published, as well as 153 re-public, 284 krai, oblast, and okrug newspapers, 93 newspapers of autonomous republics and oblasts, 617 municipal, 2,825 raion, 3,251 lower-level, and 1,443 kolkhoz newspapers. Among the central general political newspapers are Pravda (with a single-issue circulation of 9 million, according to 1970 data), Izvestiia Sovetov deputatov trudiashchikhsia SSSR (8.4 million), Komsomolskaia pravda (7.7 million), Trud, Krasnaia zvezda, Sotsialisticheskaia industriia, Sel’skaia zhizn’, and the weekly Ekonomicheskaia gazeta. All-Union newspapers are published primarily in Russian; however, a group of general political newspapers are published in foreign languages.

In 1970 newspapers were published in 57 languages of the peoples of the USSR and nine languages of peoples of foreign countries. In each Union republic, autonomous republic, and oblast, newspapers are published in the language of the basic nationality, in Russian, and in the languages of other national groups that have settled in the given republic or oblast. Most newspapers are issued in the languages of the basic nationality. For example, during 1970 in the Ukrainian SSR 936 newspapers were published in Ukrainian, 400 in Russian, and five in the languages of other peoples; in the Azerbaijan SSR there are 93 newspapers in Azerbaijani, 14 in Russian, and 11 in the languages of other peoples. Raion newspapers have undergone extensive development, especially in connection with the decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU On Increasing the Role of Raion Newspapers in the Communist Upbringing of the Working People (1968).

In 1970, 248 specialized newspapers were published, including 131 komsomol newspapers, 28 Young Pioneer news-papers, five newspapers on industry and construction, 32 on transportation, six agricultural newspapers, 17 devoted to problems of culture, literature, and art, 15 teachers’ news-papers, and 14 on problems of physical education and sports.

Considerable interest is evoked among readers by weekly publications, including Nedelia—the Sunday illustrated supplement to Izvestiia; Za rubezhom—a weekly survey of the foreign press, published by the Journalists’ Union of the USSR; Literaturnaia gazeta—a weekly of the Board of the Writers’ Union of the USSR; and Literaturnaia Rossiia—a weekly of the Board of the Writers’ Union of the RSFSR and the Board of the Moscow Section of the Writers’ Union.

In addition to professional journalists, workers’ and rural correspondents particpate actively in the work of Party and Soviet newspapers. In 1968 there were more than 5 million of these correspondents. A great deal of assistance is given to Party, economic, and trade-union organs by widely circulated factory and plant newspapers in the struggle to increase labor productivity and in the political and economic education of the workers. From the first years of socialist construction the arsenal of the Soviet newspaper has been constantly enriched with creative innovations, including traveling editorial staffs; forays by workers’ and rural correspondents; the publication of joint issues of neighboring republic, krai, and oblast newspapers and focus on the overall elucidation of major problems of the national economy; conferences between readers by correspondence; and interchangeable pages. In connection with the decision of the December 1965 plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU on the reorganization of the organs of Party and state control, the news-papers have begun to include pages of people’s control.

Many newspapers in the Soviet Union have been awarded various orders. Pravda has won the Order of Lenin twice; the newspaper Izvestiia Sovetov deputatov trudiashchikhsia SSSR has been awarded the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. Orders of the Soviet Union have been awarded to Komsomolskaia pravda, Krasnaia zvezda, Trud, Sel’skaia zhizn’, Pionerskaia pravda, Literaturnaia gazeta, and many republic, krai, and oblast newspapers.

Foreign newspapers. Contemporary foreign newspapers have different sociopolitical tendencies, depending on the social structure of the particular country and its class and party affiliation. In the socialist states the newspaper is an important weapon in the hands of the Communist and workers’ parties in the struggle to build a socialist society. In capitalist countries the bourgeois newspapers are in the service of the monopolies; they are opposed by the press of the Communist and workers’ parties. In the developing countries there is a complex process of the emergence of national newspapers, which are waging a struggle for the development of national economies and cultures.

