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The information industry in the United States is one of the most dynamic and quickly-growing sectors of an economy that was struggling to recover from recession in the middle of To say the least, communication industries are not an inconsiderable part of the U.

Since , the United States experienced a massive speculative boom in the stock market, fueled mainly if not entirely by companies that promised to use the limitless potential of the Internet to deliver every possible type of service to the home consumer.

That speculative bubble burst in the first half of , shortly after the contested George W. Bush versus Al Gore presidential election was finally decided.

Uncertainty over the future course of the country, combined with a growing impatience with seemingly empty promises from Internet companies, caused a massive contraction in equities markets throughout and sent the U.

The business climate was still stagnant in September , when terrorists struck at the heart of the U. The economic news was improving somewhat in the summer of , but the long-term outlook remained uncertain.

The falling stock market affected not only Internet companies but other corporations as well, including publicly-held media companies and many of their major advertisers.

Many media companies were already coming to terms with falling advertising revenues before the terrorist attacks.

The aftermath of September 11 caused businesses to rethink capital expenditures and shift comparatively more money into security-related spending and less into advertising.

Newspapers were hurt by declining advertising but were helped somewhat by a rise in newspaper circulation since the attacks and subsequent U.

However, as of the summer of , those short-term circulation gains seemed to be evaporating. Newspapers make up only one portion of the mass media in the United States, and they make up a declining percentage of the media market.

Although the economic census listed 8, newspaper publishers including daily and weekly papers and 6, periodical publishers, it also listed 6, radio broadcasters; 1, television broadcasters; 4, cable broadcasters; and 14, information and data services processing firms.

With the recent growth of Internet businesses, print media are taking up an ever smaller share of the media audience. Although both print and broadcast revenues continued to grow throughout and , the rate at which newspapers grew, 6.

By comparison, information and data processing services grew One bright spot in the comparison of newspapers to broadcasting agencies has been that newspapers are generally retaining readers better than broadcasters are retaining viewers.

In the summer of , the news organizations of the three major networks all reported precipitous declines in the number of viewers their news programs were able to capture.

Most newspapers in the United States are part of newspaper chains, owned by corporations that control from two to several hundred papers.

Although some newspapers are still held privately or controlled by families or trusts, the trend of corporate ownership proliferated in the s and s.

A total of only ten companies own newspapers that account for more than half of the United States' daily circulation, and three of those ten companies are privately held.

In the early s, chain ownership was one of the most hotly debated trends in the United States media. Critics of chains worry about consolidating so much circulation, power, and influence in the hands of a relatively few people, charging that corporate newspapers accept a corporate mentality that substitutes concern for profits and stock prices for journalistic integrity and independence.

Another concern is corporate standardization. Recently, Knight-Ridder raised eyebrows across the journalistic world when it converted all of its newspapers' Internet sites to a standard corporate model, including that of the San Jose Mercury-News , which pioneered Internet newspapers.

The newspapers' "Real Cities" sites, which are at Web addresses such as kansascity. One major consequence of corporate buying is that early s sprees inflated the value of newspapers out of proportion to their actual profit margins.

With corporate owners increasingly concerned about servicing their debts, cost cutting seems to be the only way to ensure a cash flow great enough to meet obligations to debtors.

More often than not, this means staff cuts, since the major cost centers in newspapers are people and newsprint, and newsprint costs are constant and generally rising.

Of particular concern to many observers of the media scene is the increasing proportion of publishers and even general managers who come from a background in business, instead of in journalism.

There is a prevailing feeling among many editors that an MBA may qualify a person to run a business but that a publisher with a business background may subvert the interests of the newspaper and its editorial independence.

Of particular concern are the effect of corporate decisions on editorial content and the question of whether editorial matters may be subverted in the interest of or at the request of advertisers and other business interests of the corporation.

Some journalists have increasingly insisted on making a "full disclosure" when reporting or commenting on movies, books, or programming produced by another arm of a massive corporation.

A good example would be a commentator for Time criticizing a movie produced by Time Warner, Inc. This type of disclosure, however, is only helpful in allowing those readers who were not aware of such cross-ownership to find out about it in the act of reading; it does not provide insight into the editorial decisions that produced the article or commentary in the first place, and it leaves the magazine or newspaper open to concerns of undue corporate influence.

On the other hand, corporate ownership may actually benefit many small-to medium-sized newspapers by creating a company-wide pool of resources and talent that the company can draw upon to make individual newspapers better.

Corporate ownership can mean corporate discounts on newsprint, ink, printing presses, and other supplies, and can mean skilled help from within the corporation when presses break, lawsuits are threatened, or disasters strike newspapers.

Corporate ownership combined with public financing can also mean that companies have an available pool of money from which to draw for special projects, better coverage, and the hiring process.

The individual effect of corporate ownership undoubtedly varies from company to company and from newspaper to newspaper.

Some papers that operated alone at a very high level might find themselves stifled by a corporate mindset that asks publishers to justify any expense to the head office; on the other hand, an infusion of corporate money, talent, and resources is a godsend to any number of struggling papers.

However, the experience of being bought and sold invariably leads to a period of uncertainty for employees of a newspaper, as the new company generally makes changes in the management structure, management philosophies, and management personnel, to say nothing of other hirings and firings that may affect jobs and morale in the newsroom and in the rest of the paper.

Small changes are magnified at small newspapers, which generally have smaller staffs than larger-circulation papers and are thus more likely to be affected by cuts that could be thought insignificant at larger organizations.

Half of the newspapers in the United States have circulations below 13, readers, and of those papers fully 47 percent changed hands in the six years between and One unique exception to corporate ownership, and one way that some multi-newspaper cities have managed to keep operating, is through joint operating agreements JOAs.

Created in as an exemption to anti-trust laws, JOAs allow two or three competing papers to merge business and production operations while keeping news-rooms separate and continuing to produce multiple newspapers.

Of the others, all except two ended with one newspaper failing, moving to weekly publication, or merging with the other paper.

About 79 percent of American adults had looked at a newspaper within the past week at the time of the survey. Of people who had a college degree, Interestingly, white and black Americans read newspapers at equal levels: The same survey found that people who were more poorly educated watched slightly more television; 94 percent of people without a high-school degree watched television in the past week, compared with Income had little effect on television viewing, but it did have a dramatic effect on Internet usage.

Education levels made an even more dramatic difference; only Advertising revenues remain a major concern for newspaper publishers.

In , the last year for which figures were available, newspapers saw a precipitous drop in advertising expenditures on the part of businesses.

Retail, national, and classified advertising fell each quarter compared with the same quarter in , which was itself down compared to spending.

Total advertising expenditures fell 4. Classified advertising, which comprises the bulk of most small newspapers' ad revenues, took the greatest hit, declining National advertising fell by 8.

The drop in advertising revenues year-to-year has been of great concern to publishers, who rely on advertising for most of their profits.

Short-term circulation gains have been evaporating at many newspapers, and many papers continue to face shrinking circulations and the prospect of falling ad revenues as well.

Any cuts that come out of papers have to come from within, with employees bearing the brunt of the cuts. Most newspapers still strive to maintain at least a 1: This means in general that news and advertising lineage—a somewhat archaic term— should be approximately equal throughout the newspaper in order for the day's advertising to pay for the daily press run.

Ideally, the ad ratio should be skewed slightly farther in the direction of advertising in order to maximize profits and to cost-justify the number of pages appearing in a paper, but most newspapers will generally provide an "open page" when the city desk asks for more space for a certain package of stories or for a long-standing special report.

Needless to say, such a ratio is not achieved every day, nor is it achieved through display advertising alone. Weekly inserts and changes in the number of ads placed in the paper day-by-day have a large effect on papers' ad ratios.

With a large portion of a newspaper's revenues coming from advertising, it is no surprise that advertisers sometimes attempt to influence editorial policy, especially with regard to stories that have the potential to adversely affect their businesses.

Pressures from individual advertisers can sometimes sway weaker or smaller newspapers to change editorial coverage or even abandon stories entirely.

The effect of such pressure, as one might imagine, depends almost entirely upon the portion of a paper's revenue that an individual advertiser provides; the relative editorial strength and independence of the paper's owners; and the newspaper's standing in the community.

Another collection of groups that may affect newspaper coverage of certain events is the various special-interest lobbies that exist across the country.

Lobbying organizations command a disproportionate amount of newspaper coverage compared with their actual power and the amount of the population they represent essentially because of their skill at "working the media" and ensuring that they provide newsworthy events on command.

Special-interest lobbies command news attention not so much through pressure or coercion as through the nature of various stunts and "media events" they stage.

Stories on hot-button issues, such as abortion and gun control, often are the province of special-interest lobbies because reporters tend to call them for easy quotes and to create "balance" in stories, rather than doing the sometimes more difficult work of talking to people in the community who might have more complex, but possibly more representative, views on the issues.

Though newspaper audiences tend to be more affluent than the rest of the population, newsroom employees tend not to be particularly well-paid compared to other groups.

Exact data for newspaper pay scales can be difficult to come by, given that the Census Bureau does not break down wage data from the communications sector to specific categories or wage levels within individual communications sectors.

However, wage data taken from the Economic Census of the United States, taken in , suggest that newspaper workers in general are paid well below the more general communications sector and slightly below the average wage for the rest of the United States.

To expand this view to other forms of media, we find newspaper workers again near the bottom of the pay scale. Between and , there were two major newspaper strikes in the United States, in Detroit and in Seattle.

There were also minor work stoppages at several newspapers, and as of the summer of , there was a curious "byline strike" ongoing at the Washington Post.

The relatively small number of strikes in the s partly reflects the economic boom of the decade and partially reflects the dwindling influence unions have over the press.

The major labor unions in the U. One group of unions represented compositors, typesetters, printers, and other persons who were skilled laborers mainly in charge of actually printing the paper.

The other group of unions, of which the Newspaper Guild is the survivor, represented reporters, copy editors, and photographers—once blue-collar, hourly-wage occupations that over the course of the twentieth century gradually became white-collar, professionalized, salaried jobs.

Offset technology utterly erased jobs once held by compositors and typesetters, and it took much of the older type of skilled labor out of printing.

The elimination of lead type in favor of offset plates means that copy editors and designers can now typeset a page in one computer mouse-click.

In the s, newspapers gained the capability to create negatives and even press plates directly from the newsroom, eliminating the legions of skilled workers once needed to make that transition.

The new offset presses also brought with them a dramatic fall in labor costs; although Ben Bradlee was wrong when he observed that one man could push a button and a newspaper would be printed, the offset presses do require much less labor to run.

Printers' unions still represent the men and women who run offset presses, but their jobs have become more easily replaceable over time.

In addition, the fact that as of large corporations held most newspapers shifted the balance of power decisively in favor of management; companies in the early s have large pools of employees and deep pockets whose reserves that they can use to break a strike.

The Newspaper Guild also has seen a decline in its relative importance and its membership. The Guild was formed in , and members once identified closely with printers and other hourly-wage workers and against their editors and the newspaper's management.

Ironically, though, increasing job mobility and wage scales for reporters, editors, and photographers have increased class distinctions between the newsroom and the pressroom.

In addition, the growing importance newspapers place on individual reporters, and the recent phenomenon of reporters becoming stars in their own right and being promoted as a result of their reporting, has meant that the ranks of management are increasingly filled with those who once were reporters and editors, blurring distinctions even further.

The Guild's membership peaked at 34, in and has been falling ever since. Overall, the percentage of newspaper workers who are union members has dropped from about 17 to 20 percent in to about 10 percent in The largest newspaper strike of the s illustrates these trends in dramatic fashion.

Tensions in both papers simmered until July 13, , when 2, employees of both papers, represented by six unions, walked off the job.

Gannett and Knight-Ridder, publishers of the News and Free Press , both vowed to continue publication and did. Strikers encouraged union workers in Detroit, a union-heavy and union-friendly city, to boycott the paper, and they did.

The result of the strike was disaster for both sides, as circulation, advertising dollars, news-room morale, and salaries all fell. The strike lasted for 19 months, or a total of days.

By October some 40 percent of striking workers were back on the job, but the newspapers continued to struggle. The papers saw a ,paper drop in circulation, which as of had not been regained.

The unions failed to shut the newspapers down, and the papers have been slow to rehire union members, many of whom took jobs elsewhere or moved out of the newspaper business.

The lasting result of the strike has been bitterness and acrimony on both sides. Following the Detroit strike, the only other major strike as of was in Seattle, where employees of the Seattle News walked out over a new contract at the end of The Seattle strike lasted 49 days, and ended at last when the Guild accepted a contract that was essentially identical to the one it had rejected initially.

An interesting development in recent years has been the resurgence of "byline strikes," whereby reporters, columnists, and sometimes photographers refuse to publish bylines with their stories.

The impact on a paper's credibility is hard to gauge, though readers have reported frustration in their inability to identify writers and thus their inability to effectively complain about stories that they might not like.

Subsequently, on June 5, , Washington Post employees staged a by line strike to protest the Post 's policy that they write stories both for the newspaper and for the Post 's Web site.

The Newspaper Guild called on reporters to delete their bylines both from the paper and from the paper's Web site. The Post was the first newspaper to attempt such a strike, in , and the effect was mixed at best.

