The News Revolution in England

The News Revolution in England : Cultural Dynamics of Daily Information

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This is the first book to analyse the essential feature of periodical media, which is their periodicity. Having to sell the next issue as well as the present one changes the relation between authors and readers-or customers-and subtly shapes the way that everything is reported, whether politics, the arts and science, or social issues. So there are certain biases that are implicit in the dynamics of news production or commodified information, quite apart from the intentions of journalists. The story of the first century of periodical media in England shows how soon publishers mastered this entirely new treatment of knowledge. And it shows how soon the public despite certain misgivings, adopted a news consciousness that was at odds with the "print consciousness" which Marshall McLuhan described. The colorful pioneers of journalism history seem different when seen first as entrepreneurs, creating a market for the most ordinary sort of information, rather than as heroes of enlightenment and liberty. Looking closely at the publications themselves rather than recounting the struggles of journalists reveals more of what readers were actually faced with. It also suggests how periodicity would begin to shape their minds. Further, it indicates how the very immaturity of the early media allowed them to perform their function of initiating discussion, and how soon a commercial maturity undermined that function, leading to deficiencies which are now widely lamented but little understood.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 206 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 362.87g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195106679
  • 9780195106671

Back cover copy

The News Revolution in England: Cultural Dynamics of Daily Information is the first book to analyze the essential feature of periodical media, which is their periodicity. Having to sell the next issue as well as the present one changes the relation between authors and readers - or customers - and subtly shapes the way that everything is reported, whether politics, the arts and science, or social issues. So there are certain biases that are implicit in the dynamics of news production or commodified information, quite apart from the intentions of journalists. The News Revolution in England looks at the history of journalism from an entirely different angle - the effect of the medium rather than the intentions of the journalists. It will be of interest to historians of England, journalism, and news, along with anyone interested in how the media shapes our world and how we come to relate to it.show more

Review quote

[referring both to Sommerville and to Raymond/ The Invention of the Newspaper, Clarendon Press] Although fundamental issues about readership, production methods and early attitudes to 'the news' may, because the necessary evidence does not survive in sufficient quantities, never be satisfactorily answered, studies such as these can nevertheless be helpful in pointing towards a fuller understanding of such problems. * Frances Henderson, Worcester College, Oxford, EHR June 1999 * Sommerville has cast his net widely in deep and notoriously murky waters * Frances Henderson, Worcester College, Oxford, EHR June 1999 * The research and close attention to detail which distinguishes this study of the evolution of the early English media is impressive ... is a solid achievement and is a welcome addition to the history of the British press. * George Evans, Contemporary Review vol.271 no.1580 * A valuable and stimulating account of a crucial cultural change driven by periodicity. * Times Literary Supplement *show more

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