1810 - 1889
Benjamin Day (1810-1889) was a U.S. illustrator and printer. He published the original New York Sun, the first penny press newspaper. He is credited with stretching the truth that came to be known as Sensationalism. He sold the New York Sun to his brother-in-law for $40,000. After selling the New York Sun, Day started the True Sun in 1840. Benday Dots are also named after him. Day started his printing career in 1824, at the Springfield Republican. In 1842, Day created the "Brother Jonathan," which went on to be the first illustrated weekly in the U.S. He imported to the United States the London Plan (a largely antiquated system of newspaper distribution in which the paper carriers buy newspapers in bulk from the publisher and sell the papers to the reading public for a profit). Benjamin Henry Day's Sun was credited with the story written by his editor Richard Adams Locke in which he wrote a story about life on the moon that was fictional, but was received by the general public as fact in the summer of 1835. The publicity of the article was widespread and became famous and at that time and now is referred to as "The Great Moon Hoax". In 1844 Day's brother-in-law tried to capitalize on a controversial story written by Edgar Allan Poe known as "The Great Ballon Hoax" which backfired and did not cause the sensation of the previous hoax. Day constantly quarreled with George Wisner over the publication of abolitionist articles. Day considered himself democratic to Wisner's extreme abolitionist standpoint.
From The New Yorker:The American newspaper business as we know it was born on September 3, 1833, when a twenty-three-year-old publisher named Benjamin Day put out the first edition of the New York Sun. Whereas other papers sold for five or six cents, the Sun cost just a penny. For revenue, Day relied on advertising rather than on subscriptions. Above all, he revolutionized the way papers were distributed. He sold them to newsboys in lots of a hundred to hawk in the street. Before long, Day was the most important publisher in New York.