THE HISTORY OF JOURNALISM

THE HISTORY OF JOURNALISM



subject today the development of the newspaper press in 19th century England had been things sort of like newspapers throughout history and certainly through the 17th and 18th century these had begun to appear in Britain and other countries more frequently and something like the shape of modern newspapers but it's really during the first half of the 19th century in England that the newspaper takes the the shape we would recognize today so this is the origins of the news business at this time the newspaper industry was made up of lots and lots of small independent companies which had become profitable for three main interlocking reasons first of these was demographics that England had a population of sufficient size and sufficient wealth and of sufficient homogeneity everyone speaking the same language and being interested roughly in the same political social issues consuming the same sort of product so that there could be in a market for advertising so the first factor that made all these little businesses viable was the demographics of the country going to explore that a little more in this talk secondly the legal regime which allowed first of all independent companies to be formed to own newspapers but also of course the law relating to freedom of expression freedom of the press also affecting the way the press developed was the taxation regime of the government we'll explore that a little more as well freedom of expression was allowed but it was in fact limited to a large extent by levying of very very high taxes so that the press could only be afforded in the first part of the 19th century anyway by relatively wealthy people and thirdly the third factor that comes together is technology and especially important here is the advent of steam power and in two ways first of all you had the steam-driven rotary press which allowed you to print hundreds of thousands and even millions of copies of newspapers in a few days a steam driven rotary press replaced the flatbed printing press of the 1780 and 17th and 18th century which could only print a few hundred copies a day so this new technology made printing you know massively cheaper and thus made newspapers more economically viable but the second and vital direct way that the advent of steam technology particularly after the 1830s and affects the press is the establishment in England of a railway network England was the first country in the world to have a network of trains between all this major cities and it meant that whereas if you take an example of the journey from London to Manchester in 1750 using stagecoaches that journey would take four or five days but by 1850 the same journey would only take four or five hours and not much longer than these days in fact on on the Express steam train so that made a national press viable the fact that you could print these papers in London with the with the London news and then you could rush them all around the country national newspapers retained their were based in London retained offices and printing presses in Manchester well into the latter part of the 20th century in fact but until the advent of the Telegraph in the 1850s and 1860s newspapers had to be printed in London or tea in the centre such as that then be distributed about the place there's no point in having newspapers word for tailed news so the recreation of the steam engine and the railway network was absolutely vital in establishing a national press in the decades around 1830 1840 but I'll deal with that in a little bit more detail through the rest of this talk now in the 18th century at the 1700s there really had been no national newspapers as such they were periodical that were printed in London either monthly or weekly and then circulated around the country on the coaches the postal code coaches but most of the newspapers carrying daily news or weekly news or local and there were quite a few of them I mean any City over the size of say Worcester or Stanford that would have a local newspaper by 1800 and that would have been set up probably within that century it was it was a time of growth for newspapers at the city level Norwich had a well-established paper by 1800 as the Bristol Canterbury York Manchester Oxford Liverpool and so on and if you look at the British Library newspapers section you find that between 1700 and 1800 about 200 local newspapers have been established some had gone bust and but every city had one and some of the medium-sized towns had one as well and they were funded almost entirely by advertising and usually most of the front page would be taken up by advertising the they were extremely parochial that dealing with sort of parish pump local news because of distribution problems there was no point in if you were editing the paper instead writing anything about Lester even though it was only 30 or 40 miles away because you wouldn't be able to get the paper there the same day so the the the lack of a distribution network actually gave a potential monopoly to local companies usually Craftsman printers who went on to establish newspapers in order to have something to do something to make money out of on the printing presses that they might have established for some other reason so you had this really quite vibrant local but highly parochial press during the years of the 1700s of the 18th century now then in comparison with that between 1850 so I'm sorry between 1800 and 1850 according to the British Library almost 700 new local papers were established so that's three times as many in half a century so six times as many now that is partly because of the gross growth of the population or the population of the UK of England started to grow dramatically after 1800 and I'll come back to that and we're looking at the demographics of population in the period of 1800 1850 also saw the launch of the daily national newspaper press some of which eventually reached a mass circulation a largest selling newspapers in the 18th century because they were primarily local newspapers even the London ones were only from London who could only expect to sell two or three thousand copies at the most but the news of the world for example establishes a national newspaper printed on steam presses and distributed by railway trains was by the middle of the 19th century selling a hundred thousand copies a week and that's still very small by 20th century standards at one point the Daily Mirror sold eight and a half million copies every day but the news of the world by 1850 was selling about a hundred thousand copies once a week so you can see the dramatic exponential growth that took place firstly between the 18th and 9

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