Many observers have pointed out that most readers tend to ignore bylines in any case, with the obvious exception of syndicated columns.

In , the effect of the Post employees' effort remained to be seen. Newspapers across the United States are remarkably homogenous in terms of their price.

Audit Bureau of Circulations numbers from show that nearly all U. Fully 76 percent of the Audit Bureau of Circulations members that release single-copy costs charge 50 cents for their newspapers.

The availability and price of newsprint remained relatively volatile through the late s and early s, with newspapers' desire to maintain a constant stock of paper colliding with supply constraints in the newsprint milling system.

In , newspapers used 11,, metric tons of newsprint, a 1. Stocks on hand remained relatively constant, with newspapers keeping an average of 43 days' supply on hand in and Newsprint is one of the two major cost centers in newspaper publishing, with the other being labor costs.

To reduce newsprint costs, many papers have been converting to a smaller "web width" to conserve paper, which is priced per ton.

The smaller web width—50 inches at most papers, down from 52 or 54 inches—means that papers are getting perceptibly narrower, and is partially responsible for driving redesigns at many newspapers.

The major effect of the shorter width that most consumers notice is that the page takes on a substantially more vertical feel, with story packages stripped down the sides of pages instead of being in horizontally boxed formats.

The return to verticality of design is in some ways a throwback to the days before offset printing, when stories were confined to a single column by the technology of the lead type case.

The offset press has also benefited considerably from the revolution in computer technology that newspapers have taken advantage of through the s and s.

The advent of the Macintosh computer and the laser printer in marked the beginning of the desktop publishing revolution and caused newspapers to realize many of the inherent capabilities of the offset press.

Computers in many ways have vastly simplified the problems of copy flow throughout newsrooms, forever destroying the position of the copyboy.

Copy can now flow relatively seamlessly from the reporter's laptop through phone lines and directly to the printing plate without any "hard copy" ever being printed.

Design programs freed designers from the tyranny of the six-or seven-column front, allowing stories to be stripped across pages, story elements to be horizontal rather than vertical, and graphics technology to be employed to create maps, charts, and other visual elements that draw readers into the page.

Offset presses also tend to make it easier for newspapers to print four-color art, including photographs and graphics, and to increase the amount of colored elements on the page.

In , The Wall Street Journal , for years the last bastion of strict vertical design in the United States, redesigned to use color in all of its sections and actually broke headlines across two columns on its front page.

Distribution networks continue to be a problem for many newspapers, especially those in large cities that have a very time-sensitive population and large traffic problems.

Interestingly, the shift to morning publication has meant that many newspapers can be somewhat more flexible with distribution times. Afternoon papers, by their nature absolutely have to arrive by a certain time each day, while most people will not notice the difference between a 4 a.

In many smaller newspapers, individual carriers, who are independent contractors, are still the preferred method for delivering subscriptions, while the circulation department might own or rent a van or truck to fill up racks across the circulation area.

Bigger metropolitan papers, however, usually employ a mixture of carriers, delivery vans, and trucks, and contract with individual commercial companies to distribute newspapers.

Recently, many papers have discontinued home delivery for their outlying circulation areas, relying instead on mail services for distribution.

At the beginning of , about 44 percent of papers owned their own distribution vehicles; 29 percent contracted; Freedom of the press in the United States rests on a firm constitutional bulwark.

The First Amendment, and the other nine amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights, is now generally construed as being intended to provide citizens with specific protections against an aggrandizement of power by the federal government.

Most state governments had their own Bills of Rights at the time the Constitution was written, and many had stronger protections than the new federal constitution provided.

The United States legal system mixes statute law, common law, and administrative law in what can seem a confusing mishmash of rules. In general, however, most of what we think of as "First Amendment law" comes from U.

The court's decisions have common-law value and are constitutionally unchallengeable. In addition, a long-standing recourse to precedents in the common law in courts of appeals and the Supreme Court means that prior decisions generally hold a great deal of value when deciding present cases.

What this means for contemporary observers is that Supreme Court decisions tend to be construed by other lawmaking bodies in terms of general rules, or tests, to be followed in determining the limits of expression.

In fact, many of the court's decisions are written with a view towards providing, amplifying, correcting or challenging prior decisions and general rules.

Although the federal Congress is generally loath to pass laws that obviously restrict free expression or challenge established precedents, it can and does pass new laws that fall into the many gray areas created by a common-law system and which have to be adjudicated by the courts.

The federal and state governments, of course, are always at liberty to grant more freedoms to their citizens than are specifically provided for in laws and court decisions.

When James Madison was asked to write the First Amendment, he began work in a political climate that was acutely aware of the long history of the suppression of press freedoms by British authorities, dating back to Elizabethan times.

Moreover, the amendment was written to satisfy Antifederalist opponents of the Constitution who feared that a strong central government would unavoidably usurp state privileges and encroach upon the rights of the common citizen.

Despite Madison's intentions, the despotic power of the federal government would be given full force during Federalist John Adams' presidency, when Congress passed a series of Alien and Sedition Acts.

The acts, which were generally aimed at Antifederalist printers and suspicious foreigners who were supporters of Thomas Jefferson, succeeded in jailing some 40 Antifederalist editors and deporting several hundred supporters of the French Revolution.

They had the somewhat unintended effect of creating a widespread disgust for the Federalist Party and helped Jefferson win the election of The acts were quietly left to die, never challenged in court; however, the principle of judicial review was not part of the U.

Madison case in Press freedoms would again be suppressed by governments during the nineteenth century, but those acts took place on a much more local scale.

For example, Andrew Jackson suppressed presses in New Orleans that were sympathetic to the British during the War of During the great sectional debates over slavery that led up to the Civil War, the postal service routinely denied abolitionist newspapers delivery in the South, and President Lincoln, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and a host of generals on both sides attacked and suspended printing presses during the Civil War.

However, there were no major Supreme Court decisions concerning the First Amendment during the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries.

The country had to wait for the turmoil and agitation surrounding the outbreak of World War I for court decisions to articulate definitive theories of First Amendment freedoms.

The one major question that all observers agree on pertains to the freedom from prior restraint. At its base, the First Amendment was designed to prevent federal government—and, because of later decisions, state and local governments—from stopping newspapers and other media from publishing.

This idea is generally construed to mean that a system of prior restraint or press licensing, like the colonies had under British rule, is proscribed.

Furthermore, the amendment is construed to ban any governmental action that would have the effect of creating a system of prior restraint or of subjecting the press to any form of censorship.

The major prior restraint case, Near v. Minnesota , indicated that the form of government action was less important than its effect on the press.

United States found restraint to be unconstitutional. The Near decision also noted that even if expression is unlawful, it is better punished after the fact than by restraining its publication altogether.

At a very basic level, then, the major question that arises from this assumption is whether press freedom consists of only freedom from prior restraint, or whether press freedom should be construed to include some protections from after-the-fact litigation related to materials already published.

The question was not settled in favor of proscribing government interference through criminal sanctions until Schenck v.

United States was handed down in The original theory of free speech guarantees owes its origins to the publication of John Milton's Areopagitica.

Milton's theory of press freedom rests upon the concept of a "marketplace of ideas" in which rational debate can take place. In such a marketplace, good and bad ideas can be given full expression and can be freely debated.

In such a system, constitutional protection is given to good ideas as well as bad ideas with full confidence in truth eventually emerging.

Protection of all ideas is guaranteed because only their eventual death or survival in the marketplace will tell how truthful or false they are.

The concept of a marketplace of ideas enjoyed a renaissance in the press around the turn of the twentieth century; immediately before then, of course, newspapers supported individual political parties and tended not to view themselves as open forums for discussion.

This theory was espoused most famously in cases such as Abrams v. United States , Gitlow v. New York , and Whitney v. Gitlow is especially important as being the first time the First Amendment protections of free speech were held to be binding on state governments; for a variety of reasons, the course of court decisions following the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment meant that each individual amendment had to be applied against the state governments.

The next major development in theories of press freedom is the Meiklejohn thesis, named for its author, the philosopher Abraham Meiklejohn.

In the early s, Meiklejohn argued that the basis for press freedom rests upon the fact that the United States is a self-governing society. He argued that the First Amendment is designed to protect the specific type of speech by which U.

In essence, Meiklejohn's argument rests on the idea that the people delegate certain powers to government but reserve to themselves the right of oversight of government.

Meiklejohn would also add to the First Amendment coverage for speech in all aspects of artistic, literary, scientific, educational, and philosophical endeavors because the ability of people to govern themselves effectively depends so heavily on cultivating educated rationality.

Sullivan and, in a decision that expresses the idea in an earlier form, Near v. Sullivan is the defamation case in which the court set forth a strict standard that public officials must follow to prove libel against them.

The court's rationale in treating with skepticism libel claims by officials is rooted in the belief that public governance relies on full and vigorous criticism of officials performing their duties and that falsehoods ought only be libelous if they are printed with actual malice and a reckless disregard for the truth.

Near is best known for being the first time the court found the First Amendment's freedom of the press clause to be binding on state governments.

It also was the case that placed prior restraint of the press beyond the pale of government action.

Other theories of the role of the First Amendment exist, though in less well-reasoned forms. One common interpretation is that the First Amendment functions as a "safety valve" through which extreme elements of society can vent their anger in a safer way than revolution.

Another argument, which has gained increasing currency with the growing acceptance of psychological theories of development, is that the ability to freely express oneself is fundamental to individual development and growth.

This latter interpretation places the First Amendment within the realm of fundamental human rights, rather than simply constitutional rights guaranteed by government.

The Supreme Court has applied these theories to actual cases in a variety of ways. In general, the court has attempted to arrive at decisions which inherently provide observers with a variety of operative tests to use when considering whether some form of speech is permitted or not.

Those tests can generally be seen as corresponding to any one of a variety of fundamental tests of the First Amendment. The most basic definition of the First Amendment is that it provides a central core of protection for any expression in all circumstances.

This is known as the absolutist approach to First Amendment law, and it takes its basic approach from the language of the amendment.

Absolutists can believe that no law quite literally means no law, but they express this belief in a variety of ways.

Most absolutists, despite the name, do understand that there are conditions under which speech can reasonably be restricted; the famous example of crying "Fire" in a theater is the obvious one.

The absolutist approach generally defines "law" as including administrative regulations as well as legislative decisions and tends to argue that restrictions on free expression must be contentneutral.

Permissible regulations would focus only on limiting the time, place, and manner of the expression and would be narrowly drawn to restrict the amount of latitude governments would have to restrict speech.

The absolutist approach, then, seeks to protect all types of speech, while realizing that communities have a responsibility to protect people's safety and to ensure that speech does not become a nuisance.

The time, place, and manner of restrictions could be drawn to take into account the individual needs of communities—no protests at midnight, on public highways, or on the field during public sporting events, for example—as long as they did not interfere with the substance of the regulation.

In essence, time, place, and manner restrictions would have to be entirely incidental to speech to be permissible. Another test of the First Amendment which has claimed a broader following than the absolutist approach is called the "clear and present danger" test.

Like the absolutist approach, it is rooted in the ideal of a free market in ideas, but it is more restrictive than the absolutist because it argues that the content of some types of speech can be restricted.

The first expression of this test was in the decision of Schenck v. The case focused on a leaflet issued by the American Socialist Party which called on young men to resist the draft in World War I.

Schenck, a party officer, was arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act of by inciting insubordination in the military.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, a Civil War veteran, argued that Schenck's indictment was allowable because the leaflet presented "a clear and present danger" of bringing about insubordination, a problem which Congress had a legitimate right to prevent or about which Congress had at least the right to legislate.

The problem with the clear and present danger test, of course, is that how clear and how present the danger is largely subjective. Moreover, the test's application would vary according to external circumstances; forms of speech permissible in peacetime might be censored in wartime.

Speech might also face different restrictions as a result of the speaker's proximity to military bases, government institutions, cheering mobs, and the like.

And, quite obviously, the test has the effect of allowing government to punish expression under certain conditional circumstances.

Another, even less well-organized approach to deciding First Amendment cases can be called an ad hoc balancing of interests approach.

This approach takes into account the fact that laws challenged on First Amendment grounds do not exist in a vacuum but rather are the product of a balancing of interests between free speech and other governmental interests, some of which can be other constitutionally guaranteed rights.

A good example of this is the tension inherent in a defendant's right to a "fair, speedy, and public trial. Unfortunately, the amendment drafted in the s has run up against the mass media of the twenty-first century.

In many cases, media coverage of a trial can bias or appear to bias its outcome. Especially for defendants caught after a long search or accused of particularly gruesome crimes, the media outcry can bias potential jurors, turn the community against the accused, and generally subvert the ideal that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

Closed-courtroom cases are almost always decided on an ad hoc basis by the judge or judges involved.

A host of cases have used the ad hoc approach, and no consistent direction has been given to the court or law-makers as a result.

In general, the flaw in the ad hoc approach is that each case must be decided on that basis, weighing the government's interest against the free-speech interest at question.

Citizens and journalists can never be sure when their speech may or may not be protected. The last major approach to the First Amendment focuses on definitional balancing of interests, which essentially argues that classes of speech by definition are outside the pale of First Amendment rights.

