Abstract: The Metropolitan Newspaper in a Global Economy, 1910-2010

Michael Stamm


This paper connects two histories of the past century: the evolution of the American metropolitan newspaper and the creation of the free trade policies undergirding the modern global economy. To do this, I explore the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>'s Canadian papermaking operations, which began after 1913 when the U.S. government lifted the duty on newsprint produced in Canada. Through building factories in Canada to produce cheaper newsprint, the <em>Tribune</em> grew quickly into one of the most influential daily newspapers in the United States, and the duty-free American importation of newsprint in turn spurred the development of one of Canada's most important industrial commodities. This paper offers an analysis of how trade policy, like postal policy, has provided "hidden" subsidies to the newspaper business. Newspapers have long shaped public knowledge and often prospered financially as a result of state assistance, not as result of absolute freedom from state regulation. Ultimately, I hope to demonstrate that the twentieth-century metropolitan newspaper was an institution that was as much a product of a global context as it was a local, and to show that American newspaper publishers were key agents of change in the history of North American free trade.