Top American Newspapers

The First Amendment gives journalistic freedom and protects free speech. This constitutional right has allowed American journalists to investigate and write about some of the most important stories of our times, and influence global journalistic practices. The biggest newspapers in the US are continually recognized for pushing the envelope and breaking barriers.

In this list, we’ll examine the major newspapers in America, newspapers that continuously push for better, high-quality journalism.

Matias Rodsevich  |   
2024-03-17

1. The Washington Post

The Washington Post enjoys a huge online following and has over 70 Pulitzer Prizes to its name. Widely considered as a torch bearer in the newspaper industry, the Washington Post covers the entire spectrum, focusing heavily on US politics. It stands out for the quality of its reporting, investigative journalism, and compelling content. The Washington Post holds a significant presence in the States.

Screenshot of The Washington Post, one of the best american newspapers

2. The New York Times

Since its inception in 1851, The New York Times (or NYT for short) is known worldwide for its extensive and reliable news coverage. The New York Times has firmly inserted itself into US pop culture. It can lay claim to being one of the most influential newspapers in the country, producing thought-provoking op-eds, topical human interest stories, and exclusives to the table. The NYT can claim to be at the forefront of modern newspaper publishing and has a huge influence in shaping public discourse.

Image of The New York Times, one of the best american newspapers

3. Chicago Tribune

Since its founding all the way back in 1847 (yes that long), the Tribune stands as one of the premier newspaper outlets of the United States. It’s easy to see why of course. Known for its reporting and editorial content, the Chicago Tribune has been a significant player in journalism. It provides readers with current events, sports, weather, business, and more topics. Naturally, like its east coast rivals, its influence reaches beyond the windy city. Reaching a broad audience nationwide, it has the power to shape the general public’s opinion.

Image of Chicago Tribune, one of the best american newspapers

4. USA Today

Founded in 1982, USA Today provides a snapshot of daily news. It is known as a widely circulating American newspaper with national coverage. The newspaper is recognized for its colorful layout, infographics, and short articles. USA Today has also become a popular choice for travelers and those looking for a comprehensive yet easily digestible source of news across various topics.

Image of USA Today, one of the best american newspapers

5. Las Vegas Sun

The Las Vegas Sun is a daily newspaper from the original Sin City. It first came about in 1950 and offers up coverage on politics, sports, entertainment, and business. Beyond its traditional print edition, the Las Vegas Sun also maintains an online presence. The newspaper has a significant role in reporting on the distinctive dynamics of Las Vegas, its community intricacies, and the broader issues impacting the region.

Image of Las Vegas Sun, one of the best american newspapers

6. The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal was founded in the year 1889. It delivers coverage of economic and financial matters, and business news within the United States. The newspaper is also renowned for its analytical reporting. The newspaper is known for the level of prestige it enjoys with business leaders and policymakers. It arguably is the leader in the realm of business journalism, catering strongly to business people, those in investment circles and those wanting to stay informed in the world of finance.

7. Los Angeles Times

The city of Los Angeles is the second biggest in the US. Luckily, it has a newspaper fitting its size and importance. Dating back to 1881, The Los Angeles Times exerts a strong influence in the world of newspaper publishing. Today it benefits from a very high daily circulation, and a notable online following. It covers international news but also closely follows the events and news of its native Southern California.

Image of Los Angeles Times, one of the best american newspapers

8. The New Hampshire Gazette

The New Hampshire Gazette is an historic newspaper and this crucial election state for both parties. It dwells on local, international, and national news and community events. The paper can lay a claim to being the oldest in the country, though some dispute this. Today, it offers a range of perspectives across its pages.

9. Star Tribune

Star Tribune is an American newspaper covering local and national news, politics, business, sport, entertainment, and culture. It began in 1867 and stands as one of the biggest newspapers in the region. The newspaper delivers insights into local issues and remains a key player in Minnesota's media landscape and within the whole of the United States.

Image of Star Tribune, one of the best american newspapers

10. New York Post

The New York Post is one of the continuously longest-running published newspapers in the country. It can be traced back to 1801. It covers “hard news,” feature stories, and provides political opinion pieces. It has a conservative-leaning stance and a large audience appeal. It is one of the big five national newspapers for many.

11. HuffPost

HuffPost, once named The Huffington Post, is part of the latest alternative to the more conservative-directed news and media outlets that have dominated the US airwaves and media scene. With diverse content, including a heavy political focus, the HuffPost also publishes culture and lifestyle content for the masses. It has editions in the UK, France, and Canada and has made a mark in digital journalism. Various writers write for it. It is a huge player in the digital space, providing gripping and newsworthy content. It is highly regarded and is known for its liberal political position.

