Newspapers as we know them first appeared in the 17th century, some time after the printing press was invented, although other methods of written news had been around for longer. Up until the second half of the 20th century, it was the dominant means of communication before the advent of television with many publications for almost every metropolitan area (some of them evening papers). Since the 1990s however, newspapers and print media in general have been struggling due to diminishing interest with the consolidation of 24-hour-news cable channels and radio formats, as well as the arrival of The Internet, and the beginning of the 21st century has seen many publications shutting down.
Most newspapers focus on general information; namely local, national and world news. Also common are sections dedicated to financial and sports news, gossip and comic strips and puzzles. However, there are notorious differences in the amount of given information: The New York Times focuses on international informations, while The Washington Post dabbles in U.S. politics. On the other side, papers such as The Sun emphasise crime and celebrity news. Publications are also differentiated by their political slant, either conservative or liberal. "Weekend" editions (primarily those published on Sunday) are usually bigger and more extensive in information terms, often running special sections not published on weekdays, such as color magazines.
Other papers focus just on one kind of news, most notably financial publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Sports papers are also the most popular in continental Europe. And local newspapers outside the U.S., Canada and Australia will most likely feature local events solely.
The perceived blandness and banality of mainstream newspapers in general has given rise since the 1970s to alternative weeklies, which tend to focus on investigative journalism and pieces deemed too provocative for regular publications. Rolling Stone and Village Voice (actually founded in 1955) were part of the first wave of the "underground press".
Newspapers Around The World:
GermanyGerman publication Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien, first published in 1605, is recognised as the earliest newspaper. Nowadays, newspapers are divided between stolid upmarket publications distributed nationally and sensationalist "boulevard" papers sold in metropolitan areas (the term "tabloid" is not often used as some "boulevards" are printed in other formats)
- Highbrow newspapers include Die Zeit (Hamburg), Die Welt (Berlin), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt) and Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich).
- "Boulevard" newspapers include Bild (Berlin and other cities), Europe's biggest-selling paper. Others include Berliner Kurier (Berlin), Abendzeitung (Munich) and Hamburger Morgenpost (Hamburg).
SpainSpanish press has been greatly influenced by the atmosphere of the Franco era and the Bourbon restoration, with the general press being dominated by national publications and sports papers compensating the absence of a "popular press".
- National newspapers include the liberal El País, the conservative ABC and the moderate El Mundo, among other newspapers produced in other Spanish cities. Many newspapers have also Catalan-language sections for Barcelona.
- Sports newspapers are divided between Madrid and Barcelona, mostly because of their having the country's top teams. AS and Marca will root for Real Madrid while Mundo Deportivo and Sport will support Barcelona F.C.
ArgentinaThe vast majority of the Argentine press is produced in Buenos Aires, and is dominated by La Nación and Clarín, surrounded by a few left-wing newspapers (Página 12 and Tiempo Argentino) and some populist publications (Crónica and sports paper Olé) aside from a number of local publications.
ChileThe Chilean newspaper industry is dominated by El Mercurio and La Tercera note . Both are notoriously right-wing (the former being more conservative, while the latter is —slightly— more liberal). However, with Chile veering to the center-left (given the country's recent history), readership is not too high. Anyways, the few politically-independent dailies since the 1990s have been short-lived, with the exception of free paper Publimetro (part of Metro International).
- Upmarket papers: El Mercurio has been published in Santiago since 1900, and is still published in a broadsheet format. La Tercera is more aimed towards the upper and upper-middle classes, which is somewhat ironic for a former tabloid. La Segunda note is an evening newspaper dedicated to politics.
- Tabloids: Las Últimas Noticias (owned by El Mercurio) and La Cuarta (owned by La Tercera) are mostly focused in sports and gossip, although the former is slightly more of a general-information newspaper while the latter is emphasizes crime and public service. Both are noted by their quirks: Las Últimas Noticias has yellow-lettered headlines while La Cuarta often veers on parody (starting with its title) and usually prints news of sexual nature, including a weekly topless pin-up (although rather tame by Latin American standards).