San Francisco's Extraordinary Media Heritage - 12 Daily Newspapers
San Francisco's transformation into a bedroom community for Silicon Valley's business parks is a huge mistake because tech companies should be exposing their people to the city's rich diversity and its incredible culture, a history steeped in more than 150 years of media innovations.
San Francisco historian Gary Kamiya, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, tells the story of San Francisco's early newspapers (and the passionate duels using the pen and the gun):
By 1853, 12 dailies were being published in the city. During the 1850s, no fewer than 132 newspapers, including all of the state's six literary journals, saw the light of day in San Francisco.
Historian Hubert Bancroft estimated that during the city's first decade, 1,000 people were working in journalism in San Francisco. Since the city's population in 1860 was 56,800, this meant almost 2 percent of residents were employed by the press — the equivalent of 16,000 today. The city boasted that it published more newspapers than London, and those papers had a per capita circulation greater than New York.
These journals served every constituency and covered every type of news. There were Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Jewish newspapers, medical journals, religious and party papers, shipping and mercantile papers, temperance organs and a police gazette.
He writes that newspapers were popular during the Gold Rush because of the large number of college graduates attracted to dreams of prosperity — which is certainly true today, too.
Earlier this year I wrote a three-part essay on San Francisco's impressive history of media innovation from newspapers to radio, movies to the web... Silicon Valley is a Media Valley.