12. San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle serves the San Francisco Bay area, providing analytical coverage of the major events and issues affecting people. It has increased its readership with more diverse audiences. It serves people commentary on a diverse range of topics, ranging from international news, business, the world of entertainment, and financial news.

13. The Denver Post

The Denver Post has a special place for many in the state of Colorado. It has existed since 1892 and enjoys a daily print circulation of around 58,000 copies. Widely respected in the U.S for impactful journalism and for its reporting, The Denver Post today is part of Alden Global Capital. The paper takes a significant portion of the state’s media market share.

14. The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe is one of the biggest and most influential newspapers in the United States. It began in 1872 and has a strong reputation for investigative journalism and reporting. Remember the film ‘Spotlight,’ about the Catholic church abuse scandal in the Boston area? That came from the team’s investigation. There are about 69,000 print subscribers and more than 226,000 digital subscribers. It covers various topics, including politics, business, education, and the arts.

15. The Philadelphia Inquirer

With its headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Inquirer covers the Pennsylvania/Delaware/South New Jersey region, and has done so since it started in June 1829. There is a reason why it has lasted so long. As of now, it has won 20 Pulitzer Prizes and has built up a circulation that is 17th overall in the country. Very impressive indeed.

Breaking news and building democracy

It’s clear that American newspapers only inform the public and uphold the essence of democratic principles, they play a vital role in creating informed citizens, which is an integral part of the democratic nature of the United States.

FAQ

The New York Times is the largest newspaper in the United States in terms of circulation, followed closely by The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times has a total circulation of over 600,000 in print and around 9 million online subscribers. The paper has been majority-owned by the Ochs Sulzberger family since 1896 and saw exponential growth in the 21st century due to its online subscription-based revenue.

The paper is recognized globally, acquiring numerous awards since its establishment. Its success partly relies on its expansive multimedia content. The New York Times launched its website in 1996 which features frequent news updates, newsletters, blogs, and podcasts, as well as platforms like games, YouTube videos, and live blogs. The publication also launched its NYTimes app in 2008, alongside NYT Opinion and NYT Cooking.

While the title of the oldest newspaper in the US is contested, the Hartford Courant is generally seen as the longest-running and continuously published newspaper in the US. The publication issued its first edition in 1764 as a promising news source during the American Revolution. This first issue was printed by Thomas Green and spanned four pages, consisting of excerpts on independence. The paper covered war efforts such as the Boston Tea Party protest and the Battles of Bunker Hill, leading up to the Declaration of Independence.

Today, the Courant is owned by Alden Global Capital and remains a popular news source in Connecticut. The paper has a daily circulation of over 92,000 and has expanded its reach through social media and an online website with daily breaking news.

The ownership structure of American newspapers varies depending on their previous histories and mergers. Similar to most international newspapers, American publications are typically owned by corporations, independent proprietors, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, or are operated through joint ventures. Despite these variations, media cross-ownership persists as the most common type of media ownership in America with multiple media sources being run by joint companies or a single corporation.

Similar to international newspapers, American media companies are limited to cross-ownership of multiple platforms, including broadcasting and printed publications. This law was passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1975 which is why broadcasting and print companies in the United States have mostly stayed separated. Since its creation, this law has been revised several times, now changing to be enacted on a case-by-case basis.

Gannett Co., Inc. is currently the largest newspaper publisher in the United States. Other large corporations include The New York Times Company, Bloomberg, Nash Holdings, and Hearst Communications, all of which own a wide variety of publications within certain US states. While larger companies focus on national and global news, smaller local newspapers that are independent or family-owned have maintained their publications within their community. Many of these have switched to online and digital news.

The ownership of American newspapers is most commonly owned by large corporations that own multiple newspapers across the country so they can share infrastructure and stay afloat with the increasing challenges of printed publications.

The United States was among the first to start Non-profit journalism in the mid-1800s which remains a popular structure. Nonprofit papers in the United States are owned by private foundations, community coalitions, and cooperatives. Publications like ProPublica, The Connecticut Mirror, and The Texas Tribune are some of the most well known American nonprofit newspapers.

American newspaper publications have embraced digital communications and are active on many platforms. The best way to reach out to these newspapers is through identifying the right contact. You can typically find contact information through the publication's website, or social media channels like Twitter, and LinkedIn where you can directly find reporters and editors.

Matias Rodsevich
CEO of PRHive
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