Friday, December 21, 2007

Acta Diurna to Times

The first published newspaper was the Acta Diurna in Rome from 59 BC; it had sections for the news from the Roman Forum, and I am sure, a Sports Section, of drama from the Coliseum. The evolution of newspapers from then to now is simple: basically they spread geographically, became mechanized, added ads, photos and eventually color, collided with other industries from Radio, TV to the Internet, and now are struggling but still very much a force (at least in my life).

One of the fascinating aspects of newspaper publishing (and of my research interest) is that of advertisements (see an early ad on the left; more info here). Very little has changed since the early days. The timeline sees first full page ads, first double columns ones, first ad agency, and so on, but basically, the negotiation between the publishers and advertisers for determining the price, advertiser's targeting and expectations, determining how effective the ads are, etc. have changed little in the past 300+ years. It was good to see a mildly-coaxing article in the current issue of Presstime (magazine of the Newspaper Association of America) about trying new business models. Unfortunately, the article is not online.


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