During the 19th century, the United States witnessed the evolution and modernization of journalism. The circulation of newspapers expanded beyond the boundaries of eastern U.S. cities and became available to citizens across a growing nation.
With the outbreak of the American Civil War, there was an escalation in the public demand for information regarding the political state of the divided nation, the movement of troops, engagements, and casualties. The availability of the telegraph and the war correspondent played key roles in the timely provision of information to the public during the conflict.
A movement to reduce sensational reporting occurred at the close of the 18th century, and the public was apprised of growth in the American West and coverage of the Spanish-American War.
In the years preceding World War I, stories regarding political and corporate corruption (muckraking) dominated the American press, followed by a move to provide the public with a higher degree of professionalism in reporting.