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The Media in the United States > Introduction
| Freedom of the Press | Media Ethics |
| Magazines | Radio | Television | Online Journalism

What kind of information materials are available?
CD: Texts available on CD version.Texts available in multiple languages.

Associated Press - U.S. Portal
Drudge Report
Daily Briefing (Project for Excellence in Journalism)
Google News
PR Newswire
Voice of America
Yahoo News - Top Stories

About America: Edward R. Murrow - Journalism at Its Best (DoS) | Multimedia version
American Journalism Review
American Press Institute
Association of American Publishers
Columbia Journalism Review
Editor & Publisher
Federal Communications Commission
Handbook of Independent Journalism 2006 (IIP)
International Broadcasting Bureau
Investigative Reporters and Editors
Media Emerging (DoS)
CD | Multimedia version
Media Making Change (IIP E-Journal)
National Press Club
Nieman Foundation for Excellence in Journalism
On the Media (New York Public Radio)
Portrait of the USA - The Media and Their Messages (USIA) CD
Poynter Online
Project for Excellence in Journalism
Publishers Weekly
Quill Magazine Online
A Responsible Press Office (DoS) CD
Seeking Free and Responsible Media (DoS) CD
The State of the News Media 2010 (Project for Excellence in Journalism) NEW
Trends 2005 - Media (Pew Research)
An Unfettered Press (USIA) CD

Information and Communications (Statistical Abstract 2009) NEW

The expansion of Internet technology and other electronic innovations has set off a media revolution, encompassing newspapers, television and radio, the motion picture and music industries, and libraries.
(All photographs from AP/Wide World Photos)

The U.S. media today is frequently known as the Fourth Estate, an appellation that suggests the press shares equal stature with the other branches of government created by the Constitution. The press, or "Fourth Estate" plays a vital role as a guardian of U.S. democracy. That role is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1789, stipulating that Congress not enact any laws abridging freedom of the press.

U.S. media have traveled a long road since the first newspaper was published in Boston, Massachusetts in 1690. Within 50 years, magazines also began appearing in several major American cities. The advent of commercial radio at the beginning of the 20th century ended print's monopoly of the media in America, giving nationwide and, later, global audiences unprecedented access to live audio programs. Television, an even more powerful medium, entered the scene shortly after World War II. Defying predictions of their decline, the other media have diversified to confront television's dominant appeal. Satellite technology has allowed U.S. TV networks, especially cable networks, to reach overseas audiences anywhere on the globe. Interactive media, fueled by the advance of digital technology and the growing convergence of the computer, telephone and cable television, represent the principal trend of the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries.

The print and electronic media in the United States, offering wide news and entertainment options, are a pervasive element in American society. According to a recent survey by Mediamark Research, 98% of Americans have a television; 82% of those watch "prime time" and 71% cable programming in an average week. 84% percent of Americans listen to radio regularly. 79% percent are newspaper readers. 45% percent of the whole American population has access to the Internet, while for certain demographic groups that percentage reaches a high of close to 70%.

Economics plays a major role in shaping the information served up to the U.S. public in newspapers, on radio and television, and now on the Internet. While nonprofit and advocacy organizations have significant voices, most of the public's primary sources of information -- major urban newspapers, the weekly news magazines, and the broadcast and cable networks -- are in business to make money. Media and communications, with revenues of over $242 billion, are one of America's largest business groups. In 2000, adult consumers of media information and amusement products spent over $675 a person. Advertisers spent an additional $215 billion to bring their products to the attention of the American public. The media are a great engine in American society, providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of technicians, writers, artists, performers and intellectuals and shaping attitudes and beliefs.


Exhibits - Digital Images
Museum of Broadcast Communications
Newseum: The Interactive Museum of News
Voices from the Underground: Radical Protest and the Underground Press in the Sixties (University of Connecticut Library)

For High School Students
High School Journalism (ASNE)
Media History Project (University of Minnesota)
Poynter's High School Journalism Guide
Society for Professional Journalists: Resources for Students


Teacher Resources
Journalism Education Association Curriculum
Media Channel's Teaching Toolkit
Media Matters (PBS)
New York Times Learning Network

Society for Professional Journalists: Resources for Educators

Link Lists
American Press Institute - Journalist's Toolbox
Columbia Journalism Review - Resources
Foreign Press Center - Useful Links (State Department)
Jim Romenesko's Media News
News Directory
Yahoo! Full Coverage

Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.
Any reference obtained from this server to a specific commercial product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the United States Government of the product, process, or service, or its producer or provider. The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government.
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Updated: March 2010