A newspaper is a newspaper which has been printed throughout the country on a specific day. A newspaper is considered to be a legal public document in most countries, although the exact rights and obligations vary from country to country. In most cases a newspaper is published for free and available to all interested parties, although there are some countries which restrict the distribution of newspapers. In the UK, the only way to acquire a newspaper is by pay-for-publication.
The first newspapers printed in the UK were established in 17rored to advertise the then-new printing technologies and to promote trade. Initially, newspapers were published on linen paper, usually published without a front cover, were not folded together, and had a smaller masthead than the size of most modern day newspapers. The first British newspapers were published in the East Country. These were subscription only papers, similar to today’s penny newsprint, which provided limited content. Subscribers had to pay a fee to be published and this was a model adopted by many other newspapers throughout the UK.
With the development of new technology, particularly the printing press, newspaper production dramatically increased. Newspaper advertising was no longer restricted to the metropolitan areas of the UK, and the regionalisation of the print media finally took off. Modern day newspapers enjoy greater circulation and wider distribution than ever before. Advertising remains a major revenue generator for newspapers, and there is little evidence that this revenue stream will reduce over the next few years. As well as the commercial advantages of advertising in newspapers, the level of editorial content published has increased over recent years, particularly in reference to local or specialist areas, which in turn has led to an increase in articles and news broadcasts in areas not traditionally served by the media.
Although newspapers have a long history as a commercial media, their output is now more diverse. They still report general interest and serious political issues, but they also feature in many different sections of society. This is reflected in the content published, which has grown in relevance and in depth over recent years. A recent focus has been on specialist areas, often with a sub-focus on the national or regional interest. A feature article in a general interest newspaper may report the latest census figures, for example, but it may also report that the film industry is thriving in Cornwall, or that the National Trust is holding an exhibition on the Cotswolds.
Some modern national newspapers, such as the Daily Record, have adopted a dual mast design, whereby the main part of the panel is printed from the left hand side to right, while the adjacent pages are printed from the right. Some modern commercial newspapers, including the Daily Mail, have adopted a model where the left hand panel carries the logo of the company or organisation, while the right hand panel carries content specific to that particular company or organisation. Other papers carry double-sided advertising, which appears on either page. The exact model used by each newspaper will depend on their specific needs, and of course on their marketing strategy.
Advertising revenue is the mainstay of a printed newspaper. Even when there are no extras, readers are more willing to pay for content if there is some real value added to the piece. That has led to many smaller newspapers being forced to increase their masthead size to encourage more people to pay for the information they contain. This has created a dilemma for newspapers in the UK, where increased circulation means increased income.