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Title: The Newspaper
Author: Dibblee, George Binney
Language: English
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  Prof. GILBERT MURRAY, D.Litt., LL.D., F.B.A.
  The Rt. Hon. H. A. L. FISHER, M.A., F.B.A., LL.D.

  256 pages.      In cloth binding.




     13. MEDIÆVAL EUROPE. By H. W. C. DAVIS, M.A. (With Maps.)

             BARRY, D.D.

     23. HISTORY OF OUR TIME (1885-1913). By G. P. GOOCH, M.A.

     25. THE CIVILISATION OF CHINA. By H. A. GILES, LL.D., Professor
             of Chinese at Cambridge.

     29. THE DAWN OF HISTORY. By J. L. MYRES, M.A., F.S.A.


     34. CANADA. By A. G. BRADLEY.


     42. ROME. By W. WARDE FOWLER, M.A.




     61. NAPOLEON. By the Rt. Hon. H. A. L. FISHER, M.A.



             F.R.S.E. (Illustrated.)

     97. THE ANCIENT EAST. By D. G. HOGARTH, M.A. (Maps.)


    100. HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. By Prof. R. S. RAIT.

    101. BELGIUM. By R. C. K. ENSOR. (Maps.)

    105. POLAND. By Prof. W. ALISON PHILLIPS. (With Maps.)

    107. SERBIA. By L. F. WARING.


    113. WALES. By W. WATKIN DAVIES, M.A., F.R.Hist.S.

    114. EGYPT. By Sir E. A. WALLIS BUDGE, M.A., Litt.D., F.S.A.




     15. MOHAMMEDANISM. By Prof. D. S. MARGOLIOUTH, M.A., D.Litt.

             RUSSELL, F.R.S.


             B. SELBIE, M.A.

     54. ETHICS. By G. E. MOORE, M.A.

             LL.D., D.D.




             D.D., LL.D.


             TESTAMENTS. By Canon R. H. CHARLES, D.D., D.Litt.



      1. PARLIAMENT. Its History, Constitution, and Practice. By
             Sir COURTENAY P. ILBERT, G.C.B., K.C.S.I.






             By J. J. FINDLAY, M.A., Ph.D.



             G. P. GOOCH, M.A.


             BENTHAM TO J. S. MILL. By W. L. DAVIDSON, M.A., LL.D.

             HAROLD J. LASKI.


      5. THE STOCK EXCHANGE. By F. W. HIRST, Editor of _The





     69. THE NEWSPAPER. By G. BINNEY DIBBLEE, M.A. (Illustrated.)
             The best account extant of the organisation of the
             newspaper press, at home and abroad.


     85. UNEMPLOYMENT. By Prof. A. C. PIGOU, M.A.



    121. BANKING. By WALTER LEAF, D.Litt.



      8. POLAR EXPLORATION. By Dr W. S. BRUCE, F.R.S.E., Leader
             of the _Scotia_ Expedition. (With Maps.)

             G.C.M.G., F.Z.S. (With Maps.)

     36. CLIMATE AND WEATHER. By Prof. H. N. DICKSON, D.Sc.Oxon.,
             M.A., F.R.S.E. (With Diagrams.)

             (With 38 Maps and Figures.)


     91. THE ALPS. By ARNOLD LUNN. (Illustrated.)


    101. BELGIUM. By R. C. K. ENSOR. (Maps.)

    105. POLAND. By Prof. W. ALISON PHILLIPS. (With Maps.)

    107. SERBIA. By L. F. WARING.

    113. WALES. By W. WATKIN DAVIES, M.A., F.R.Hist.S.

    114. EGYPT. By Sir E. A. WALLIS BUDGE, M.A., Litt.D., F.S.A.




             Professor of Chinese at Cambridge.





     52. GREAT WRITERS OF AMERICA. By Prof. J. ERSKINE and Prof.
             W. P. TRENT.


             M.A., Ph.D.


             Professor of English in Columbia University.












             F.R.S. (With Diagrams.)

     19. THE ANIMAL WORLD. By Prof. F. W. GAMBLE, F.R.S. With
             Introduction by Sir Oliver Lodge. (Many Illustrations.)

     20. EVOLUTION. By Prof. J. A. THOMSON, M.A., and Prof. P.



     31. ASTRONOMY. By A. R. HINKS, M.A., Chief Assistant,
             Cambridge Observatory.





             MCDOUGALL, F.R.S., M.B.

     57. THE HUMAN BODY. By Prof. Sir A. KEITH, M.D., LL.D.

     58. ELECTRICITY. By GISBERT KAPP, D.Eng. (Illustrated.)

             Professor of Bio-Chemistry, University College,


     72. PLANT LIFE. By Prof. J. B. FARMER, D.Sc., F.R.S.

     78. THE OCEAN. A General Account of the Science of the Sea.
             By Sir JOHN MURRAY, K.C.B., F.R.S. (Colour Plates and
             other Illustrations.)