The classic example of a definable class of speech is obscenity, and anti-obscenity laws show both the strengths and the weaknesses of definitional balancing.

On the one hand, defining classes of speech as unprotected is a more consistent approach than the ad hoc balancing approach.

Every case of obscene speech is illegal. However, the problem in definitional balancing is defining obscenity, not to mention "fighting words" and a host of other classes of speech that might be illegal.

Justice Stewart famously declared that though he could not define obscenity, he knew it when he saw it—an approach that reduces obscenity law to an ad hoc approach.

The other problem with definitional balancing is that it fails to take into account the circumstances and context of speech, even when that speech can be defined.

Speech deemed obscene in a men's magazine, such as a description of pedophilia, might not be obscene and might even find high literary expression when in a context such as Nabokov's Lolita.

Libel, another definitionally unprotected category of speech, was found to be permissible in certain cases after the New York Times Co.

Sullivan case in These four major approaches have not always been consistently applied, nor have they been consistently argued.

They are often in conflict. But they do provide some clues as to the likely future approach of the court to communications law.

In general, the court of has embraced an ad hoc balancing approach, with some individual justices leaning more or less in different directions.

Often this ad hoc approach has been more restrictive of First Amendment rights than previous courts have been. This court has often found itself using tests to examine specific facts or instances of the case.

In general, the court has more often than not asked governments to prove that their restrictions are narrowly tailored when they relate to speech issues.

The current court has used at least three levels of speech when deciding First Amendment cases. The first model of decision-making is based on the actual content of speech; in a definitional-balancing approach, the court has often decided cases on what it perceives as the inherent value of the speech in question.

The second model is based on the mode of transmission of speech, with the court often holding that new media, such as the Internet, live by different rules than older forms of media.

In two cases, Turner v. ACLU , the court held that "must-carry" channel rules apply to cable companies and that restrictions on indecent material transmitted over the Internet are unconstitutional.

The convergence of new and old media forms will likely create major problems for the court if it continues to insist that different media have different First Amendment standards.

The court has further recognized that media organizations have a right to publish news only inasmuch as they have the right to gather news.

The "right-to-access" rulings that the court has issued in recent years have extended newsgatherers' unique protections under the umbrella of First Amendment rights.

In particular, the court has handed down decisions that have the effect of liberalizing Freedom of Information laws by mandating that organizations must cooperate within a reasonable amount of time with citizen requests.

Journalists in the United States are generally free from requirements that they be either registered or licensed to do their jobs, and newspapers, magazines, and Internet sites can publish freely at any time without any sort of license or official recognition.

Efforts to license journalists have never gained any serious momentum in the United States as a result of First Amendment rules against prior restraint; opponents of licensing argue that it would inherently operate as a form of prior restraint.

The closest that newspaper journalists come to registration is in special situations, such as when covering campaigns, the White House, or legislatures, sporting events, or in other situations where security or space restrict access to the subject of coverage.

In those situations, press members are issued "credentials" from any one of a variety of bodies, which they must present to gain access.

In other situations, groups of correspondents might form "pools" to cover events or speeches in which only a few members of the press can have access.

In such situations, the reporters or photographers who are picked by pools to cover the event have an informal but strong understanding that the information they gather is to be shared with all members of the pool equally and without regard to "scoops" or other inter-media competition.

Although credentials are often handed out by the public-relations agency responsible for the people or event being covered—such as a football game or a White House press conference—there are informal or formal understandings that govern credentialing.

Generally, media outlets are granted roughly equal numbers of credentials for any given event, meaning that no one organization can have a monopoly on a single event.

Although the credentialing parties could refuse credentials to reporters in retaliation for something they or their organizations published, such heavy-handed censorship tends not to be tolerated by the rest of the correspondents covering that organization.

When credentials are denied or unexpectedly "pulled" from a legitimate media organization in retaliation for a story, the rest of the "pool" of correspondents, or the rest of those organizations credentialed to cover an event, often refuse to cover the event at all.

Given the fact that any organization in a position to credential reporters is generally dependent on press coverage, such walkouts are usually successful.

In a relatively recent case, efforts by Minnesota governor and former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura to force media members to wear credentials with the legend "Designated Jackal" resulted in a press outcry which quickly persuaded the governor to drop that idea.

Specific issues with licensing of broadcast stations and broadcast journalists are dealt within the section State Regulation of Broadcast Media. Suffice it to say that broadcast journalists tend to face the same credentialing requirements as print journalists, although the cameras and recording equipment TV and radio journalists use are sometimes a source of dispute, especially over their use in courtrooms.

The cameras-in-the-courtroom debate is one that is fought on individual jurisdictional levels and more often than not is mediated between media organizations and individual judges.

Although libel and defamation laws have a long and complex history, the elements common to both are relatively simple. The three elements of libel are the making of a defamatory statement, publication of a defamatory statement, and identification of the person so defamed.

Only a living person or an existing corporation or organization can sue for libel because only the party defamed or libeled can sue for damages.

Also, the context of a statement can make a significant difference in deciding whether a statement is actionable; calling a convicted murderer inhuman is a vastly different matter from calling a respected surgeon inhuman.

There are at least seven major categories of libelous statements. They are false accusation of a crime; sexual impropriety; mental illness or loathsome disease; business or professional misconduct or incompetence; bankruptcy or fiscal irresponsibility; disgraceful behavior like substance abuse or child molestation; and product disparagement.

These categories are not comprehensive. Other statements can be defamatory; indeed, 49 states find a false statement that someone is homosexual or bisexual to be defamatory.

Trade libel is a relatively new category of libel, and the case law surrounding it is murky. Many states have passed "veggie libel" laws that seek to protect major agricultural industries from false claims; other states have passed similar statutes with reference to banks or insurance companies.

To successfully bring an action for libel, plaintiffs must prove that a defamatory statement has been made against them; that the statement was published to others; that the plaintiff was identified in the statement; and, in certain cases, that they suffered economic loss as a result of the libel.

The requirement to show damages leads individuals into the area of distinguishing between libel per se and libel per quod.

Very briefly stated, libel per se is any statement that is libelous upon its face, while libel per quod is any statement that could be libelous given what certain people know about the defamed party.

For example, incorrectly stating that John Callahan was just married could be libelous per quod if people who knew Callahan is a priest read that statement.

For various complex reasons, libel per se and libel per quod are treated with the same burden of proof in most states, although other states require plaintiffs to show money damages to prove that libel per quod has happened.

Defenses against libel actions vary somewhat given the nature of the case. The most basic defense against libel at common law is truth or "justification.

However, some states, such as Rhode Island, require that truth bespoken with "justifiable ends" or "good motive.

The truth defense is, of course, limited by the ability of a defendant to prove the truth of a statement in a court of law.

The scope of the truth defense is also somewhat limited by the fact that the truth or falsity of the charges must be entire; a claim that someone is a compulsive gambler could not be supported by proving one visit to a casino.

The second major category of defenses against defamation rests on a specific privilege that confers immunity against libel suits.

Privileges can be qualified or absolute: Some persons enjoying absolute privilege include governmental officials working in executive, legislative, judicial, and administrative offices.

Statements made in a legislative forum, ranging from the floor of Congress to a city council meeting, enjoy absolute privilege from libel actions.

Similarly, judges, lawyers, witnesses, defendants, and plaintiffs all hold absolute privilege for statements made in a judicial setting. The executive and administrative privileges are somewhat more constrained, given the relative scarcity of debate or open meetings in such branches of government.

Nevertheless, statements made in an official context by those officials enjoy absolute privilege. There are also various qualified privileges to make libelous statements, but claims of qualified privilege are always defeated by plaintiffs' establishing malice on the part of defendants.

Proving malice requires plaintiffs to prove that the relevant publication was motivated by some consideration other than that which has the privilege in the first place.

Qualified privileges tend to be very specific; they include a privilege for a physician to criticize a pharmacist's competence; an employer to criticize an employee to a supervisor; a bank officer to make a charge of forgery; and various other privileges.

The media have qualified privilege based on their function to engage in public oversight of government activity or in order to notify the public of public proceedings.

The privilege is based on the idea that if all proceedings were kept secret, potential abuses of power could occur. Journalists must be wary of claiming this privilege, however, because various states can and do construe differently reporters' claims of privilege.

In general, journalists have a qualified privilege to publish accounts of court proceedings or court papers that have been brought before a judge or magistrate but not to publish allegations contained in pretrial papers.

Reports of grand jury investigations, district attorneys' investigations, and police proceedings can be dangerous until some action is taken on them, such as an arrest or an indictment.

Reporting that someone has been arrested or indicted, however, is always privileged, as long as the form the report takes does not imply the suspect's guilt.

Reports of legislative proceedings also hold a privilege, as long as those proceedings were part of an authorized public meeting.

To prove a qualified privilege, defendants must prove that the report is fair and accurate and is motivated by a sense of duty to disclose the information to those receiving it.

The report does not have to be completely accurate, as long as inaccuracies do not affect the essential accuracy of the report.

Also, if a defamatory result is made for any purpose other than to inform those people who have a "need to know" the information, it can be found to be malicious.

The third major category of defenses against defamation rests on a privilege to fairly comment on news and public events. The fair comment privilege has been rendered somewhat moot concerning public officials by the New York Times Co.

Sullivan case, since the privilege accorded the media this case is broader than the old "fair comment" privilege. The "fair comment" privilege was construed to allow the media to honestly express a communicator's opinion on matters of public interest, based upon clearly and fairly stated facts in the communication.

The privilege was constrained somewhat by a requirement that the comment had to be free of speculation as to the motives of the person whose conduct was criticized.

Before Sullivan , the media was generally made free to comment on political, literary, and artistic matters by the "fair comment" defenses, which were construed very broadly by the courts.

In the fourth category of defenses, defamation actions are called "incomplete defenses," because at best they only mitigate damages that can be collected by the plaintiff; they do not bar liability.

An example of an incomplete defense is a complete and unequivocal retraction of a libelous statement made in a place that holds the same prominence as the defamatory statement.

The retraction can mitigate damages, but the amount of mitigation is generally dependent upon state statutes. Media organizations can also mitigate damages by allowing a defamed person to reply to the defamation by using the organization's facilities, but the use of media facilities is not generally enough to establish "good will" on the part of the organization and can leave the organization open to further punitive damages.

A reply can, however, mitigate actual damages, since a defamed party has the opportunity to influence those whose good will had presumably been damaged by the libel.

Broadcast organizations can even be compelled to allow defendants to reply; however, any attempt to compel print media to allow a reply has been held to violate the First Amendment.

Greyhound offers inexpensive cross-border service from Canada and Mexico. Some routes, such as Toronto to Buffalo, have hourly service. One of the routes of the city bus system of Windsor, Ontario the Tunnel Bus takes passengers to Detroit -- pedestrians or bicycles are not allowed on the bridge, in the tunnel, or on the ferry.

Bus passengers often experience greater scrutiny from U. Entry by sea is not very common today. The most common entry points for private boats are Los Angeles , or Florida and other Eastern coastal states.

The ferries between British Columbia and Washington state are treated as land border crossings rather than sea entry points.

On international trains from Montreal and Toronto, immigration formalities are conducted at the border; this takes significantly more time than it would on a bus, which means the bus is often less expensive and faster than the train.

Travellers from Vancouver clear U. Be sure to allow enough time for inspections. Amtrak trains do not cross the border into Mexico so passengers continue to the border by local public transportation or by taxi from the Amtrak station.

There are no passenger trains to the border from anywhere in Mexico. There are many border crossings in urban areas which can be crossed by pedestrians.

Crossings such as those in or near Niagara Falls , Detroit , Tijuana , Nogales , and El Paso are popular for persons wishing to spend a day on the other side of the border.

In some cases, this may be ideal for day-trippers, as crossing by car can be a much longer wait. The size of the U.

If you have time, travel by car, bus, or rail can be interesting. The quickest and often the most convenient method of long-distance intercity travel in the U.

Coast-to-coast travel takes about 6 hours from east to west, and 5 hours from west to east varying due to winds , compared to the days necessary for land transportation.

Most large cities in the U. Depending on where you are starting, it may be cheaper to drive to a nearby large city and fly or, conversely, to fly to a large city near your destination and rent a car.

The largest airlines are the three remaining mainline legacy carriers American Airlines , Delta , and United and two of the country's low-cost carriers, Southwest and JetBlue.

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are legacy regional carriers, while smaller airlines Spirit , Frontier , Allegiant and Sun Country are trying to make inroads.

There are also smaller regional airlines that are subsidiaries of the mainline carriers and can be booked through their parents.

Major carriers compete for business on major routes, and travellers willing to book two or more weeks in advance can get bargains. However most smaller destinations are served by only one or two regional carriers, and prices there can be expensive.

The difference in fees and service between low-cost and mainline carriers is, however, virtually nonexistent these days. Low-cost carriers occasionally offer more amenities than mainline carriers, such as inflight entertainment for even a short-haul flight, or free checked baggage in the price of their tickets.

Southwest Airlines, for instance, allows passengers to check in up to two pieces of bags in their base price.