In the socialist countries the central organs of the Communist and workers’ parties are the newspapers Rabotnichesko delo (Bulgaria), Rudé právo (Czechoslovakia), Neues Deutschland (German Democratic Republic [GDR]), Nepszabadsag (Hungary), Try buna Ludu (Poland), Scinteia (Rumania), Granma (Cuba), Nodong sinmun (Korean Democratic People’s Republic), Unen (People’s Republic of Mongolia), Nhan dan (Democratic Republic of Vietnam), Komunist (a weekly, Yugoslavia), Jenmin jihpao (People’s Republic of China), and Zeri i Popullit (Albania). Also published for mass circulation are the newspapers of trade unions, youth groups, and other public organizations. In some of the socialist countries newspapers are published by parties that have joined a National Front and participate in socialist construction under the guidance of the Communist and workers’ parties—for example, in the GDR, Der Morgen, the organ of the Liberal-Democratic Party, and Neue Zeit, the organ of the Christian-Democratic Alliance; and in Poland, Tygodnik demokratyczny, the organ of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party.

During the years of people’s power in the socialist coun-tries the newspaper business has been considerably improved and developed. Particularly great success has been achieved by the GDR, which occupies one of the first places in the world in quantity of newspapers per thousand persons (see Table 2), and by the People’s Republic of Mongolia, whose press came into being at the time when the people’s power was established.

In the capitalist countries the newspaper business is being concentrated and monopolized by the most important concerns, including Hearst and Patterson-McCormick (USA); Beaverbrook, Rothermere, and Thomson (Great Britain); and Springer (FRG). With the growth of the monopolization and concentration of the newspaper business there has been an intensification of the role of bourgeois newspapers in ideologically stupefying the masses. The principal source for the financing of bourgeois newspapers is the advertisement.

In addition to tabloids, which have circulations in the mil-lions and are characterized by vulgarity and an appeal to base instincts, the bourgeois press includes a small number of so-called serious newspapers for representatives of the ruling circles, the bourgeois intelligentsia, officials, and so forth. These newspapers are published with smaller circulations. However, both the tabloids and serious newspapers engage in the manipulation of public opinion in the interests of the monopolies and corporations.

Among the largest bourgeois newspapers that make up the so-called yellow press are the New York daily News (USA; circulation of more than 2 million); the British daily Mirror (5 million), daily Express (more than 4 million), and daily MAll (3.5 million); and the Federal Republic of Germany’s (FRG) Bild-Zeitung (4.5 million).

The serious bourgeois newspapers include The New York Times (USA; circulation of about 700,000); in Great Britain, the Times (300,000) and the Financial Times (150,000); in the FRG, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (100,000); and in France, Le Monde (about 400,000) and Le Figaro (about 500,000). The bourgeois press has become highly developed in Japan, where many millions of copies of newspapers belonging to the large companies of Asahi, Yomiuri, and Mainichi are published.

Under exceptionally difficult conditions, the newspapers of Communist and workers’ parties in capitalist countries are waging a struggle for the ideals of the working class, peace, democracy, and socialism. Overcoming many obstacles, some of these newspapers have gained a mass following and enjoy enormous authority among the working people in their

Table 2. Publication of foreign daily newspapers1
CountryyearNumber of newspaper titlesSingle-issue circulationNumber of copies per 1,000 population
1 The UN regards as daily newspapers those that are published at least four times a week
Bulgaria ...............1968171,793214
Czechoslovakia ...............1968283,888270
Federal Republic of Germany ...............196954223,466400
France ...............196711312,538253
German Democratic Republic ...............1969406,883403
Great Britain ...............196610626,700488
Hungary ...............1969292,338227
Italy ...............1967694,99795
Japan ...............196817149,704492
Poland ...............1969436,641204
Rumania ...............1969513,428171
Sweden ...............19681124,098518
United States ...............19691,75862,060305
Yugoslavia ...............1969231,61279

respective countries. Among these newspapers are L’Humanité (with a circulation of more than 200,000), the central organ of the French Communist Party, and L’Unità (circulation, more than 400,000), the central organ of the Italian Communist Party. In a number of capitalist countries Communist newspapers are banned and are published illegally: for example, the organ of the Spanish Communists, Mundo Obrero, and the organ of the Portuguese Communists, Avante.

