A serial publication, usually printed on newsprint and issued daily, on certain days of the week, or weekly, containing news, editorial comment, regular columns, letters to the editor, cartoons, advertising, and other items of current and often local interest to a general readership. Some national newspapers are issued twice daily in early and late editions or in different editions for different regions of the country.
According to Warren Chappell, writing in A Short History of the Printed Word (Knopf, 1970), the first modern newspaper of regular publication was Avisa Relation oder Zeitung published by Johan Carolus of Strasbourg beginning in 1609. The British Library provides a list of online resources on newspaper history. Because they can be used to influence public opinion, newspapers are subject to censorship in some countries. In the United States, newspapers once fiercely independent are increasingly owned by mass media conglomerates. Under such conditions, editorial decisions may be subject to pressure from commercial interests.
In libraries, current issues of newspapers are normally available in print, but the back files are usually converted to microfilm or microfiche (or digitized) to conserve space. Most national and regional newspapers offer at least a portion of their content online (example: New York Times). Information on local, regional, and national newspapers can be found in the annual Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media, available in the reference section of most academic and large public libraries.
In the United States, some dailies publish their own printed indexes (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, etc.). The editorial content of a few major dailies is also indexed in general periodical databases. National and regional newspapers are indexed in specialized newspaper databases (example: NewsBank). The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to preserve and catalog newspapers published in the U.S. for research purposes (see Chronicling America, a searchable database of historic American newspapers). Compare with newsmagazine. See also: Acta Diurna, headline, masthead, National Digital Newspaper Program, news library, and newspaper index.