Mainline carriers also offer first class for a larger seat, free food and drinks and overall better service. Many travellers in first class get their seat as a free frequent flier upgrade or similar perk.

You may also be offered an upgrade at a much lower cost during check in or at the airport if there are open seats available.

Depending on the cost for a last minute upgrade, the savings in checked bag fees alone may make this a worthwhile option and you'll also get priority boarding, the bigger seat, more legroom, free beverages and food.

While private flying is by no means inexpensive, a family of four or more can often fly together at a cost similar to or even favorable to buying first-class commercial airline tickets, especially to smaller airports where scheduled commercial flights are at their most expensive, and private flying is at its cheapest.

Though you may find it cheaper than flying a family of four first-class internationally, it is rarely the case, except when traveling from Western Europe.

General aviation is the most practical way to reach the outer boroughs of Alaska. Air charter refers to hiring a private plane for a one-time journey.

Jet Cards are pre-paid cards entitling the owner to a specific number of flight hours on a specified aircraft.

As all expenses are pre-paid on the card, you need not concern yourself with deadhead time, return flights, landing fees, etc.

Many small-town airports on America's borders welcome individually-owned small aircraft. Give them an hour or two advance notice so that they can fetch border officials to meet the tiny private plane from exotic and foreign Brockville , and you've provided just the excuse they needed to add "International Airport" to their names.

Due to the popularity of flying and cars, the passenger rail network in the United States is a shadow of what it was a century ago. While the United States still has the world's longest rail network, it is primarily used for freight transport these days.

Except for certain corridors mostly in the Northeast where a second cousin of high speed rail is available , passenger trains in the United States can be surprisingly scarce, slow and expensive.

In more urban locations, Amtrak can be very efficient and comfortable, but in rural areas delays are common. Rail Pass for international travellers only.

If you plan to buy a regular ticket within a week of travelling, it pays to check the website for sometimes significant "weekly specials".

There is no dedicated high-speed rail network in the United States, and driving yourself will often be quicker than taking the train when travelling long distances.

Amtrak offers many amenities and services that are lacking from other modes of transport. Amtrak's routes traverse some of America's most beautiful areas.

Travellers with limited time may not find travel by train to be convenient, simply because the country is big , and that "bigness" is particularly evident in many of the scenic areas.

For those with ample time, though, train travel offers an unparalleled view of the U. Both offer a lounge car with floor-to-ceiling windows and double decker cars.

During usual American vacation times, some long-distance trains outside the Northeast can sell out weeks or even months in advance.

Booking early also results in generally lower fares for all trains. Same-day reservations are usually easy, and depending on the rules of the fare you purchased, you can change travel plans on the day itself without fees.

Separate from Amtrak, many major cities offer very reliable commuter trains that carry passengers to and from the suburbs or other relatively close-by areas.

Some commuter train stations have park and ride facilities where you can park your car to use the commuter train to get to a city's downtown core where traffic and parking problems complicate car use.

Parking rates at the stations vary some facilities may be operated by third parties. Some commuter train systems and services do not operate on weekends and holidays, and even those that do often have greatly reduced frequencies, so it's best to check the system's website to plan ahead.

Buy tickets before you board the train as you will either face a substantially more expensive fare or a hefty fine.

America has the largest system of inland waterways of any country in the world. It is entirely possible to navigate around within the United States by boat.

Your choices of watercraft range from self-propelled canoes and kayaks to elaborate houseboats and riverboat cruises.

Rivers and canals were key to developing the country, and traversing by boat gives you a unique perspective on the nation and some one of a kind scenery.

Each year, many beginning boaters successfully navigate these waterways. Any kind of boating requires some preparation and planning.

In general, the Coast Guard, Canal and Seaway authorities go out of their way to help recreational boaters. They will also at times give instructions which you are expected to obey immediately.

For example, small craft may be asked to give way to larger craft on canals, and weather conditions may require you to stop or change your route.

Regular ferries exist to a variety of destinations on the coast. In the northwest of the country, you can travel with the ferries of the Alaska Marine Highway System from Bellingham Washington all the way along Alaska's southern coast to Dutch Harbor-Unalaska.

As a bonus you get to enjoy beautiful mountain and archipelago scenery. Moreover, much of off-the-beaten-path-Alaska is just accessible by boat. There is no commercial passenger service between the continental U.

America's love affair with the automobile is legendary, so travelling the United States without a car can be difficult. Most American cities have developed with automobiles in mind, so renting or bringing your own car is usually a very good idea.

There are only a few major cities where using public transportation is preferable to driving: Other very large cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Miami have limited public transport options, and the options only get worse in smaller cities.

Taxis and ride-hailing services are often available, but they can get expensive and taxis especially can be hard to find outside of airports.

While most Americans are happy to give driving directions, don't be surprised if many aren't familiar with the local public transport options available.

Traffic signs do not conform to international standards but, if you understand English, they should be self-explanatory.

Be careful with road signs, as any of these can morph into state routes, interstates, or highways with little warning other than size and signs.

All of them are generally well maintained by the respective states, but while the main Interstate system generally links only the major towns of every state hence the name: Interstate , the U.

Most sections of the roads are free to use, but there are some which levy fees. A romantic appeal is attached to the idea of long-distance car travel ; many Americans will tell you that you can't see the "real" America except by car.

Given the scarcity of public transportation in most American cities, the loss of time travelling between cities by car rather than flying can be made up by the convenience of driving around within cities once you arrive.

In addition, many of the country's major natural attractions , such as the Grand Canyon , are almost impossible to get to without an automobile or on a bus tour.

If you have the time, a classic American road trip with a rented car is very easy to achieve. You may have to shop around a bit for a one-way rental.

Pay attention to how many miles they allow you to put on the vehicle, since you probably want to make detours for sightseeing.

Because of the distances, this kind of travel can mean many long days behind the wheel, so pay attention to the comfort of the car you use.

Driving law is primarily a matter of state law and is enforced by state and local police. While there are some minor variations state-to-state, the rules of the road are fairly consistent across the country.

All states publish an official driver's handbook which summarizes state driving laws in plain English, with some states providing a Spanish version as well.

These handbooks are usually available both on the Web and at many government offices. Foreign visitors age 18 and older can usually drive on their foreign driver's license for up to a year, depending on state law.

Persons who stay in the United States for more than a year must obtain a driver's license from the state they are residing in, though exceptions might apply depending on the state they are in e.

Written and practical driving tests are usually required, but they are sometimes waived for holders of some Canadian and European licenses.

Most American drivers tend to drive calmly and safely in residential neighborhoods. However, downtown surface streets and big-city expressways often become crowded with a lot of "hurried" drivers, who will exceed speed limits, make unsafe lane changes, or follow other cars at unsafe close distances known as "tailgating".

Speed limits are variable depending on the area in which you are driving; enforcement is unpredictable and varies widely from state to state.

Keeping pace with other drivers will usually avoid trouble. Beware of small towns along otherwise high-speed rural roads and medium-speed suburban roads ; the lower speed limits within these towns are strictly enforced.

Intercity bus travel is widespread, but not available everywhere. Service between nearby major cities is extremely frequent.

Buses often connect many smaller towns with regional cities. It's commonly considered a "lower class" way to travel, but is generally dependable, safe and affordable.

However, bus stations in some cities are located in rough neighborhoods e. Discounts are available to travellers who purchase their tickets 7—14 days in advance of their travel date.

Greyhound buses typically run in hour segments, at which time all passengers must get off the bus so it can be serviced, even if it's the middle of the night.

Continuing passengers are boarded before those just getting on. Megabus , Greyhound's biggest competitor, operates mainly in 30 states in the Midwestern and the eastern half of the country between the hub cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, New York, Washington DC and several other cities surrounding and between the hubs.

It also offers connections to Montreal and Toronto in Canada. It also has a couple of routes in the west, which are not connected to the other ones in the Midwest and the East Coast.

The so-called Chinatown buses are small independent companies that provide curb-side departures for a standard walk-up cash fare often much lower than other operators' fares.

Some continue further out to destinations in the Midwest and the South from the northeast. Others operate between California, Nevada and Arizona.

See the relevant city guides and GoToBus. Hispanic bus companies tend to have the most spacious buses in the country. Many are affiliate brands or subsidiaries of Mexican bus companies offering cross-border services beyond the border areas to as a far north as Chicago, to as far east as Atlanta and as far south as Mexico City.

Various smaller companies offer bus services throughout the country. A number of them are grouped under the Trailways brand, which you'll often find sharing space with Greyhound.

Recreational vehicles — large, sometimes bus-sized vehicles that include sleeping and living quarters — are a distinctly American way to cruise the country.

Some RVers love the convenience of being able to drive their home anywhere they like and enjoy the camaraderie that RV campgrounds offer.

Other people dislike the hassles and maintenance issues that come with RVing. And don't even think about driving an RV into a huge metropolis such as New York.

Still, if you want to drive extensively within the United States and are comfortable handling a big rig, renting an RV is an option you should consider.

The thrill and exhilaration of cross country travel are magnified when you go by motorcycle. Harley-Davidson is the preeminent American motorcycle brand and Harley operates a motorcycle rental program for those licensed and capable of handling a full weight motorcycle.

In some parts of the country, you can also rent other types of motorcycles, such as sportbikes, touring bikes, and dual-sport bikes.

For those inexperienced with motorcycles, Harley and other dealerships offer classes for beginners. Wearing a helmet, although not required in all states, is always a good idea.

The practice of riding between lanes of slower cars, also known as "lane-sharing" or "lane-splitting," is illegal, except in California where it is tolerated and widespread.

Solo motorcyclists can legally use "high-occupancy vehicle" or "carpool" lanes during their hours of operation.

American enthusiasm towards motorcycles has led to a motorcycling subculture. Motorcycle clubs are exclusive clubs for members dedicated to riding a particular brand of motorcycle within a highly structured club hierarchy.

Riding clubs may or may not be organized around a specific brand of bikes and offer open membership to anyone interested in riding. Motorcycle rallies, such as the famous one in Sturgis , South Dakota, are huge gatherings of motorcyclists from around the country.

Many motorcyclists are not affiliated with any club and opt to ride independently or with friends.

In general, motorcycling is seen as a hobby, as opposed to a practical means of transportation; this means, for example, that most American motorcyclists prefer not to ride in inclement weather.

However you choose to ride, and whatever brand of bike you prefer, motorcycling can be a thrilling way to see the country. A long history of hitchhiking comes out of the U.

The specifics of the law vary from state to state, but in general, hitchhiking itself is legal throughout the majority of the country, though generally not on Interstate highways where pedestrians are normally prohibited or while standing within traffic lanes usually marked by a solid white line at the shoulder of the road.

If you plan to hitchhike, best practice is to thumb rides at entrance ramps, or better yet highway rest areas. However, due to increasing wariness of the possible dangers fueled in part by sensational stories in the news media , hitchhiking in the U.

International travelers to the U. Even many Americans themselves would only feel comfortable "thumbing a ride" if they had a good knowledge of the locale, and American drivers also practice caution for the same reasons.

Craigslist has a rideshare section that sometimes proves useful for arranging rides in advance. If you are open with your destination it's almost always possible to find a ride going somewhere in the country, with payment often being sharing the fuel costs.

The United States is extraordinarily diverse in its array of attractions. You will never run out of things to see; even if you think you've exhausted what one place has to offer, the next destination is only a road trip away.

The Great American Road Trip see above is the most traditional way to see a variety of sights; just hop in the car and cruise down the Interstates, stopping at the convenient roadside hotels and restaurants as necessary, and stopping at every interesting tourist trap along the way, until you reach your destination.

Indescribably beautiful scenery, history that reads like a screenplay, entertainment options that can last you for days, and some of the world's greatest architecture—no matter what your pleasure, you can find it almost anywhere you look in the United States.

From the spectacular glaciers of Alaska to the wooded, weathered peaks of Appalachia; from the otherworldly desertscapes of the Southwest to the vast waters of the Great Lakes ; few other countries have as wide a variety of natural scenery as the United States does.

America's National Parks are a great place to start, and to see North American wildlife. Yellowstone National Park was the first true national park in the world, and it remains one of the most famous, but there are 57 others.

The Grand Canyon is possibly the world's most spectacular gorge; Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park are both home to the world's tallest living organisms; Glacier National Park is a great place to see huge sheets of ice; Canyonlands National Park could easily be mistaken for Mars; and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park features abundant wildlife among beautifully forested mountains.

And the national parks aren't just for sightseeing, either; each has plenty of outdoors activities as well.

Still, the National Parks are just the beginning. And each state has its own state parks that can be just as good as the federal versions.

Most all of these destinations, federal or state, have an admission fee, but it all goes toward maintenance and operations of the parks, and the rewards are well worth it.

Those aren't your only options, though. Many of America's natural treasures can be seen without passing through admission gates.

The world-famous Niagara Falls straddle the border between Canada and the U. The "purple majesty" of the Rocky Mountains can be seen for hundreds of miles in any direction, while the placid coastal areas of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic have relaxed Americans for generations.

And, although they are very different from each other, Hawaii and Alaska are perhaps the two most scenic states; they don't just have attractions—they are attractions.

The prehistory of the continent can indeed be a little hard to uncover, as most of the Native American tribes did not build permanent settlements.