     79. NERVES. By Prof. D. FRASER HARRIS, M.D., D.Sc.

     86. SEX. By Prof. PATRICK GEDDES and Prof. J. ARTHUR
             THOMSON, LL.D.

             MACBRIDE, M.A., D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S. (Illustrated.)

    115. BIOLOGY. By Prof. PATRICK GEDDES and Prof. J. ARTHUR
             THOMSON, M.A., LL.D. (Illustrated.)

    116. BACTERIOLOGY. By Prof. CARL H. BROWNING. (Illustrated.)

    119. MICROSCOPY. By ROBERT M. NEILL. (Illustrated.)


    122. GAS AND GASES. By Prof. R. M. CAVEN. (Illustrated.)


    127. MOTORS AND MOTORING. By E. T. BROWN. (Illustrated.)


     39. ARCHITECTURE. By Prof. W. R. LETHABY. (Illustrated.)

             16 half-tone Illustrations.) From the Primitives to the



    112. MUSIC. By Sir W. H. HADOW.


  _Many other volumes in preparation._


  _And of all Bookshops and Bookstalls._







        LL.D., F.B.A.




  The Newspaper Duty Stamps were imposed in 1712.
  The Newspaper Duty Stamps were repealed in 1855.
  The Advertisement Duty of 3s. 6d. was imposed in 1712.
  The Advertisement Duty of 1s. 6d. was imposed in 1833.
  The Advertisement Duty was repealed in 1853.
  The Paper Duty was repealed in 1861.]


  Late Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford





     I THE FUNCTION OF A NEWSPAPER                     9

    II NEWSCOLLECTING AND REPORTING                   25

   III THE GREAT NEWSAGENCIES                         74



           OF A NEWSPAPER                            139


           THE EMPIRE                                204


     X JOURNALISM AND JOURNALISTS                    226

       BIBLIOGRAPHY                                  253

       INDEX                                         255




So common an object as a newspaper is seldom the subject of serious
reflection. If any one of us should stop to consider what it is and
why it is made, it is odds that he would think chiefly of one aspect
of it to the general exclusion of the others. The curious man might
reflect in surprise on the vast amount of mere reading matter turned
out regularly every morning with perhaps only half a dozen literal
mistakes, on the variety of typesetting and the amount of printing,
often more than sufficient to make a large sized book. The manufacturer
would direct his imagination to the efficient machinery necessary to
produce perhaps 3,000 copies a minute or to the practised organization,
able to distribute them, as fast as they are printed. The business man
would think chiefly of a newspaper, as a vehicle for prices and a
medium for advertising. Cooks, butlers, clerks and governesses look
upon it as a daily registry office. The solicitor sells houses and
lands through it. Housewives through it sometimes buy their soaps and
more often their hats. Actors, singers, authors, artists and musicians
each read their special column and wonder when the editor intends to
engage some one really acquainted with the only subject worth reading.
The politician will read its leading articles with smirking assent or
explosive repudiation. Last of all comes the general reader and he
asks nothing more of his newspaper than all the news of everywhere,
collected at great cost, transcribed with finished skill and presented
to him in just the way which pleases and flatters him most. All of them
have on their lips the daily threat of giving up the paper, if they are
not scrupulously satisfied.

In writing about “the newspaper” it seems to me most useful to the
greatest number of readers to dwell much less on those sides of a
newspaper, which are most familiar to all of us, however interesting
in itself everything connected with the editorial conduct of a paper
may be, than on the central entity behind them, which makes the public
functions possible and actual. In other words I shall write chiefly
of what most people seldom or never see and but little of all those
aspects of any newspaper, which every reader is accustomed to judge for
himself. To do otherwise would require an encyclopædia to hold the mere
bulk of material and would also bring oneself flat against the serried
ranks of fixed opinions. Every one is quite sure that he knows “what he
wants” and “what he wants” is always “the best” for him. To lay down
the law therefore on matters which are the subject of common opinion
is a danger to be evaded whenever possible and I propose only to deal
very slightly with what is generally known as “the press” and for the
larger part of my space shall try to explain the mechanism, which
industriously collects, enshrines in print and tirelessly circulates
all the material, whether news or literary, to every attainable corner
of the country and also the organism, which by serving the business
needs of its community, acquires the immense revenues, which alone make
the continued existence of the other possible.

