The growth of newspapers across the U.S.: 1690-2011


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Rural papers doing better than their city counterparts
Victoria Jarvis
Victoria Jarvis
Jul 05, 2011 01:47 PM
How was this map calculated? What stats are being used to define "community newspaper?" Especially when High Country News makes the list, but papers less than 100 miles away from Paonia are left off the list, such at the Watch, covering Telluride area along with Montrose, Ridgway, Ouray and Norwood. In fact, two community newspapers run out of Telluride, while Telluride isn't even on the map! This is a strange and incomplete interactive feature.
Brent Lathrop
Brent Lathrop Subscriber
Jul 05, 2011 02:37 PM
I'm having problems with it too, I noticed Gordon, NE listed in 1844 as having a newspaper, to my knowledge there was no American newspaper of any kind let alone enough Euro-Americans to read it in that area of the Great Plains until much later. In fact Gordon wasn't even a town until the 1880s I believe.
Geoff McGhee
Geoff McGhee
Jul 05, 2011 04:08 PM
Victoria and Brent- Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. To explain the larger context of this database, while the Library of Congress' collection is exhaustive, it is not necessarily complete. There is some fuzziness in this data, and a fair amount of missing information. Moreover, there is no attempt made to differentiate mass-market newspapers from small, medium or "community" papers, although those are frequently weeklies. I'll be adding a panel that explains more about the background of this project, and what you can do to help us improve the data set. For starters, we've set up a Google form by which you can submit information on publications you believe have been left out:

Brent, as far as place names, we are using contemporary descriptions (city, state, county) that might not have been applicable when the newspaper was originally published. For example, the Rocky Mountain News was started in Cherry Creek, Kansas – what we know of today as Denver, CO. In order to get latitude and longitude coordinates to place the points on a map, we needed to use modern place names. I hope this is helpful, and please don't hesitate to follow up here or via email (geoff.mcghee at stanford)

Best wishes,

Steve Snyder
Steve Snyder Subscriber
Jul 05, 2011 09:03 PM
Geoff, but ... by what you're saying to Brent, there should instead be a town called "City X, Unorganized Territory" (since Kansas and Nebraska weren't made "organized" territories until the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act) representing the place that's now Gordon, Neb. Instead, I think Brent's right on this ... there was no city there, then, and this is bad data.
Geoff McGhee
Geoff McGhee
Jul 05, 2011 09:18 PM
Thanks for pointing those out, I appreciate it. I think another outlier is the Colville Washington Patriot, should be 1918 from what I can find from other sources. I'm going to add that to the list of fixes. I'll also be adding a "corrections" form.

As a tip, note that you can click on the detailed listing at the bottom of the page and it will take you to the Library of Congress citation that we based this on.