But particularly in the West , you will find magnificent cliff dwellings at sites such as Mesa Verde and Bandelier , as well as near-ubiquitous rock paintings Petroglyph National Park has some of the best rock art in the country, and it is located only 17 km outside of Albuquerque.

As the first part of the country to be colonized by Europeans, the eastern states of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South have more than their fair share of sites from early American history.

The first successful British colony on the continent was at Jamestown , Virginia, although the settlement at Plymouth , Massachusetts, may loom larger in the nation's mind.

In the 18th century, major centers of commerce developed in Philadelphia and Boston , and as the colonies grew in size, wealth, and self-confidence, relations with Great Britain became strained, culminating in the Boston Tea Party and the ensuing Revolutionary War.

There are a large number of historic sites related to the American Civil War , the most destructive conflict on American soil. Americans have never shied away from heroic feats of engineering, and many of them are among the country's biggest tourist attractions.

The city's architecture is also an attraction—the Capitol Building and the White House are two of the most iconic buildings in the country and often serve to represent the whole nation to the world.

A number of American cities have world-renowned skylines, perhaps none more so than the concrete canyons of Manhattan , part of New York City. There, a new World Trade Center tower has risen on a site adjacent to the fallen twin towers, and the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building still stand tall, as they have for almost a century.

Chicago , where the skyscraper was invented, can no longer claim the tallest building in the country, but it still has an awful lot of really tall buildings.

Some human constructions transcend skyline, though, and become iconic symbols in their own right. The Gateway Arch in St. Even the incredible Mount Rushmore , located far from any major city, still attracts two million visitors each year.

From toys to priceless artifacts, from entertainment legends to dinosaur bones—nearly every city in the country has a museum worth visiting. The highest concentrations of these museums are found in the largest cities, of course, but none compare to Washington, D.

With almost twenty independent museums, most of them located on the National Mall , the Smithsonian is the foremost curator of American history and achievement.

You could spend weeks exploring the cultural institutions just in D. Many universities also operate small museums that have interesting exhibits and are often free to enter, while those interested in specific sports or topics will often be able to find museums even in some small towns that suit their tastes.

Mid-size to large cities often draw big ticket concerts , especially in large outdoor amphitheaters.

Small towns sometimes host concerts in parks with local or older bands. Classical music concerts are held year round and performed by semi-professional and professional symphonies.

Many cities and regions have unique sounds. Country music is popular throughout the U. Nashville is known as "Music City" because of the large number of country artists that live in the city.

It's home to the Grand Ole Opry , one of the most famous music venues in the country. Many of the most popular mainstream bands are based in Los Angeles due to the large entertainment presence and concentration of record companies.

America is considered to be the spiritual home of musical theater , and many of the world's most famous musicals have had a run on Broadway in New York City at one time or another.

No trip to New York would be complete without catching at least one musical on Broadway. A quintessential American experience is the marching band festival.

You can find these events almost every weekend between September and Thanksgiving throughout the country and again from March to June in California.

Check local event listings and papers to find specifics. To see the best of the best, get tickets to the "finals" performance, where the ten best bands of the festival compete for the championship.

This event is now held at the Lucas Oil Stadium. Both "street" or parade marching bands as well as "field" or show bands are found at almost every high school and university in America.

The United States has a professional league for virtually every sport, including pillow fighting. America's passion for sports is rivaled hardly anywhere in the world, with the leagues with the world's highest attendance both per game NFL and total MLB and other leagues that are the best and most popular in their respective sport.

Watching a game is a good way to meet and interact with the locals. A few of the most popular sports are:. In most English-speaking countries, "hockey" is used for a game played on grass and "ice hockey" for the one on ice.

In North American usage, however, the former is called "field hockey", while "hockey" alone almost always means "ice hockey" or, rarely, roller hockey.

One feature of the American sports landscape that is different from those of other nations is the extent to which sports are associated with educational institutions.

In many regions, college sports local or university teams , especially in football and men's basketball, enjoy followings that rival or surpass those of major professional teams.

In fact, 8 of the 10 largest stadiums in the world — all seating more than , spectators — are for U. The NCAA National Collegiate Athletic Association has over 1, member schools, including essentially all of the country's best-known colleges and universities.

The college football season runs from roughly September 1 through mid-December, with postseason bowl games running into early January. The college basketball regular season begins in mid-November and ends in late February or early March, followed by conference tournaments and then national post-season tournaments that run through early April.

Rowing enthusiasts may wish to watch the Harvard—Yale Regatta , a 4-mile-long 6. Many communities take great pride in their high school sports teams, and especially in smaller locales, those teams are a major part of local culture.

From August to May, a high school game can be a great and cheap way to meet locals and discover the area in a way many visitors never experience.

The most popular sports are usually football and boys' basketball and to a lesser extent girls' basketball , plus hockey in New England and the upper Midwest.

In some areas, a particular high school sport enjoys an elevated cultural position. Examples include football in Texas, basketball in Indiana, hockey in Minnesota, and wrestling in Iowa.

The United States is home to many of the world's most famous golf courses. The most famous is the Augusta National Golf Club, where membership is strictly by invitation only and a very exclusive privilege.

The Augusta National Golf Club is the home of the Masters , one of the world's most prestigious professional golf tournaments, and also one of the four majors in men's golf.

Golf is popular both as a participation and spectator sport, and the U. See also Golf United States of America.

A subset of rodeo, bull riding, enjoys a moderate degree of popularity as a standalone event, with the main circuit being Professional Bull Riders.

Almost every state has one or more state fairs. These began as competitions and shows to promote agriculture and livestock; now they include industrial product exhibitions, concerts, and carnival rides and games.

There are numerous national parks throughout the United States, especially the vast interior, which offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, including Recreational shooting , ATV riding, hiking, bird watching, prospecting, and horseback riding.

National parks are the crown jewels of the much larger National Park System , which also includes historic and cultural landmarks.

The United States is the birthplace of the modern amusement park , and to this day, amusement parks form an integral part of American childhood and teenage culture.

The first ever permanent amusement park was built on Coney Island in New York City , and while not as glamorous as some of the newer ones, is still home to a famous historic wooden roller coaster and numerous other attractions.

The Los Angeles and Orlando areas in particular are home to numerous well-regarded amusement parks, with giants Universal and Disney operating parks in both locations.

Another chain of amusement parks that is well-regarded locally, though not so well-known internationally, is Six Flags , which has multiple locations throughout the country, and is particularly known for its innovative roller coasters and other thrill rides.

Other chains include the marine-themed SeaWorld , which is known for its marine mammal shows, and Cedar Fair. Foreign currencies are almost never accepted, though some major hotel chains may accept traveller's checks in other currencies.

Establishments close to the Canadian border accept Canadian currency, though usually at poor exchange rates.

The Mexican peso can also be used again at poor exchange rates in border towns like El Paso and Laredo. All the bills are the same size. Banknotes never expire and several designs of each note can circulate together, but older designs that lack modern anti-counterfeiting features may rarely be refused by some retailers.

These coins only have their values written in words, not figures: When it comes to value, size doesn't matter: Though Canadian coins are sized similarly, machines usually reject them.

Humans, on the other hand, generally won't notice or care about a few small Canadian coins mixed with American, particularly in the northern parts of the country.

As with most currency, coins are generally not exchangeable abroad and UNICEF provides donation boxes at airports to let you dispose of them for a good cause before flying abroad.

Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE. Currency exchange centers are rare outside the downtowns of major coastal and border cities, and international airports.

Some banks also provide currency exchange services, though you may sometimes be required to call in advance. Due to the high overhead of exchange rates and transaction fees, it is often better to acquire U.

Smaller ATMs in restaurants, petrol stations, etc. These fees are in addition to your card issuer's own fees.

Some ATMs, such as those at courthouses or other government buildings, have no fee. As with anywhere else in the world, there is a risk of card skimmers installed on these machines that can steal your credit card details.

Stores almost never charge for this service though it may be contingent on signing up for the store's loyalty program, which is also usually free ; however, the bank that issued your card may impose a fee.

Opening a bank account in the U. Major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard and their debit card affiliates are widely used and accepted. Almost all sit-down restaurants, hotels, and shops will accept credit and debit cards; those that do not post a sign saying "Cash Only.

Many retailers have a window sticker or counter sign showing the logos of the credit cards they accept. JCB, UnionPay China and RuPay India have alliances with Discover, so they can be used at any retailer that accepts Discover cards even if the store does not display the logo on its window.

Shops may also ask for photo identification for foreign-issued cards. When making large purchases, it is typical for U.

If you do not have one, you can purchase a prepaid card or gift card with Visa, MasterCard or AmEx logo in a good number of stores, but you may have to provide identification before the card is activated.

Transaction authorization is made by signing a paper sales slip or a computer pad, although many retailers will waive the signature requirement for small purchases.

Cards and devices e. Many of these ask for the ZIP code i. At gas stations, you can use a foreign-issued card by paying the station attendant inside.

If you have a Canadian Mastercard, you can use it at all pumps that require a ZIP code by entering the digits of your postal code ignoring letters and spaces and adding two zeroes to the end.

The goods that are taxed and those that are exempt often groceries, and pharmaceuticals vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Restaurant meals are usually taxed.

Taxes are usually not included in posted prices but are added to your bill, so be prepared for the total to be higher than the listed prices would indicate!

Regional price variations, however, will usually have more impact on a traveller's wallet than the savings from seeking out a low- or no-sales-tax destination.

Some municipalities, such as New York City, also impose a hotel tax on accommodation, which is levied on top of the sales tax.

See also Shopping in the United States. America is the birthplace of the modern enclosed shopping mall and the open-air shopping center.

In addition, American suburbs have miles and miles of small strip malls — long rows of small shops with shared parking lots.

Large cities have central shopping districts that can be navigated on public transport, but pedestrian-friendly shopping streets are uncommon and usually small.

American retail stores are gigantic compared to retail stores in other countries, and have some of the longest business hours in the world, with many chains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Discount stores tend to stay open as late as 10PM or midnight, or may be open 24 hours a day. Sunday hours tend to be somewhat shorter, or the stores may close.

Outlet centers are found along major Interstate highways outside of most American cities. If you see a driveway or yard full of stuff on a summer weekend, it's likely a garage sale or yard sale , where families sell household items they no longer need.

Churches often hold rummage sales , with proceeds generally going to their church or a mission or project they support. Flea markets called "swap meets" in Western states have vendors selling all kinds of usually inexpensive merchandise.

Thrift stores are retail stores run by churches, charities, and not-for-profit organizations that take in unwanted or un-needed household items as a donation and re-sell them to support projects they are engaged in.

There are regional variations too: Thus, if you plan to rent a car and drive between several major cities on a single visit to the U.

If you intend to visit any United States National Parks , such as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park , it is worth considering buying a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass , which gives you access to almost all of the federal parks and recreation areas for one year.

Many hotels and motels offer discounts for members of certain organizations which anyone can join, such as AAA the American Automobile Association. Tipping is widely practiced in the United States.

Standards vary, but gratuities are always given to servers in restaurants and bars, taxi drivers, parking valets, and bellstaff in hotels.

The salaries made in these professions, and even their taxes, take into account that they will be tipped, so it really is inappropriate to leave them out.

Tipping in many countries is very rare or often not done at all, and unthinkable to some visitors. It is however an essential part of your trip to the United States, and you will upset people greatly by refusing to tip or tipping too little tipping often being the main component of a server's income.

Tipping in the United States is so common and expected in some cases that in many service establishments, such as hair salons and restaurants, customers who did not tip are often asked to pay a tip, or in rare cases verbally scolded by staff for "stiffing" them.

While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:.

Therefore, tipping for this service is regarded as even more essential. If you receive exceptionally poor or rude service and the manager does not correct the problem when you bring it to their attention, a deliberately small tip one or two coins will express your displeasure more clearly than leaving no tip at all which may be construed as a forgotten tip.

If paying your bill by cash, leave a cash tip on the table when you leave there is no need to hand it over personally or wait until it's collected , or if paying by credit card you can add it directly to the charge slip when you sign it.

The rules for tipping at fast-food places are different and a bit more complicated. The key thing to remember is that tipping is associated with table service.

The procedure at fast-food restaurants and when ordering takeout even from what is otherwise a sit-down restaurant is inherently self-service, therefore tipping is not necessary.

Some eateries, mostly in the fast-casual sector, will have a "tip jar" at the checkout station, but tipping in that scenario is purely optional, and you won't be expected to contribute much more than the coins you're handed back as change.

At cafeterias and buffets, a small tip is expected since staff often clears the table for you and provides refills of drinks and such. The rules for tipping concierges are also arcane.

For most services — asking for maps, information, tours, etc. Tipping well can make you look good in front of your American friends, dates, and business partners, with the reverse also being true for tipping poorly.

The variety of restaurants throughout the U. In a major city such as New York, it may be possible to find a restaurant from nearly every country in the world.

In addition to the usual array of independent restaurants, the U. This is particularly true of Chinese see below and other Asian cuisines.

Many restaurants, especially those serving fast food or breakfast, do not serve alcohol, and many others may only serve beer and wine.

