American media has had a long journey right from the first newspaper that was published in Boston, Massachusetts in 1690. Within the next 50 years, magazines also began to gain popularity in several major American cities. The concept of commercial radio burst on to the scene at the beginning of the 20th century and ended print media’s monopoly in America. This gave audiences all over the nation and later global audiences, unprecedented access to live audio programs. Then, television an even more powerful medium entered the scene shortly after World War II. Quickly becoming a popular choice for the masses, the other media diversified over the years to confront television’s dominant appeal. With the help of satellite technology, the U.S. TV networks were then able to reach overseas audiences anywhere on the globe. Today, interactive media fueled by digital technology and the growing convergence of the computer, telephone and cable television, dominate the scene.
During the 1960s and 1970s, news shows were quickly gaining popularity in the United States. Much of it can be accredited to Walter Leland Cronkite Jr., who was known as “the most trusted man in America” after winning a viewer opinion poll. He was an American broadcast journalist who served as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years. Charles Fountain and Dan Kennedy, professors of Journalism at Northeastern University, discussed the evolution of trends in American media from the days of Cronkite. Back then, Cronkite was the only person viewers could look up to but today with the advent of digital media, there’s a vast pool of opinions for viewers to listen to.
While nonprofit and advocacy organisations have significant voices today, most of the public’s primary sources of information are major urban newspapers, the weekly news magazines, and the broadcast and cable networks who are primarily in the business to make money. The media and communications industry generate revenues of over $242 billion making them one of America’s largest industries.