The Publick Occurrences newspaper was published in Boston in 1690. However, all copies were destroyed and the publisher arrested. The first successful newspaper was the Boston News-Letter, published by postmaster John Campbell in 1704.
Some preliminary remarks are in order on the subject of just what "news" is, anyway. We normally think of news as a particular kind of historical reality, which could probably be defined analytically. That is a mystification of the subject. If journalists are experts on anything, it is their audience, and not some other aspect of reality. Viewed "pheomenologically," news is simply what made it into today's paper or news broadcast. There are now 188 countries, 5 billion people, and thousands of things that "happened" yesterday. Only the ones that actually made the paper became news. Tomorrow will have its own news, so the rejected events will never be news. Of course they might be part of later historical reconstructions of our time. One might think, in such a case, that the journalists just blew it - if you really thought that news was of the same nature as history. But news is not about history, really, but about profits, when publishers are thinking clearly, and newspaper publishers were thinking clearly from the very beginning.
Our second preliminary point is that there is no necessity of thinking of news as daily. It used to come along irregularly when people, exercising their own judgment, decided that something they heard was unusually interesting or important, and passed it on. People maintained their normal standards of honor and truth in spreading this news, so everyone knew about how far to trust the information. They were not awed by the institutional stature of giant news corporations. That changed in the seventeenth century, when people got used to the idea that there was an absolutely regular quota of news, which was vouched for by transcendent sources. Daily news then became a steady stream of perceptions, the stream of society's consciousness. One participated in society in a new way.
The history of newspapers is an often-dramatic chapter of the human experience going back some five centuries. In Renaissance Europe handwritten newsletters circulated privately among merchants, passing along information about everything from wars and economic conditions to social customs and "human interest" features. The first printed forerunners of the newspaper appeared in Germany in the late 1400's in the form of news pamphlets or broadsides, often highly sensationalized in content. Some of the most famous of these report the atrocities against Germans in Transylvania perpetrated by a sadistic veovod named Vlad Tsepes Drakul, who became the Count Dracula of later folklore.
In America the first newspaper appeared in Boston in 1690, entitled Publick Occurrences. Published without authority, it was immediately suppressed, its publisher arrested, and all copies were destroyed. Indeed, it remained forgotten until 1845 when the only known surviving example was discovered in the British Library. The first successful newspaper was the Boston News-Letter, begun by postmaster John Campbell in 1704. Although it was heavily subsidized by the colonial government the experiment was a near-failure, with very limited circulation. Two more papers made their appearance in the 1720's, in Philadelphia and New York, and the Fourth Estate slowly became established on the new continent. By the eve of the Revolutionary War, some two dozen papers were issued at all the colonies, although Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania would remain the centers of American printing for many years. Articles in colonial papers, brilliantly conceived by revolutionary propagandists, were a major force that influenced public opinion in America from reconciliation with England to full political independence.
The industrial revolution, as it transformed all aspects of American life and society, dramatically affected newspapers. Both the numbers of papers and their paid circulations continued to rise. The 1850 census catalogued 2,526 titles. In the 1850's powerful, giant presses appeared, able to print ten thousand complete papers per hour. At this time the first "pictorial" weekly newspapers emerged; they featured for the first time extensive illustrations of events in the news, as woodcut engravings made from correspondents' sketches or taken from that new invention, the photograph. During the Civil War the unprecedented demand for timely, accurate news reporting transformed American journalism into a dynamic, hardhitting force in the national life. Reporters, called "specials," became the darlings of the public and the idols of youngsters everywhere. Many accounts of battles turned in by these intrepid adventurers stand today as the definitive histories of their subjects.