A newspaper is of all modern private institutions the most
comprehensive in function and complicated in principle. Perhaps the
only thing at all comparable to it in these respects is a ship.
A ship, engaged on a voyage, almost equals the triple life of a
newspaper, because it is for the time being a place of residence, a
means of travel and a conveyor of traffic. But voyages are short and
discontinuous with one another, while the existence of a newspaper is
organically continuous from the issue of the first number to bankruptcy
and very often even afterwards. In every case, the newspaper is a
vehicle for the satisfaction of human wants and that in three diverse
ways; but the odd thing is that none of these ways, although they
actually in practice overlap, are essentially related to one another.
The newspaper is primarily a collector and distributor of news and
in this function has long ago beaten every possible rival out of
the field. Secondarily it is a vehicle of opinion and in virtue of
this capacity it often becomes the prey of the mighty or the victim
of the long purse; but still it continues to draw from its other
functions and powers a capacity for resistance to outside pressure,
which guarantees to it more independence than sometimes appears on the
surface. Lastly it serves as the great introducer of business from one
trader to another. It has been estimated, that the annual amount spent
on advertising in general is not less than £600,000,000 in civilized
countries and it would be safe to say, that probably something like one
half of this amount passes into the treasuries of journals and other
periodicals, all or nearly all of which fulfil in one way or another
the functions of a newspaper for their special circles of readers. It
is the existence of this colossal revenue, more than double the annual
budget of the United Kingdom, which makes possible the costly task of
collecting and transmitting the news of the world from all places to
all other places at once. It is a commonplace that the small amount
paid by each reader for the purchase of his paper, whatever it may be,
would be very far from defraying the expenses of providing him with all
that he will find in it.

Let us examine these functions of a newspaper separately. By far the
most important and exacting task, which falls to its lot, is the
provision of a daily--or weekly as the case may be--supply of news
and that not of any news nor of enough news but of all the news. The
distinction is of immense practical importance because it trebles the
difficulty imposed on the conductors of a newspaper. The outsider, who
as a general rule consults only a small part of the reading matter
provided for him, sometimes finds in any issue very little that
immediately interests him and a vast deal that does not. He therefore
commonly receives the impression of a large amount of space regularly
wasted. Very few readers are aware of the simple truth that, of what
may be called pure news matter, almost every issue has had at least as
much “copy” provided for it and rejected as appears in the paper. The
practical task of the editors and sub-editors in making up their daily
issues consists not in scraping together material for the printer but
in rejecting it. Of an evening paper with its successive editions this
is even more true, many a report or “story” appearing in the early
morning and being cut down or “killed” before nightfall. The great
responsibility assumed by all editors, to which they are very seldom
unfaithful, is the provision of _all news_, everything printable that
has happened close to rail or wire or not kept secret by governments or
private parties. There is only one excuse for leaving out any item of
news and that is that more important news has claimed precedence of it
and crowded it out.

It is evident therefore that the collection of news is strictly
speaking extra-editorial or, to be more precise, it is under the
general but not the immediate direction of the editor. It is an
elaborate and almost automatic system, consisting partly of a
world-wide organization for general news, which works for the common
benefit of a large number of papers, and partly of a particular corps
attached to each individual newspaper. It is the special function of
this private organization to secure, if possible, exclusive news for
its own paper and at any rate to emphasize and pay particular attention
to that class of news, which each paper considers its own strong
point. Yet while it is true that this duplicate and to some extent
self-overlapping system fulfils the fundamental duty of every paper,
which can be called in any sense a newspaper, it is not that side of
newspaper life, which arouses the greatest amount of attention from
outside, at any rate in this country, nor does it absorb the greatest
amount of energy and talent within. The sensational part of journalism
is the control of opinion.

It is usual in speaking of the editorial side of a paper for nearly
everyone, who is not within the narrow ring of professionals, to
mean the latter function of the paper and not the mere collection
and reproduction of news. This is true not only of periodicals and
weeklies but also of the great morning dailies, which are by far the
most influential part of that institution, which we casually refer to
as “the press.” Here is where power is presumed to reside. Whether it
be politics or art or finance, everyone, who wants anything important
done to influence the general public, feels that it is here that the
first and most valiant effort must be made. The press must be got at
and persuaded or bullied into taking what is the only possible point of
view, as each individual sees it for himself. And as there are always
dozens and perhaps hundreds struggling more or less successfully to get
to the one central point, where opinion is supposed to be controlled,
the illusion is set up that here is where events are being guided,
whereas they are only being agitated. The efforts and influences
generally balance themselves so evenly that the net result is generally
independent of any single personality. What governs all these efforts
in the end is the interest, which the general reader will take in the
particular matter in question and by the general reader, I mean in this
connection, those particular readers, who habitually look out for any
special news or discussion on any named subject. The power, which a
newspaper has of taking a subject from one plane of interest to another
and thus widening the number of those to whom a special matter will
appeal, is nearly always determined by an editorial estimate of the
amount of interest it will arouse, which is not strictly speaking an
analysis of its real importance but a prevision of the psychology of
the majority of readers, who will judge it next day.

