Every month the American Scottish Foundation spotlights a person or event that illustrates the shared and enduring history, culture, and kinship between the America and Scotland.
JUNE SPOTLIGHT ON JAMES GORDON BENNETT
On June 1, 1872, James Gordon Bennett, the founder, publisher and editor of the New York Herald, dies. Bennett built one of the biggest publishing empires in United States history, his paper becoming the highest circulated in America in 1866.
Bennett was born in Banffshire, Scotland, and at an early age traveled throughout Scotland.
In 1819, he joined a friend who was sailing to North America, landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where Bennett briefly worked as a schoolmaster. to then sail south to Portland, Maine to teach there and in Boston, Massachusetts by 1820.
He worked in New England as a proofreader and bookseller before moving to the Charleston Courier in Charleston,South Carolina. He moved to New York City in 1823, where he worked first as a freelance paper writer and, then, assistant editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer, one of the oldest newspapers in the City.
By May 1835, Bennett began the New York Herald, and with it he transformed American journalism. Historian Robert C. Bannister considered Bennett a talented yet controversial editor who expanded traditional coverage by adding sports reports, a society page, advice columns, and election news while pioneering and coupling tabloid journalism with use of the new technologies of telegraph, pony express, and offshore ships to bring fast news coverage to reach the exploding market–and voters–of working men and women.
Victoria Mary Sharp, ASF Editorial and Marketing