This article by John D. Thiesen comes from the September issue of The Mennonite, which focuses on “135 years” of The Mennonite and Gospel Herald.
Newspapers and magazines as we think of them today (and as they undergo major transformation in technology) were mainly a phenomenon originating in 17th-century Europe to provide information in support of trade and commerce. Technological and social changes in the first half of the 19th century allowed a major expansion in the role of newspapers. Steam-driven and rotary printing presses made printing much faster. Wood-pulp paper made paper itself much cheaper. Increases in education and literacy greatly expanded potential readership. The “penny press” of the 1830s emerged from these changes, where newspapers were affordable by and marketed to the nonelite parts of the population.
Find the full article at this link.