Although to many of us the power of the press presents itself, perhaps
mistakenly, as largely an illusion, it cannot be denied that here lies
the romantic interest of the newspaper world to nine men out of ten.
Those, who, like musical or dramatic artists, habitually come before
the public, are apt to be obsessed by the importance of what is said
or done by the press; authors, politicians and prominent citizens are
not above actively canvassing it; even royalty and the state government
are careful to give it whatever guidance will be tolerated. Dear to
the imagination also of the occasional visitor to a newspaper office
are the inconceivable complications of one subject tumbling over
another at the last moment in competition, to find out which of the two
should be crowded out. Let me quote in illustration of this tossed and
wayward charm of self-important confusion a brilliant description of an
editorial room at the last moment from a recent work of fiction.[1]

    [1] C. E. Montague: _A Hind Let Loose_.

“Brumby’s editorial room was fit to visit the dreams of a dramatist.
Used as a scene, whole ranges of characters could have popped in and
out of it all night, and nobody run into any one else till the good of
the play required. For its walls were mainly door; for dooring’s sake
Wellington, Canning, Dizzy himself (after Millais) were skied; doors to
right of him, doors to left of him, at one hand a row of bell-buttons,
close as on a page’s bosom, at the other a serried squad of mouths of
speaking-tubes, Brumby sat like a brain centre in a nervous system--the
simile is his; at least he borrowed it first--feeling at all the
threads and living along each line.

“All the evening all the forces of the press, now centripetal and
now centrifugal, drew in upon this core to take direction or were
sped outwards from it, aimed and animated. To and from the central,
octagonal, skylighted room were sucked in or radiated forth each
by his proper door, along the spoke-like corridors, the office
messengers with ‘copy,’ proofs, letters and telegrams; the foreman
shirt-sleeved from the composing-room, asking the size of to-morrow’s
paper; the publisher, not yet perspiring, to know how much per cent.
Lord Allbury’s speech, the thing of to-night, should add on to the
parcels for the outer towns; sub-editors doubting how much to make of
some not very well-born rumour of a row inside the Cabinet, or if it
might be libel, though it were true, to say a borough treasurer had
turned invisible since Thursday; the porter from the lift bringing in
callers’ cards--the Manager, Theatre Royal--would not detain the editor
one instant; writer of a letter--turnstiles needed on trams--would
the editor see him, simply for five minutes--reform vital; small
deputation from Hospital Friday Committee--had not liked to give him
the trouble beforehand to make an appointment; bankrupt of some hours’
standing--just two words about to-morrow’s report--could nothing be
done about the judge’s conduct--method of choosing official receivers,
too, thoroughly faulty. Thence would the war correspondent post, at
Brumby’s bidding, over land and ocean without rest, bent to sweeten
the sacred home life of the _Warden’s_ readers with all the heroic
pleasures of war, unalloyed by groin wounds or enteric. To this call
at the heart of the hive the reporter, home from some delicate quest,
would come to lay up in the charge of the queen-bee that most perfect
flavoured news, which you could never put in the paper.”

There is no word here which is not true description, both in letter
and in spirit, capable of being annually multiplied by the number of
week-days in the year, except Christmas Day in some offices. Of all
this our presumed visitor might see one quarter and understand but the
half of that; yet it is all Fleet Street to a cup of coffee at 1 a.m.,
that what he did see and understand would dazzle and intoxicate him.
He would not know, that for every one professionally concerned in the
furious hive all this bustle had long ago become mere routine, that
everything had its method of being tested and that while almost nothing
was left to chance, intelligence had not often very much more to say
in the matter. Every kind of difficulty had occurred a hundred times
before; every decision given was an old one, that had been taken before
the oldest compositor was born; there was only one thing that changed
and kept changing and remained the perpetual preoccupation of workers,
little and big--he himself, the visitor, the reader, the representative
of the general public.

As far as the public is concerned, there is very little distinction
made between the function of newspapers as newsgatherers and their
duties as purveyors of opinion. This arises from a very simple cause.
While news is nominally an impersonal thing, as a matter of practice
it is far from being so. In obtaining it the faculty of selection is
required in the highest degree by the newsgatherer or “story-writer.”
Selection again is strenuously required in determining the competition
between one item of news and another. Finally the presentation of
news in words and paragraphs leaves a wide opening for individual
preferences and inclinations. Thus it comes about, naturally enough,
that the same series of habits, which govern the conduct of avowed
opinion in a newspaper, habits summed up briefly in the term, the
policy of the paper, express themselves, not so consciously but even
more effectively, in its news columns. Readers, who are on their guard
against the intention of the editor in that part of the paper, which is
avowedly the vehicle of opinion, retaining a certain critical faculty,
wherever they have reason to believe that their favourite newspaper is
not what they call “sound,” are quite unsuspicious of the news columns
and accept as plain facts statements, which have perhaps undergone
three unconscious garblings. It is therefore paradoxically true that
where a group of men conducting a paper consciously try to exert an
influence in a certain direction their intention is often discounted
and they produce very little effect. Whereas otherwise, through being
the medium of the distribution of mere news, a newspaper will wield
unconsciously a very considerable influence over its readers and may
continue indefinitely to do so, so long as it does not exploit this
subtle power in any way, which is detected to be conspicuously unfair.

