The nineteenth century and the emergence of a mass circulation press

Authored by: Joel H. Wiener

The Routledge Companion to British Media History

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415537186
eBook ISBN: 9781315756202
Adobe ISBN: 9781317629474

10.4324/9781315756202.ch17

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Abstract

British journalism underwent a dramatic series of changes during the nineteenth century that led to the creation of a mass circulation press. The shift from a traditional form of journalism with a limited circulation to a daily and Sunday press encompassing millions of readers is one of the significant events of the century. It solidified the integration of newspapers into the cultural and social life of Britain and introduced many of the features of modern journalism with which we are familiar today. It transformed the publication of newspapers from a series of small-scale commercial undertakings into corporative financial structures that served the reading needs of a large portion of the population. The rise of mass circulation journalism has engendered many important questions about literature, politics, culture and economics, as well as issues regarding the purpose and nature of the popular press and the extent to which it has been a force for good or ill in the lives of millions of readers.

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