Portions are generally huge, regardless of restaurant style, although this trend has moderated as customers are becoming more health-conscious.

Many restaurants offer several portion options, though it may not be immediately obvious. Ask when ordering if portion choices are available.

Taking home "leftovers" is very common and is a good way to get two meals for the price of one. Ask for a to-go box at the end of your meal if you have not cleared your plate.

In much of America, home-cooked food is as good as or substantially better than typical restaurant fare. This is particularly true in rural areas and small towns.

If you have the opportunity to attend a potluck or carry-in dinner , this is a chance not to be missed. Large cities host many examples of every type of restaurant imaginable from inexpensive neighborhood eateries to extravagant full-service restaurants with extensive wine lists and prices to match.

Most medium-sized cities and suburbs will also field a decent selection. In the most upscale restaurants, rules for men to wear jackets and ties, while once de rigueur , are becoming more relaxed.

Check with the restaurant if in doubt. Fast food restaurants are ubiquitous, but the variety of this type of restaurant in the U.

Alcoholic beverages are not served in these restaurants; soft drinks are standard. Don't be surprised when you order a soda, are handed a paper cup and expected to fill it yourself from the soda fountain refills are often free.

The quality of the food varies, but because of the strictly limited menu, it is generally good, especially in the daytime.

Also the restaurants are usually clean and bright, and the service is limited but friendly. A few restaurants, called drive-ins , serve you directly in your car.

Most fast food places offer drive-thru service, allowing you to place an order from the establishment's menu posted on the side of a dedicated auto lane, and then paying for it and having it handed to you packaged to go at a separate side window before driving to your next destination.

Takeout food is very common in larger cities for meals that may take a little longer to prepare than in a fast-food place.

Place an order by phone or online and then go to the restaurant to pick it up and take it away. Many places also offer delivery ; in some cities, it is easier to have pizza or Chinese food delivered than to find a sit-down restaurant.

Pizza and Chinese are especially ubiquitous for delivery or takeout in the U. Hardcore pizza fans will usually prefer local pizza places to the big national chains; many such restaurants also offer takeout and delivery.

Fast-casual restaurants offer a fast-food dining style i. The food takes a bit longer to prepare — and costs a few dollars more — than at fast food joints, but it's generally worth it.

Some fast-casual places even serve alcohol. Diners are quintessentially American and have remained popular since their heyday in the s and 50s.

They are usually individually run, open hours and found on major roads, though they also appear in large cities and suburbs.

They offer a wide variety of huge meals that often include soup or salad, bread, beverage and dessert. They are usually busy for breakfast, in the morning, at the end of factory shifts, or after the bars close.

No compendium of American restaurants would be complete without mentioning the truck stop. You will only encounter these places if you are taking an intercity auto or bus trip.

They are found on the interstate highways and cater to truckers. There will be diesel fuel and separate parking for the "big rigs" and showers for the drivers who sleep in their cabs.

These fabled restaurants serve what passes on the road for "plain home cooking": Truckers know their eating: Chain sit-down restaurants have a more predictable level of quality and price compared to local diners and truck stops, although those with discerning palates will probably still be disappointed.

Some specialize in a type of food e. For the backpacker or those on very restricted budgets, American supermarkets offer an almost infinite variety of packaged or processed foods that are either ready or almost ready for consumption, including breakfast cereal, ramen noodles, canned soups, and frozen meals.

In the largest cities, corner stores abound. These small convenience stores carry a variety of snacks, drinks, and packaged foods.

Many restaurants aren't open for breakfast. Those that are serve eggs, toast, pancakes, cereals, sausages, coffee, etc.

Most restaurants stop serving breakfast between 10 and 11AM, but some, especially diners, will serve breakfast all day.

As an alternative to a restaurant breakfast, you can grab breakfast food such as doughnuts, muffins, fruits, coffee, and packaged drinks at almost any gas station, coffee shop, or convenience store.

Continental breakfast is a term primarily used by hotels and motels to describe a cold breakfast offering of cereal, breads, muffins, fruit, etc.

Milk, fruit juices, coffee and tea are the typical beverages. There is usually a toaster. This is a quick, cheap way of getting morning food.

Lunch can be a good way to get food from a restaurant whose dinners are out of your price range. Dinner , the main meal.

Depending on culture, region, and personal preference, is usually enjoyed between 5 and 9PM. Making reservations is a good idea if the restaurant is popular, upscale, or you are dining in a large group.

Buffets are generally a cheap way to get a large amount of food. For a single price, you can have as many servings of whatever foods are set out.

However, since food can be sitting out in the heat for hours, the quality can suffer. Generally, buffets serve American or Chinese food.

Many restaurants serve Sunday brunch , served morning through early afternoon, with both breakfast and lunch items.

There is often a buffet. Typical American food items that can be found at most restaurants or large gatherings include hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, and pie.

While many types of food are unchanged throughout the United States, there are a few distinct regional varieties of food most notably in the South.

At its best, barbecue often abbreviated "BBQ" is pork or beef ribs, beef brisket, or pork shoulder slowly wood-smoked for hours.

Ribs are served as a whole- or half-rack or cut into individual ribs, brisket is usually sliced thin, and the shoulder can be shredded "pulled" or chopped.

Sauces of varying spiciness may be served on the dish, or provided on the side. There are also unique regional styles of barbecue, with the best generally found in the South.

The most distinct styles come from St. California and Maryland have a style that focuses on beef barbecued in an outdoor pit or brick oven.

However, barbecue of some variety is generally available throughout the country. Barbecued meat can be served with a variety of sides, including chili, corn on the cob, coleslaw and potato salad.

Barbecue restaurants are unpretentious and the best food is often found at very casual establishments. Expect plastic dinnerware, picnic tables, and sandwiches on cheap white bread.

Barbecue found on the menu at a fancy chain or non-specialty restaurant is likely to be less authentic. Ribs and chicken are eaten with your fingers; tackle pork and brisket either with a fork or in a sandwich.

Some Americans though never Southerners use "barbecue" as a synonym for "cookout": These can be fun, but are not to be confused with the above.

With a rich tradition of immigration, America has a wide variety of ethnic foods — everything from Ethiopian cuisine to Laotian food is available in major cities with large immigrant populations — and they're even beginning to cross-pollinate into fusion restaurants, with menus that are a mix of two or more different types of cuisine.

Italian food is perhaps the most pervasive of ethnic cuisines in America, almost to the point where its "foreign-ness" is debatable.

While more authentic fare is certainly available in fancier restaurants, Italian food in the U. There are also restaurants that specialize in Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines with feta cheese and hummus fairly widespread on supermarket counters , and in somewhat smaller numbers also German and French restaurants.

Chinese food is widely available and adjusted to American tastes. Authentic Chinese food can be found in restaurants in Chinatowns in addition to communities with large Chinese populations.

Japanese sushi , Vietnamese , and Thai food have also been adapted for the American market, with dedicated restaurants in larger towns. Indian and Korean restaurants are also present.

Also very popular is Latin-American cuisine , especially Mexican, which for many years came almost exclusively in the form of Tex-Mex cuisine: Nonetheless, the small authentic Mexican taquerias that were once limited mostly to California and the Southwest have now spread throughout the country.

You'll also find Cuban food in South Florida and Puerto Rican and Dominican restaurants in Northeastern coastal cities, both generally serving a more authentic and less Americanized product.

The Jewish community has given a great deal to the culinary scene. While full-fledged Kosher delis are a dying breed that are nowadays mostly relegated to New York City and other places with exceptionally large Jewish populations, some specialties like bagels and pastrami have entered the culinary mainstream and are now enjoyed nationwide by Americans of all types.

Restaurants catering to vegetarians are becoming more common in the U. Most big cities and college towns will have restaurants serving exclusively or primarily vegetarian dishes.

In smaller towns you may have more of a challenge. Waitstaff can be helpful answering questions about menu items, but may consider dishes with fish, chicken, egg, or beef or pork flavoring to be vegetarian.

This is especially common with vegetable side dishes in the South. Meat-free breakfast foods such as pancakes or eggs are readily available at diners.

Vegan restaurants and vegan options at other restaurants are increasingly appearing, especially in large cities.

People on low-fat or low-calorie diets should be fairly well-served in the U. Even fast-food restaurants tend to have a few healthier options on the menu, and can provide charts of calorie and fat counts on request.

Awareness of food allergies varies. Packaged food must be labeled if it contains milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, or soy.

Packaged food must also list its other ingredients, although this can include non-specific items like "spices", "seasonings", or "added color".

But there is usually no obligation to label allergens in unpackaged food, e. Some restaurants do label allergens, and cater to those with food allergies.

Fast food and casual-dining chain restaurants are often a safer bet for people with food allergies as they have consistent ingredients and methods.

At sit-down restaurants, inform your waiter, ask questions, and if your waiter is unsure of anything then have them double-check or insist on speaking to a chef.

People on religious diets should not have any problems finding what they need in the major cities. Most major cities have at least one halal and kosher butcher, and there are often restaurants serving those respective communities too.

The Halal Guys is a uniquely American chain of halal restaurants that operates branches in many major cities.

However, such food is often not available at all in small towns and rural areas. It is usually inappropriate to join a table already occupied by other diners, even if it has unused seats; Americans prefer this degree of privacy when they eat.

Striking up a conversation in this situation may or may not be welcome. Table manners, though varied, are typically European-influenced.

Slurping or making other noises while eating are considered rude, as is loud conversation including phone calls. It is fairly common to wait until everybody at your table has been served before eating.

You should lay cloth napkins across your lap; you can do the same with paper napkins or keep them on the table. Many fast food items sandwiches, burgers, pizza, tacos, etc.

In , a total of 6, community weekly papers circulated in the United States. Most of those—4,—were paid for by subscribers, and another 1, circulated for free.

A total of 1, combined paid and free editions. In any given week, An entirely different and more recent phenomenon has been the growth of free "shopper" papers and zoned editions of larger papers.

Shoppers are generally papers that are distributed free within a given market, with their production costs paid for entirely through advertising.

Zoned editions, on the other hand, are bundled with the regular newspaper and generally comprise special sections that are designed to allow advertising and news departments to produce area-specific content.

In other words, a large metropolitan newspaper such as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch might and does publish zoned editions for a variety of geographic regions and suburbs that offer coverage of local schools, development, business and other issues that do not make the regular newspaper.

In , some 1, shopper publications and 3, zoned editions were published in the United States. The ethnic and religious press has been affected by the general decline of the mainstream newspaper press.

The rise of the one-newspaper town, combined with the general trend towards corporate ownership and shared corporate profits, has made it more difficult for any special-interest newspaper to successfully compete for advertising dollars and subscription revenues.

Special-interest publishers have tended to concentrate in the magazine sector, where narrowly focusing on a specific target market results in an ever-increasing Balkanization of the magazine medium.

Not surprisingly, surviving ethnic and foreign-language papers tend to be concentrated in the large cities, where the populations they target live.

In some ways, the decline in numbers of ethnic and religious papers reflects a laudable desire on the part of mainstream publishers to include all groups in their communities; however, there has been loss of unique voices in the newspaper market.

In general, the distribution of ethnic newspapers has tracked changes in the general population. The current group attracting most attention from newspaper publishers is the Hispanic market.

Many big-city newspapers, and even some small-town papers in areas with large Hispanic populations, have begun publishing Spanish-language sections and tabloids, sometimes partnering with existing publications.

Other newspapers targeting Hispanics have sprung up on their own in various cities. In , there were Hispanic newspapers published in the United States.

African Americans have long been active newspaper publishers in the United States, often because personal preference combined with real or apparent segregation made white newspaper editors reluctant to publish serious news about African Americans.

Frederick Douglass, the well-known former slave and abolitionist leader, started publishing the first successful African-American newspaper, the North Star , in In , some newspapers aimed partially or wholly at African Americans were published in the United States.

Religious newspapers have long had a presence in the newspaper world, especially in large cities. In , there were at least Christian papers, mostly Catholic, and at least 75 Jewish newspapers published in the United States.

Military newspapers, whether published on land bases or on large ships, make up another significant segment of the special-interest press; at least military papers were published in One unique aspect of U.

As newspaper numbers and newspaper competition have declined, so too has the tradition of newspapers supporting a particular political party or ideology.

Although most newspapers in foreign countries are generally or explicitly supportive of particular political parties, American newspapers pride themselves on their independence from the political fray.

Journalists are trained to seek objectivity in their reporting and are warned against taking stances on issues, persons, or events they cover.

Most newspapers, at least in theory, observe a strict separation between the news and editorial pages and maintain a strict separation of powers between the newsroom and business office.

This separation of powers is meant to express papers' editorial independence and to avoid even the appearance of influences on the paper from advertisers or political parties.

Reporters and editors find a particular ethical responsibility to be as fair and accurate as possible in reporting news. Many journalists struggle to overcome their own personal biases towards the news, whether in terms of political partisanship or in terms of their own religious or ethnic backgrounds.

In particular, when covering political or religious stories, journalists have to consciously remind themselves to treat all sides of an issue fairly.

What this means for most journalists is that they are either explicitly prohibited or at least discouraged from holding public office, serving as communications or public relations directors for businesses or nonprofit agencies, and generally placing themselves in the public eye as being in support of political or social issues.

