A Look at Four Journalism Editors During the Time of the Penny Press

Benjamin Day, James Gordon Bennett, Horace Greeley, and Henry Raymond were all very great editors during the time period when the Penny Press was created. Each of them had their own contributions to the press at the time, and each was a great influence for the future.

Benjamin Day began a penny newspaper in 1833 called the New York Sun. The paper was directed towards an audience of working class people who couldn’t afford the more expensive papers of the time, which on average cost about six cents (Squire 46). Day’s paper covered material that was not available in other, more expensive papers. This material included murders, riots, etc. The New York Sun was a success and in its first year, accumulated 10,000 readers (Squire 47). Day is considered to be the founder of the Penny Press in New York and became a great influence to others who wanted to start a cheaper, more affordable paper like the penny papers (Lee 187).

James Bennett lived in the Philadelphia area and worked on The Pennsylvanian. He had great past experience from working on numerous papers as editor, associate editor, and reporter. He also owned his own paper called The New York Globe, which was a campaign for Jackson and Van Buren (Lee 193). On one occasion, in 1835, Bennett walked into the shop where the New York Sun was printed and spoke with the people in charge of the firm. As a result, Bennett began to print the newspaper: The New York Herald through the firm. The first issue came out that same year and as more issues were printed, the paper’s popularity didn’t grow as much as Bennett had hoped. Day took his paper with him as he left the firm due to Bennett’s unpopularity, and Bennett continued to receive criticism for his paper as people called him “immoral” (Sloan 129). Bennett continued to print the news and his paper gained more and more popularity. I think he was an important influence to other editors, because of the mistakes he made. Other editors could learn from this, as well as learn about continuing to print even if a paper isn’t becoming popular as quickly as one would like.

Horace Greeley is known for a few different things. He has been called “One of America’s most important journalists (Sloan 127). He is also known for being very passionate towards the views he wrote about. He thought people should be against slavery, the death sentence, war, and polygamy while supporting things such as women’s rights, and the labor union movement (Squire 50).

Greeley agreed to publish a penny paper for Dr. D.H. Shepard, which turned out to be unsuccessful. However, Greeley soon after published a weekly paper called the New Yorker, and after that, a penny paper called the Tribune. Greeley was important to journalism, and influential for other editors such as Henry Raymond, and Charles Dana because they learned from him while working at the Tribune (Squire 48).

Henry Raymond, as stated above learned about journalism from the great Horace Greeley at the Tribune. He was Greeley’s assistant for a period of time, but later left the Tribune and went on to establish the only penny newspaper that is still printing today. That newspaper is the New York Times (Sloan 137). Raymond was influential to others within all of the things he was involved in. He was involved in state and national politics, serving as a congressman and later became the administration’s leader in the House of Representatives. He still continued his work at the Times until his death (Sloan 139).

All of these editors had a great influence on journalism as well as the other people they worked with. Many other editors learned from these men by working at their newspapers, as well as working in the journalism field at the same time as these men did.

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