The last aspect of a newspaper is much less impressive to outsiders
than anything, which appears in print in its columns. Every newspaper
is a commercial organism subject to the same laws of life and death,
which govern businesses in general. It has to build up a goodwill
sometimes slowly and against great odds, almost accidentally, in other
cases meteorically and insolently. Its peculiar faculty of dealing in
publicity both ways, through its news columns gratuitously and through
its advertisements for payment, give it a special power of making its
own way independently of outside help, in certain cases of advancing
itself by the aid of its own enemies. To succeed it must be talked
about and abuse is welcome, almost as much so as praise. Once arrived
at the eminence of an extensive popularity it becomes able to help
others and thus acquires the revenue necessitated by its own expensive
wants. But these wants are the great obstacle to any flash success.
In the case of a new daily morning paper it is impossible to start
with any less equipment than the best and richest of its rivals. The
income from the sales of the paper is trivial and for some time it has
to support enormous expenses out of capital, until it has not only
established an undoubtedly important circulation but has also convinced
the numerous classes of advertisers that this circulation has been
securely attained, a problem which is sometimes even more difficult to
solve than the other. All these questions and problems fall under the
classification of business management, which we shall arrive at in due

The life and power of any newspaper or periodical is thus doubly
entrusted to the hands of its readers and to their opinion of it. They
must draw from it amusement, instruction and business facilities and
for the latter the newspaper proprietor is even more concerned than
for the former. The secret of the miracle whereby 6d. or 10 cents
worth of news and literary matter can be sold in the streets for one
penny or one cent is that the reader makes a return to the newspaper
for every copy, which he buys, equivalent to the difference in price.
This return is afforded by his attention, a commodity in these days of
busy competition in exchanges, which it is extremely hard to secure and
worth therefore to the advertising world a very considerable body of



Of the duties and functions of any newspaper the first in point of
time and of importance is the collection and dissemination of news.
The necessity of giving to the news, which is collected, some sort of
literary form in its presentation leads at once to the possibility
of reinforcing it, of distorting it and sometimes, by suppression of
essential points, of even inverting its meaning. The propagation of
opinion is thus inseparably allied with the dissemination of news and
no effort of organization can entirely separate the two departments. In
all daily papers, however, and in most weekly papers, which attempt to
give the news, the editorial system is a duplicate one having under the
control of the supreme chief two staffs, kept more or less separate,
one for giving the news of the day in the briefest form and the other
for commenting on such news in accordance with the habits of the paper.
The status and quality of every newspaper is chiefly determined by
the relative importance allowed by the editor and his proprietors to
giving the mere news as compared with the pains taken to elucidate it.
The more popular and cheaper papers concentrate their chief energies
on giving the largest number of items of ordinary news, which it is
their aim to transform as far as possible into matters of exceptional
interest, while the old-established organs of social and political
weight are content to state their news impartially, if not boldly, and
rely on their powers of interesting the reader by able discussions on
political, artistic or literary topics, as they present new features
day by day. Every one can call to mind two or three instances in either
the United Kingdom or America of papers, which show these opposite
tendencies in extreme form.

Taking the two branches of Anglo-Saxon journalism together as one
whole, there is a very distinct tendency in America to attach greater
prominence to the news-collecting side of journalism. Comment,
criticism, propagandism are not excluded from American papers but the
papers themselves live and flourish or die quickly according to the
value which their public attaches to their news columns. In the United
Kingdom, on the other hand, and especially in London, the purveying
of news is accurately and competently done, but more or less in a
perfunctory manner, while the energies, which competition calls forth,
are devoted to the writing of special articles, the expert criticism
of the arts or the drama or else in the creation of what are generally
called the “features of a paper,” that is to say, news, of which the
presentation is individual, while the matter is more or less common
to every one. It must not be supposed, however, that on this side of
the water, including London, there is no keen competition in some
quarters in the procuring and even in the manufacture of news. Certain
papers strongly specialize in that direction and in many respects have
imported American methods. But the predominant type of newspaper in
the two countries is very different. British and Irish newspapers are
content to share much more news in common than is the case in America,
which inclines the Transatlantic reader to consider them extremely slow
and unenterprising. On the other hand the purely editorial columns
in an American newspaper are often curtailed to minute dimensions,
while the standard of indulgence generally extended to carelessness
and ignorance in matters relating to culture would not pass muster in
British papers, even of the second rank.

