How were the 1980s an era of consolidation and change for American media?

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The 1980s was the decade that saw the great upheavals and change in history in regard to media.  From newspapers, magazines, and books to radio and television, Americans saw the way media was produced and consumed undergo drastic makeovers. 

Newspapers were one of the first sectors of media to get a new look.  In 1982, USA Today began publication. Unlike the ubiquitous black-and-white dailies of the past, this young upstart featured colorful graphs and charts as well as full-color photographs. “Legitimate” newspapers around the country poo-pooed the new paper.  They castigated USA Today’s short articles and leanings toward “lighter” fare, such as celebrity news and polls. However, in just four years, USA Today surpassed one million in daily circulation.  While this number was not earth-shattering, the competition took notice and began incorporating the new paper's techniques. However, because printing in color is  expensive, many older papers of the past could not afford the...

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