Warning: total side-trackWell, to go one step farther down the side-track, yes, there were "newspapers" long before the late 1800's, including, if you like, screeds that were nailed to trees in the town common back in the 1400's and the Italian gazettes during the following century.I meant "newspapers as an industry". They were smelting copper 4,000 years ago, but copper "as an industry" is a more latter day invention.In a continuing shout-out to Ben Franklin, he is still one of the most colorful figures in American history. I especially like the episode where in his apprenticeship he wrote, as a fictitious and pitiful widow, letters to the editor and then responded to them as the editor in his brother's newspaper. The brother was not amused when, after several months, the duplicity came to light, partly because of the fraud-i-ness of it all, but also partly because the widow had become a well-known "personality" whose continuing and serialized story was helping to sell papers.
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