Visualization of the Week: The growth of newspapers in the U.S. from 1690 to date

An interactive visualization maps the spread of newspapers across the U.S.

In an interactive visualization created by the Stanford University Rural West Initiative, we get a sense of the long-term growth of the newspaper industry. The data goes way back to 1690 when Boston’s “Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick” made its debut (that paper was promptly shut down four days after its first publication by the colonial governor, who denounced it as “Without the least Privity or Countenance of Authority”).

The Stanford visualization maps in time and space the 140,000 some-odd newspapers that have been published in the U.S. over the course of the last 300 years. The data comes from the Library of Congress’ “Chronicling America” project.

Screen from the Stanford University Rural West Initiative newspaper visualization
A screenshot from the Stanford University Rural West Initiative newspaper visualization. Click to see the full interactive version.

Using the slider on the interactive visualization, you can see how newspapers spread across the country, growing and shrinking in various cities. You can also filter the results to see publications in different languages.

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