This comparison is made with obvious reluctance for a certain definite
purpose, because the distinction between the two types, is a sure
guide to the relative superiority of each system in its own way, the
one aiming chiefly at efficiency in collecting news and the other
at the perfection of editorial presentation. The American system
of collecting news is necessarily superior to that of most English
newspapers, because in America news is the all-important thing and
nothing else counts in promoting the prosperity of a newspaper. It
follows also that not only do individual American newspapers employ
larger staffs and spend greater sums for news than is the case with
us, but also, in spite of the competition and partly because of it,
the whole business of newsgetting is professionalized to an extent,
which no English journalist would be led to imagine from his own
experience. The divisions between one grade and another within the
ranks of editors and reporters are more finely distinguished; there
is a much freer circulation of able men from one paper to another
and much more prompt dismissal of incompetents from the whole group
than our slower habits would tolerate. With us there is a certain
amateurishness permitted in all ranks of a newspaper because when
the system is too perfect the individual is cramped in his free play
and the results aimed at in British journalism are less mechanical
than the first-class newspaper “story,” which it is the aim of the
“star” reporter in New York and Chicago to turn out. In America so
great is the keenness of competition on one straight set of rails that
individualism is practically stamped out by the ruthless perfection
of the professional machine. Recent changes in their habits point all
in this direction. The individual “I” has been long suppressed; the
editorial “we” is considered to date back to the time of the war;
what is more, every word tending to introduce an element of personal
opinion is struck out of any ordinary description of an event. An
American reporter is not allowed to say that a meeting was successful
or that the statesman was eloquent or that the confusion around the
railway wreck baffled description. His professional duties require that
he should report only, what the statesman said and what his audience
thought of him, and if his powers of description are to be baffled by
a railway accident he will soon be out of a job. The present tendency
on this side of the Atlantic is all the other way. The public seems to
wish to know what great cricketers think about cricket, golfers about
golf, statesmen about politics. A British editor’s task is largely a
matter of keeping up communications with a large circle of experts on
hundreds of subjects, who can be appealed to from day to day about any
event or topic of immediate importance. The shortest way of putting
it is to say that the ordinary American paper from cover to cover is
almost wholly written by professionals, while perhaps one-third of our
papers is the product of an outside sporadic ring of contributors, who
are practically half-employed amateurs, and the remainder, which is the
more perfunctory but sometimes the least sensational portion of the
paper, is the work of the home staff.

I am sorry to labour, what seems to be perhaps an invidious critical
comparison, but it is necessary to explain that any one who attempts
to present the best side of two national journalisms, between whom I
may say parenthetically the want of sympathetic comprehension is rather
marked, can only do so by recognizing and making clear the difference
in the strong points of each. Of an admirable system of news collection
the American paper unquestionably offers the best example; it is,
however, a difficult one, especially for a foreigner, to describe.
But as an organ of opinion, the newspaper is on the whole much more
comprehensively and effectively organized in the United Kingdom than
in any other country; its standard of general culture is higher than
that of the press of any other country except perhaps that of France
and even in the case of this latter comparison it may be considered
decisively superior, when the breadth of its scope and range is taken
into account.

Let us examine in detail the organization of the most expert
newsgathering machine in the world--an American daily paper with
perhaps an evening paper attached to it.[2] Of this double system
the former part is of the greater importance, because the morning
paper has greater wealth and a wider geographical distribution but
the latter presents some points of superiority owing to the more
difficult task and the continued strain of producing edition after
edition. To understand a news-collecting system is to be able to answer
the five following questions: What is news?--From what sources is it
drawn?--Who gets it?--Who writes it?--Who determines what and how much
is to be published? The answers to these questions largely overlap
one another, but together they cover the whole subject. The first two
questions are mainly a concern of the public; what they are interested
in collectively and what personal and public incidents they and their
affairs will supply, which will be of interest to others. The last
three are the concern of the organization of a newspaper.

    [2] Although I have been connected with the American
        press for some years in more than one capacity, it
        would have been wholly impossible for me to attempt
        the detailed description of their news-collecting
        organization without the inside view of their
        professional life rendered in Mr. Given’s book called
        “The Making of a Newspaper.” Mr. Given, formerly of
        the New York _Sun_, often called “the newspaper man’s
        newspaper,” has written to my mind the only valuable
        professional account of the newspaper world.