The press is developing under complex conditions in the countries of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, where many newspapers are in the hands of American, British, and other foreign concerns. In creating their own press, the young states of Asia and Africa are encountering economic, political, and cultural difficulties. In some countries (African nations and India) the development of a national press is complicated by the great number of languages spoken by the native population. An important role is still played in these countries by publications in European languages, but gradu-ally a press is being created in the various national languages (in Hindi, Bengali, and other languages in India; in Swahili in Tanzania; and so forth). In many African countries the development of newspapers is retarded by the low level of literacy among the population, a heritage of colonialism.

The newspaper business has been considerably developed in the Arab countries—Algeria, the Egyptian Arab Republic, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Tunisia. An especially great number of newspapers are published in Lebanon, which is considered the newspaper and book center of the Arab East. Wide fame has been achieved by the newspapers of the Egyptian Arab Republic, Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar, and Al-Gumhuriya, and in the Algerian People’s Democratic Republic, by El Moudjahid and other newspapers. (Comparative data on the publication of newspapers abroad are given in Table 2.)

Newspaper design. An artistic and technical process, news-paper design includes the selection and use of type fonts, illustrations, and methods of laying out the materials (makeup), as well as the use of contrasting colors and sizes. The goal of design is to present the content of the newspaper to the reader in an attractive and suitable way and make the main item stand out clearly.

Associated with design is the concept of a newspaper’s “personality” as an external expression of its kind: news-papers for youth are designed differently from those in special fields, evening papers are different from morning ones, and so forth. A newspaper’s appearance is significantly affected by its format and size and the number of columns per page. In the USSR the formats 42 by 60 cm (the format of Pravda) and 30 by 42 cm (the format of raion, factory, and many municipal and youth newspapers) have been generally adopted. The size (volume) of a Soviet newspaper ranges from four to six pages. Some factory newspapers are issued in two pages. Weekly publications such as Literaturnaia gazeta and Ekonomicheskaia gazeta have 16, 24, and more pages. There is a noticeable trend to increase the number of columns per page: eight to ten columns in large-format news-papers and up to six in small-format ones. In newspapers a great deal of space is occupied by illustrations (documentary and artistic photos, drawings, diagrams, and so forth).

The individuality of the appearance of each newspaper depends on the design characteristics of texts and headlines, methods of makeup, standards of printing, and the skill of the designers. Improvement of the appearance of newspapers is proceeding along the lines of creating new type fonts, enlarging illustrations and improving their quality, sharpening black-white contrast, and introducing supplementary color.

Characteristic of the Soviet newspaper is a clear composition, dynamic and effective makeup, and economical use of space. The horizontal-vertical structure with a strictly rectangular configuration of materials is the most widely used layout; however, the so-called broken makeup, in which the columns for the same articles and notes are different sizes, is also used.

Bourgeois newspapers are characterized by their abun-dance of motley advertisements, sensationalist presentation of materials, and large volume, ranging from four to 32 pages. Individual American Sunday newspapers have 100 or more pages, taken up for the most part by advertisements.

Abroad there are three distinct principal schools of design: the British, German, and Franco-Italian. The British school is characterized by broken makeup with a clear vertical structure and small type fonts; the German school shows a wide format of columns, supplementary color, and large blank spaces used as borders. The Franco-Italian school is characterized by diversity in its type fonts, the use of italics in the texts, and a show-window type of design on the front pages. However, these national design traits in the bourgeois press are gradually being worn away under the influence of the American tabloids (small-format newspapers) and monopolization of the press. In capitalist countries the news-papers of the Communist and socialist parties have the best design traditions. (Thus, the British Communist newspaper the Morning Star has won prizes several times in national competitions for good newspaper design.)


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a newspaper?

If there is anxiety felt in a newspaper dream, then reading a newspaper may indicate concern about one’s reputation. It may also signify the desire to be recognized and acclaimed.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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