The logic behind these prohibitions is that while journalists are citizens and entitled to the rights and responsibilities of any citizen in an open democracy, they should not compromise even the appearance of their media organization's independence and objectivity.

In the early s, however, journalists have become somewhat more visible to the public. Many newspapers consider it acceptable to sponsor public meetings dedicated to discussing an issue of public concern or to sponsor panel discussions or a series of speakers on public issues.

A growing minority of journalists argues that a newspaper's civic responsibilities should be balanced against its desire to be independent and objective.

Many journalists are beginning to accept the idea that newspapers should not just report on community problems, but they should be a part of a community decision-making process to fix those problems.

At the same time, however, a small but vocal minority of American journalists go so far as to espouse the view that journalists should not even vote, in an attempt to strictly separate themselves from public life.

Most American journalists attempt to steer a middle line, observing a strict separation between their personal, political, and spiritual lives on the one hand and their responsibilities towards a mass audience on the other.

A particular ethical problem that many newspapers face concerns relations with advertisers. Most American papers earn a large portion of their revenues from display advertising; only a very few specialty newspapers and newsletters are able to sustain themselves mostly or entirely on subscription revenues.

Pressure brought against newspapers by advertisers poses particularly tricky ethical decisions at times; the newspaper may desire to be as independent as possible, but if the newspaper is forced to close, its ability to do anything ceases.

This problem is particularly acute for newspapers in rural areas and small towns, which cannot rely upon support from national advertisers.

Some media critics, however, argue that most U. Corporate consolidation and the fact that as of most daily newspapers operate as only one part of giant corporations has also led many journalists to worry about the possibility of undue influence being concentrated in relatively few hands.

By far the most influential newspaper continues to be The New York Times , which sets a standard for quality journalism unparalleled throughout the country.

Although the Times is not the largest-circulation daily in the country, the influence it has on the intellectual and political world is considerable.

Over the course of its history, the Times has been the newspaper of record for many Americans. USA Today must make the top three list if for no other reason than its influence on other papers.

USA Today has the distinction of being the country's only truly national newspaper; though some of its editions are zoned by regions of the country, the paper makes an effort to cover news of national importance and includes news from every state in every edition.

Founded in , USA Today introduced a style of news writing that emphasized short, easy-to-read stories. The paper also pioneered massive use of color photos and infographics, and it adopted a now-famous and widely copied color weather map.

The paper was, however, a success with readers, who enjoyed the use of color and its nature as a "quick read," and many of its design innovations have silently been adopted by competing papers.

In fact, the last two major "gray" newspapers in the United States, the Times and The Wall Street Journal , have begun using color within the last 10 years, and many other papers have adopted some or all of the paper's innovations, such as a color weather map or daily infographic.

Rounding out the top three papers is The Wall Street Journal. A financial newspaper with a generally conservative bent, the Journal is not necessarily representative of most American newspapers, but its influence on Wall Street, and thus the world, is immense.

The Journal focuses mainly on business news and approaches national news from a business angle. It has, however, won several Pulitzer Prizes for reporting on non-business news.

The paper also has the distinction of owning one of the few Internet sites that actually makes money; the site's content is so unique and valuable that it can successfully charge for subscriptions.

The Journal is owned by the Dow Jones corporation, the publisher of the Dow Jones stock index that is used every day to track the performance of the American economy throughout the world.

The Journal 's published financial data is also used throughout the country for setting a variety of loan rates, foreign currency conversions, and the like.

As of , the Journal 's most recent Pulitzer Prize was won for its response to the September 11, , terrorist attacks.

The paper's offices, across the street from the World Trade Center, were evacuated that morning and were later essentially destroyed when the twin towers collapsed.

The employees of the paper evacuated en masse to the paper's printing offices in New Jersey and were actually able to improvise a paper for the next morning.

The first newspaper in what would become the United States appeared in Boston on September 25, Benjamin Harris published Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic , which led with a story about Massachusetts Native Americans celebrating a day of thanksgiving for a successful harvest and went on to mention rumors that the king of France had cuckolded his son.

Although Harris, the publisher of the widely-used New England Primer , was a licensed printer, his newspaper only survived one issue.

During the next few decades, several papers appeared, most published by local postmasters who had access to European newspapers and the franking privilege.

The longest-lived of these early papers was the Boston News-Letter , first printed in by postmaster John Campbell. Campbell's paper grew out of a handwritten newsletter that he had distributed to postal customers.

Like other papers of the time, the News-Letter consisted generally of news about politics, ship movements, proclamations, speeches, and formal letters.

Campbell's paper also included news about fires, shipwrecks, piracy, accidents, and other more sensational and interesting events. Campbell's paper survived for 72 years.

By , printed material was once again becoming an annoyance to at least one colonial government. Under British law at that time, truth was not a defense to a charge of seditious libel.

The judge instructed the jury to find Zenger guilty if they determined he had indeed printed attacks on the governor, which he undoubtedly had.

Perhaps swayed by Zenger's lawyer, Alexander Hamilton, the jury ignored the judge's instructions and found Zenger innocent and freed him.

During the years between Zenger's trial and the beginning of political unrest in the colonies, the best-known paper published was undoubtedly Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette.

Franklin, a brilliant polymath who consciously presented himself as a rustic farmer, won success with the Gazette and other publications because of his wry style and self-deprecating writing.

Unlike his older brother James, Benjamin Franklin was also able to escape being jailed by the colonial authorities—partly by picking a city friendlier to printers.

Franklin is the best-known printer from Revolutionary days, but a host of other editors helped move the colonies closer to rebellion in the years before In , Parliament passed a Stamp Act specifically aimed at taxing newspapers, legal documents, and other published materials that printers saw as intended to drive them out of business.

The short-lived Stamp Act was only the first in a long series of measures designed to tax colonists for supporting British troops in North America that eventually led to rebellion, but it was a significant moment in radicalizing editors against the British government.

Newspapers were only one weapon in the general colonial protest against Britain, but they were a surprisingly effective one, being able to carry news of demonstrations, mock funerals of "Liberty," news of real and perceived abuses against colonists, and perhaps most importantly news from other colonies.

The same printer-editors who published newspapers were also responsible for printing and distributing the variety of pamphlets, broadsides, engravings, woodcuts, and other miscellaneous propaganda distributed by revolutionary "Committees of Correspondence" from many of the colonies.

During this same period, of course, loyalist printers also published material in support of the British government, and some very conservative editors avoided news of the conflict altogether or swayed back and forth as local political winds dictated.

The most well-known colonial protest against the British government, the Boston Tea Party, is an example of how newspapers helped radicals spread their message.

The men who participated in the famous party may have planned their raid at the home and office of the printer Benjamin Edes of the Boston Gazette.

Edes' Gazette and other papers printed full accounts of the attack and, more importantly, the rationale behind it, which were clipped and reprinted by other colonial newspapers, spreading the news farther across the colonies at each printing and in a sense recreating the event for each new reader.

Without the intervention of the press, the Boston protest, and countless others in the colonies, would have been no more than an example of local hooliganism.

During the Revolution itself, printers of all political orientations found themselves even more closely tied to the fortunes of war. Editors often were forced to flee before approaching armies, and presses—especially Tory presses—became the focus of mob violence on more than one occasion.

In addition, the British naval blockade and general economic disruption caused by the war made it more difficult for editors to find supplies and to publish on anything approaching a regular basis.

But newspapers had done their work; when John Adams wrote that "The Revolution was effected before the war commenced … this radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution," he referred to the work done not only by the Sons of Liberty and Committees of Correspondence, but also that done by colonial editors.

American independence resulted in a reshaping of the press. For a short time, freed of the war-driven impulse to produce patriotic material, printers reverted to the pre-Revolutionary model of commercialism and relative political neutrality.

The upcoming Constitutional Convention and the ratification debates attendant to it, however, meant that editors would once again shift into a more public, political role.

A new generation of editors would radically transform their newspapers, create new political roles for themselves, and eventually lay the foundations for the American party system in the years between and To understand that transformation, it is important first to examine the social role of printers in colonial and Revolutionary times.

Franklin's example notwithstanding, being a printer in colonial days was hardly a road to political power, prestige, or riches.

Although printers were valued by their towns, and their business brought them into contact with the local elite, they were still artisans, sharply separated from the colonial gentry by class, manners, refinement, and occupation.

Printing was a difficult and often disgusting business. The youngest apprentice in a colonial office would often be given the job of preparing sheepskin balls used to ink the type.

The balls had to be soaked in urine, stamped on, and wrung out to add softness before being brought to the press. Ink was often made in the office by boiling soot in varnish.

More experienced printers might spend up to sixteen hours setting type, reading copy with one hand while the other selected individual letters and placed them, backwards and reversed, into a typecase.

The locked typecase—essentially a solid block of lead type with wood frames—would be carried to the press by hand, the type itself beat with inked sheepskin balls, and the press cranked by hand to bring the plate into contact with a sheet of wetted paper.

This process would produce one side of one sheet—one "impression. Two experienced printers could produce about sheets an hour at best.

Later, they would repeat the entire process, including setting new type, for the other side of the sheet, and later fold the papers by hand.

The total process of producing a rural paper with to copies would take at least a day and most of the night. During the years immediately following the Revolution, printers' status actually declined throughout the country.

As the process of creating a newspaper became more specialized, the job of actually printing a newspaper became increasingly divorced from the process of writing and editing the news.

During the s, this trend became more distinct as a new breed of editors turned away from the trade-oriented, mostly commercial, goals of their predecessors.

Younger men found themselves increasingly drawn to partisan controversies and found their true calling in editing political newspapers.

From the late s on, partisan newspapers became increasingly more crucial to politics and politicians in America.

Partisan newspapers acted as nodal points in the political system, linking ordinary voters to their official representatives and far-flung party constituencies to one another.

Political parties existed without formal organization in the early Republic, and partisan newspapers provided a forum in which like-minded politicians could plan events, plot strategy, argue platforms, and rally voters in the long intervals between campaigns and events.

Physical political events like speeches, rallies, and banquets with their attendant toasts could only reach a limited number of voters at any given time, but when accounts of them were printed and reprinted in newspapers their geographic reach was vastly extended.

In the days before formal party headquarters, local newspaper offices functioned as places in which politicians and editors could meet and plan strategy.

Throughout the nineteenth century, newspapers remained the focal points of political struggles, as parties and factions battled for control of prominent newspapers and regions.

Newspapers could also come before formal party organization, as when William Lloyd Garrison's The Liberator made him the leading figure of the abolitionist movement and predated the founding of his New England Anti-Slavery Society by a year.

When black abolitionists wanted a voice in the movement, they attempted several times to found a newspaper, finally succeeding in with Frederick Douglass's North Star.

Later journalism historians searching for the origins of objectivity and professionalism would often find their origins in the penny press, started by James Gordon Bennett's New York Sun in The penny press, which owed its name to the fact that penny papers sold for one or two cents daily, instead of several dollars per year, was more stylistically than substantively different from the partisan newspapers of its day.

Bennett and other editors made much out of the fact that they were "independent" in politics, but by independence they meant essentially that they were not dependent upon one party for support.

What the penny press actually did was to combine and extend many of the innovations with which other newspapers were beginning to experiment.

The penny papers popularized daily copy sales rather than subscriptions, relied more upon advertising than subscriptions for support, and broadened the audience for reports on crime, courts, Wall Street, and Broadway.

The penny papers also continued a process of specialization that led eventually to the "beat" system for reporters and to changes in the internal organization of newsrooms.

But the penny press was a uniquely Eastern and urban phenomenon which was evolutionary rather than revolutionary in press history. In the s and s, sectional politics dominated newspapers, as radical stances began to be taken by all sides on the question of slavery.

After the election of Abraham Lincoln in , eleven Southern states decided to leave the Union, making civil war inevitable. During the war years, newspaper editors often found themselves caught between competing sectional and party loyalties, especially in border states like Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland, while other editors found their papers suppressed by local authorities or by invading armies.

Southern editors in particular faced hardship during the war, as the northern blockade dried up the supplies they needed to publish.

Other papers, especially in the North, were able to continue their vigorous partisanship; Lincoln wryly noted that even Horace Greeley's Tribune , a Republican and abolitionist paper, only supported him four days a week.

Newspaper correspondents vastly expanded their use of the telegraph and photography in reporting on the war; a new genre of "illustrated magazines" made copious use of both picturesque and horrible war scenes.

In the years after the Civil War, the tremendous growth in newspapers that the nineteenth century had seen slowed somewhat. The United States grappled with a deep economic depression throughout the s, and most of the South was still under military occupation.

The African-American press was one sector that showed growth in the years after the Civil War, as freed slaves, most of whom had been prevented from learning to read or write, came together to create their own schools, banks, newspapers, and other public institutions.

Once again, major new political movements found expression first in partisan newspapers. Editors continued to take strong stands on national political events as well, with the impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson and the increasingly corrupt administration of Ulysses S.

Grant at center stage. During the s, massive changes were underway in the United States that would change the nature of newspapers and of news in the twentieth century.

Immigrants once again began to flood into eastern cities, accelerating an existing trend towards urbanization and creating a huge demand for foreign-language newspapers.