What is news? Americans give a more comprehensive answer to that
question than any other people. In that country small things overshadow
the great. Perhaps it would be truer to say that the important things
to them are matters of detail. Foreign politics are to them outlandish
matters. Their public life is itself a matter of small things; detailed
changes in the tariff; detailed changes in the _personnel_ of federal,
state and city governments; details about railway concessions or
amalgamations or prosecutions, which affect stocks and shares. As a
consequence an importance is attached to the details of personal
life, private happiness, social standing, success and failure of
individuals, which in Europe is quite beyond comprehension. Everything
is news; almost anything may become big news, if it can be shown to be
in any way connected with the interests of the vast, curious, highly
intelligent but not deeply cultivated public.

Take the case of the suicide of a poor man. To a trained reporter this
may be just a paragraph of three lines, or it may cover material for
a week’s agitation and a national movement, so that his experience
prompts him to examine its details untiringly for some underlying
fact which will lift it out of the common run. Suppose the paragraph
runs:--Early this morning (Monday) John A. Smith hanged himself at
31, W. 249th Street. He leaves no family and no light can be thrown
on his motive. His habits were reported to be irregular.--Such a
suicide, especially on Monday morning, would be unfortunately so common
an occurrence after a possible Sunday’s intemperance, that not much
beyond a few enquiries would be prosecuted. Let us put the paragraph
in another way:--In an unoccupied room on the fifth floor of the
tenement house at 31, W. 249th Street the body of an emaciated man
was found hanging early this morning. He had apparently been dead some
time. Enquiry elicits the fact that he was called John Alexis Smith,
who lived with a wife and four children at 917, Ninth Avenue where he
had no difficulty in finding work, but very little chance of keeping
it long. His former employers describe him, as semi-imbecile, with
various degenerate traits. Apparently he had been in the country only
seven months. How he passed the negligent inspection officers at Ellis
Island is a matter, which demands rigid scrutiny!--and so we go on to
the Immigration Laws, Corrupt Federal Administration, Pauper Labour of
Europe, etc.

Take John A. Smith another way and suppose him to have been in good
work up to a few months ago and to have lost his savings through wild
speculation in United States Steel Common; then will follow Wall
Street and the Harpy Brokers, who stoop to take the Earnings of the
Poor. Or, again, Smith may have lost his savings in one of the recent
Trust Company failures and then we have a criticism of the Unstable
Foundations of Credit. Or, he may have been sick and gone mad with the
heat, which will yield an attack on High Prices and the Wickedness of
the Ice Trust. Or, his family and he may have been starving, owing to
the increased prices of food and the Machinations of the Beef Trust.
All these are openings for news, where the further investigation of
facts may elicit, it is not to be assumed that they will, confirmatory
items of superior importance. On all serious questions the American
public can be appealed to ten times more strongly through emotional
sympathy than by reasoned discussion, and that is a reason, usually
forgotten, why we should be slow in condemning a sensational tendency
in their journalism.

The next question arises: What are the sources, whence the news,
which interests the public, is drawn? These may be classified into
three: official news, business items and general matter. What we may
call official news covers all public announcements, government and
municipal publications, police bulletins and matters of record from
public registers. This class of news comes into the newspaper office
automatically or very nearly so; sometimes a messenger has to call
to fetch books and papers or a reporter is ordered to run his eye
down the public registers; but very little trouble is necessary to
collect this material, because everywhere all kinds of authorities and
semi-authorities are accustomed to consult their own interests by
keeping newspapers informed of official transactions. When anything
unusual occurs in this field there will always be some one at the
police office or in the city hall to telephone to the chief papers and
warn them not to miss an opportunity.

Business items of serious importance are of all news the most valuable
that a paper can get. But except for an occasional accident there
is almost no way of getting any, save by way of favour. Anything
interesting of this kind has always a value for some one so long as it
can be kept secret and the only way in which a newspaper can counteract
this tendency is to keep in touch or be introduced to other parties,
who may be interested in disclosure. The ordinary published items of
business news, failures, amalgamations, flotations, etc., are on the
same footing as official news and come into the newspaper office of

General news sometimes comes in by routine methods, such as reports
of trials, political speeches and all items of literary, artistic or
dramatic material, which offer themselves generally only too profusely
and eagerly for publication. The most interesting and most valuable
matter under this head is the unexpected; accidents, crimes, disasters
and mere freakish occurrences having a humorous aspect. All these must
be collected by the professional organizations because, curiously
enough, the public, who is the ultimate judge of what is interesting
after it is printed, is not a good judge of it at first hand. A crowd
is immensely affected by a small accident but may equally probably
be unobservant of or callous to a great one. In criminal matters the
police court is fuller than the final court of appeal. Those items
of news which are brought in by private individuals, and a good deal
of this is done by amateurs, are generally valueless or improperly
observed. The observation, description and sifting has to be the
systematic work of trained men. The American system is to assume that
every small accident, catastrophe, crime or intrigue is potentially
a great one. As a matter of professional competition this method is
forced upon them. No newspaper can allow another to gain an important
start on a question, which may become the sensation of the hour.
Consequently the wearisome task of turning over every sordid detail
of misfortune, weakness, disaster and corruption has to be undertaken
simultaneously by the members of every staff in competition with every
other paper. Except in the case of co-operative news agencies, to be
described later, it is very rare that news investigation is undertaken
in combination, and, when that happens in New York or any big city,
it is generally done by private understanding between the reporters
themselves, when the ground to be covered is extensive and there seems
to be little opportunity for exceptional features to be developed.

