How the Mexican-American War Gave Birth to a News-Gathering Institution

The Associated Press Was Built for Speed and Straight Facts

AP staffers at work in New York City headquarters, 195 Broadway, ca. 1912. (AP Photo)

When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States during 1831 and 1832, he was struck by the fact that the young republic had no overpowering metropolis, that “the intelligence and the power of the people are disseminated through all the parts of this vast country.” While New York City was the hotbed of innovative newspapering, much of that innovation was in the service of disseminating the news to the broadest possible audience. The New York Sun, established by Benjamin Day in 1833, led the field in innovation. Eager to sell …

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