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Bennett, James Gordon

Bennett, James Gordon, 1795–1872, American newspaper proprietor, b. Keith, Scotland. He came to America in 1819 and won a reputation as Washington correspondent of the New York Enquirer and later (1829–32) as assistant editor of the combined Courier and Enquirer. On May 6, 1835, he launched his New York Herald, a new penny paper of four four-column pages. His capital totaled $500 and his office was a Wall St. cellar, yet in less than a year the paper sold almost 15,000 copies daily. Bennett's innovations made the Herald a landmark in the history of American journalism: in his brief editorials he criticized all political parties he included new fields of news, notably that of Wall St. finance he first established (1838) European correspondents for his paper he first used the telegraph extensively in newspaper work and he first used illustrations for news articles. Although the Herald initially gained an audience by playing up sensational and cheap news, it later earned a reputation as a full and accurate paper, particularly in the period of the Civil War, when Bennett employed 63 war correspondents and spent $525,000 on war reporting.

See O. Carlson, The Man Who Made News: James Gordon Bennett (1942).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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