The census for the first time counted more Americans living in cities than in rural areas. The s in general would become known as one of the most flamboyant eras of American journalism, marked by incredible competition among the large urban dailies.

The two most famous representatives of the newspaper wars of the s were Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Louis Westliche Post , a German-language Liberal Republican newspaper, at a sheriff's sale in , later combining it with the St.

Pulitzer's Post-Dispatch , which changed political orientations when Pulitzer himself became a Democrat, became a model for the kind of crusading urban newspaper that he would later run in New York.

Attacking political corruption, wealth, and privilege, Pulitzer sought to create and unify a middle-class reform movement in St.

When he bought the New York World in , his goal was again to rescue a failing newspaper by launching it on a progressive political crusade, partly by supporting issues important to the city's large immigrant population.

Hearst, the son of a wealthy California mine owner, actually got his start in journalism working for the World before purchasing the San Francisco Examiner in When Hearst returned to New York, it was as a direct competitor to Pulitzer.

Hearst used his Morning Journal to attack Pulitzer, the city government, and anyone else who caught his eye, and later to encourage the United States to declare war on Spain in The circulation wars of the s, which led to extremes of sensationalism later called "yellow journalism," pushed both papers' circulations above one million at times.

The period between and is also notable as an era in which individual reporters became more well-known than ever before.

The topics muckrakers tackled ranged from Ida B. Wells's courageous work to ending lynching in the South to Jacob Riis's portraits of homeless youths in New York.

At the other end of the spectrum rest journalists like Lincoln Steffens, whose "Shame of the City" series is representative of a genre that tended to focus on the personal habits and customs of the new immigrants peopling urban areas, and to blame urban corruption, homelessness, poor sanitation, and other urban problems on the ethnic or racial backgrounds of those immigrants.

The years leading up to World War I in many ways marked the high point of the newspaper press in the United States. In , the number of daily newspapers in the United States peaked at 2,; in , the number of foreign-language dailies in the United States reached a high of Creel's committee used a newly passed Espionage Act to limit publication of materials that questioned the war effort, mainly by revoking papers' mailing privileges.

Particularly hard-hit was the Socialist press, which in had counted newspapers with more than two million copies circulated daily, but other non-mainstream newspapers were also attacked by the government.

Although the Creel Committee relied more on voluntary compliance than on federal enforcement, the effort put forth by the government to bring media in line with the war effort led many editors to question the veracity of news told in support of a single point of view.

This trend, combined with a general postwar disillusionment towards extreme political and social ideas, accelerated an existing trend towards the objective model of newsgathering.

Although the "who, what, when, where, why and how" model of reporting had existed since at least the s, the s marked the first widespread acceptance of objectivity as a goal among newspapers.

Increasingly fierce economic competition between newspapers and declining readership also contributed to a trend towards objective reporting; the role of corporate advertisers in supporting papers also encouraged nonpartisanship on the front page.

The rise of the one-newspaper town coincided with a shift in thinking on the part of editors, who had to begin seeing their readers less as voters and more as news consumers.

As always, objectivity became accepted as a news model first among large urban papers, only slowly making its way into the hinterlands.

The s saw a continued decline in the number of daily newspapers but also the advent of new technologies that would eventually vastly change the news.

By , the number of stations had increased to , and over , radios were bought that year alone. The new technology did not at first massively change newspapers, but its popularity combined with continued declines in newspaper readership foreshadowed trends that would continue throughout the twentieth century.

In , when Philo Farnsworth first experimented with television sets, 5. The s brought the Great Depression to the United States, and newspapers suffered along with the rest of the economy.

The defining Supreme Court decision concerning newspapers, Near v. Minnesota , was heard in In Near , the court held that First Amendment protection against prior restraint extended to prohibit state and local governments, as well as the federal government, from prohibiting publication of a newspaper on any but the most unusual circumstances.

The Depression resulted in a slowing of growth for radio as a medium, but the s also saw the consolidation of stations into national radio networks and the expansion of those networks across the country.

The demand for simple, concise reporting for radio news programs helped to push newspapers in the direction of the inverted-pyramid style of writing and did much to institutionalize the cult of objectivity.

In addition, federal courts began to allow radio broadcasts and station licenses to be regulated by the government, holding that the radio broadcast spectrum rightly belonged to the public and could be regulated in the public interest.

Roosevelt's "fireside chats" used the new medium as a way to communicate directly to the people, contributing to a general s trend towards increasing the power of the federal government relative to the states.

Many newspapers initially opposed U. At the beginning of the war, newspapers agreed to voluntarily censor their content under a Code of Wartime Practices developed by Byron Price, a former Associated Press editor.

Many newspapers also printed information distributed by the Office of War Information, headed by Elmer Davis, which was a government body set up to disseminate morale-boosting material.

World War II newspapers did not generally suffer from the same constraints as papers did under the Creel Committee in World War I, partly because World War II had significantly more support from the general public and from newspapers, and partly because no World War II counterpart of the Espionage Act was used to attack non-mainstream papers.

The general economic dislocation caused by the war did cause, however, many newspapers to suspend publication. By the end of , there were only 1, daily newspapers being published in the United States, a loss of from An important postwar development in newspaper journalism was the Hutchins Commission's report on "A Free and Responsible Press.

On July 1, , two television stations in New York began broadcasting news and programs to tiny audiences in the city.

Though television began as a tiny medium and though the war hampered its ability to grow, the new medium expanded rapidly after the war.

By , there were more than television stations in the country. The growth of television hurt newspapers, though not as much as was initially predicted.

The real victim of the popularity of TV, though, was radio. In the s, many radio stars, including Edward R. Murrow, abandoned radio for television, and radio began to lose its appeal as a mass medium.

Radio pioneered the practice of "narrowcasting" starting in the s, as stations abandoned nationally produced content to focus on a specific demographic or ethnic group within its listening area.

This early and successful form of target marketing predated and pres-aged efforts by magazines and some newspapers to do the same. The s were generally a decade of massive change for newspapers.

Typesetting changed dramatically as the use of photocomposition and offset presses became widespread. The advent of offset spelled doom not only for the jobs of Linotype operators but also for many other specialized printing trades.

The result was a rash of newspaper strikes that continued into the s. Paul, San Jose, and Seattle. The s saw one of the most dramatic instances of the power of the United States press when the Washington Post 's coverage of the Watergate burglary started a process that led to the resignation of President Nixon.

The s were also notable as the decade in which computers first began to invade U. Though slow and balky at first, computers would revolutionize typesetting by the s, with later technology making it possible for type to go directly from computer screen to printing plate.

The continued decline in multiple-newspaper cities led Congress to pass the Newspaper Preservation Act of , which allowed competing newspapers to merge essentially all of their operations outside the newsroom if one or both were in financial distress.

The s brought more massive changes to the media in the United States. Though both were at first derided by the newspaper press, both survived and prospered.

The s will be remembered most as the decade in which the Internet exploded as a major cultural force. Newspapers were quick to build Internet sites and invest in the new technology as part of a "convergence" strategy, although as of the year profits from the Internet continued to elude most companies.

Increasing consolidation of newspaper chains and ever-decreasing competition have been other major trends of the s and s, with newspaper mergers and buyouts continuing unabated.

Between and , newspaper companies aggressively sought to expand their holdings in both numbers of newspapers and in specific geographic areas, seeking especially to cluster their holdings in and around metropolitan areas.

Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention jack abramoff casino jack tom delay united states ralph reed alex gibney states of money michael scanlon indian casinos jack and the united gibney also abramoff and tom documentary about jack government lobbyists politicians republican told business american.

Showing of 29 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. This documentary is killer.

The story was solid and flowed effortlessly from one episode to the next. The camera work was good and the info was just a back-to-back ride of jaw-dropping punches.

Not overwhelming but you surely won't fall asleep through this one. I tried watching the fictional version of this afterwards and I could only make it through 20 minutes of that garbage.

A very very good film! Prime Video Verified Purchase. This is a must see regardless of your party. I am a conservative but am by no means fooled.

One more nail in my parties coffin. I'm finally an Independent. This documentary very clearly and truthfully highlights a very grim reality within ultra-republican politics.

And to think the very thing Abramoff was indicted for is now legal!!! Hey, if you can't make money legally, just slither behind everyone's back and lobby until it's legal, right?

If this were watched as a fictional piece, one would surely think that the author had truly "gone off the rails" in imagining such vile and consciousless characters being so deeply influential and so closely connected to the highest echelons of the US government Every eligible voter should be required to see this before voting for any elected official.

Democracy is doomed unless someone in government has the guts to demand election reform and to get rid of the lobbyists as they presently operate.

This DVD is a must for anyone who votes in this country. It gives an inside look at what is going on with our elected officials; and until MONEY is taken out of the voting process; then our country will only be for the very wealthy and those who pay the politicians.

This is a very good documentary. The story was told in a non-chronological fashion, which made it difficult to follow at times.

Also the narrative would stray from the central thread of Jack's story which seemed irrelevant at times. A needed look at the unfortunate current process of lawmaking.

A worthy documentary giving us an opportunity to learn important lessons. For example, lotteries were used to establish or improve dozens of universities and hundreds of secondary schools during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Lotteries continued to be used at the state and federal level in the early United States. Gambling businesses slowly developed in various communities.

The lower Mississippi River valley became a hotbed of gambling activity with New Orleans emerging as the nation's leading gambling center.

A wave of hostility against gambling in the mid 19th century pushed gambling activity onto boats in the Mississippi River and toward younger territories in the West.

Anti-gambling forces in the northeast put an end to lotteries in those locations and this trend spread to some other parts of the country. The rise of railroads caused passenger travel on the Mississippi to decline, heavily damaging the riverboat casinos' revenue.

The increasing legal pressures on gambling gradually created opportunities for illegal operations. During the California Gold Rush , San Francisco became a populous town flush with aspiring prospectors.

By the s, the new city had overtaken New Orleans as the gambling capital of the U. As California gradually strengthened its laws and its policing of gambling, the practice went underground.

Lotteries and other forms of gambling would be revived temporarily in the South and in other areas during Reconstruction. Gambling was extremely popular on the frontier during the settlement of the West ; nearly everyone participated in games of chance.

Citizens of the West viewed gamblers as respected members of society who worked at an honest trade. By the early 20th century, gambling was almost uniformly outlawed throughout the U.

During the Prohibition era , illegal liquor provided an additional revenue stream for mob figures, and organized crime blossomed.

Towns which already had lax attitudes about vice, such as Miami , Galveston , and Hot Springs , became major gambling centers, stimulating the tourist industry in those places.

The Great Depression saw the legalization of some forms of gambling such as bingo in some cities to allow churches and other groups to raise money, but most gambling remained illegal.

Major gangsters became wealthy from casinos and speakeasies. As legal pressures began to rise in many states, gangsters in New York and other states looked toward Texas , California , and other more tolerant locales to prosper.

The double blow of stock market crash of and the Hoover Dam project created a hard economic depression in Nevada, which led to the legalization of gambling as a way to bring economic relief.

After World War II , enforcement of gambling laws became more strict in most places and the desert town of Las Vegas became an attractive target for investment by crime figures such as New York's Bugsy Siegel.

The town rapidly developed during the s dooming some illegal gambling empires such as Galveston. Nevada, and Las Vegas in particular, became the center of gambling in the U.

In the s Howard Hughes and other legitimate investors purchased many of the most important hotels and casinos in the city gradually reducing the city's connections to organized crime.

Southern Maryland became popular for its slot machines which operated legally there between in some places and In , New Jersey legalized gambling in Atlantic City.

The city rapidly grew into a significant tourist destination, briefly revitalizing what was previously largely a run-down slum community.

In , the Seminole tribe opened the first reservation-based commercial gambling beginning a trend that would be followed by other reservations.

In the s, riverboat casinos were legalized in Louisiana and Illinois in addition to other states. In an attempt to curb the ill effects of the rapid rise in gambling on sporting events, the Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of In the early 21st century, Internet gambling grew rapidly in popularity worldwide, [ citation needed ] but interstate and international transactions remained illegal under the Federal Wire Act of , with additional penalties added by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of The Supreme Court overturned the prohibition against sports gambling in paving the way for legalization of one the most popular forms of gambling.

Many levels of government have authorized multiple forms of gambling in an effort to raise money for needed services without raising direct taxes.

These include everything from bingo games in church basements, to multimillion-dollar poker tournaments. Sometimes states advertise revenues from certain games to be devoted to particular needs, such as education.

When New Hampshire authorized a state lottery in , it represented a major shift in social policy. No state governments had previously directly run gambling operations to raise money.

Other states followed suit, and now the majority of the states run some type of lottery to raise funds for state operations.

Some states restrict this revenue to specific forms of expenditures, usually oriented toward education, while others allow lottery revenues to be spent on general government.

This has brought about morally questionable issues, such as states' using marketing firms to increase their market share, or to develop new programs when old forms of gambling do not raise as much money.

The American Gaming Association breaks gambling down into the following categories: Gambling is legal under U.

Each state is free to regulate or prohibit the practice within its borders. If state-run lotteries are included, almost every state can be said to allow some form of gambling.

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