We come then to our last three questions: Who gets the news? Who writes
it? and Who determines what and how much is to be published? and we
may well answer them together for this is tantamount to describing
the organization for collecting news on any great paper. It is in
this department, that the American newspaper has carried sureness
of grasp and differentiation of function further than the press in
any other country and we may take their system as our model. If any
important news “story” slips through the meshes of their net for news
more than once or twice a year on any individual paper, probably the
shutters will have to be put up in that office and certainly all the
editors and reporters will have been sent flying to other cities to
look for jobs. The struggle for mere existence in this crucial respect
is pushed to the extreme. The aim and object of this struggle in
the American press is the presentation of a “story,” that is to say
all the facts about and as many aspects as possible of some event,
disastrous, humorous, pathetic or merely arresting, in such a way that
the “story” should have more features or more human interest than the
description of the same fact or event, which may appear in another
paper. Almost everything in an American paper amounts to that in one
way or another and very brilliant talents and quite astounding energy
and resourcefulness are brought to bear to realize an ideal, which at
first sight does not seem very impressive. It is, however, much more
difficult to realize than appears on the surface and above all it is
what their public wants.

The material for the ordinary newspaper “story” is more often than
not taken from the unfortunate or shady side of life, because in
that class of facts the masses of the public take an unfailing and
untiring interest. It is not a question about which it is worth while
moralizing, because, now that the supply of such matter has been made
available from one or two sources, all others have to follow. The
history of journalism has only one continuous lesson for editors and
proprietors. It is not possible to dictate to your public and the
only choice open to any one who is obstinate on questions of taste is
to appeal to a narrow public of a better class against the more common
preferences of the multitude. In America the papers, which have found
such a better-class public to maintain them in moderate prosperity, may
be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The regular sources of sensational news, which are watched as a matter
of course by the professional corps of reporters, comprise some fifty
localities in a big city. Mr. Given mentions some ten, where there is
a constant attendance, such as the stock exchange, the City Hall and
its courts and offices, police headquarters, the police courts and
higher courts. Others, such as the police stations, municipal courts,
fire stations, the jails, hospitals, the morgue and administrative
offices of various kinds are patrolled at frequent intervals, while
some twenty more places are visited every day. This duty falls on a
special class of men called “watchers,” who are far from being ordinary
reporters, as very often they have not been promoted to the dignity of
writing a line, but they must know what news is and their function is
to telephone to the head office any bulletins, which are promising, or
any definite items, which need to be investigated and worked up, and in
fact to be the eyes and ears of the newspaper. But they are eyes and
ears which have to be open all the time. If they stopped to follow up
any news item for themselves, they might miss a much more important one
the next minute. This is the kind of news in brief which they send to

9th Precinct 7 a.m. March 15.

6.30 a.m. Jessie Hawkins, 87, Cortlandt Street, attic above warehouse,
badly burnt, feared dead; age 7 years, flannelette; no one present;
sent St. A. hospital.--P.B.

6th Precinct 10.30 a.m.

10.10 a.m. Fire, 916, Franklin Street; tenement house; occupants mostly
gone to work; 3 children crushed on stairs; Leczinski, laundryman,
recent immigrant; damage $700, owner Belmont.--L.A.

2nd Precinct 8.15 a.m.

7.20 a.m. Body unknown man found off Pier 1, East River; about 40
years, 5 feet 10 inches; light complexion, lace shoes, blue shirt,
black coat and trousers; some valuable papers in pocket but no

To solve these problems another group of men is needed, the reporters
proper, called, when they are on this service, “general workers.” As
the original brief messages come in to the city editor, he details one
or another of his young men to the spot, who sets to work to ransack
every fragment of fact or probability, which throws light on the case.
If a general worker has to think only of a morning newspaper and the
matter is important, he will try to treat it exhaustively and not
return to the office, until he has his story complete and ready for the
press. But more often he has no time for this. He may very likely have
one job treading on the heels of another, especially if he has evening
paper editions coming out successively behind him. It is therefore more
usual for the general worker to treat his work in fragments, either
telephoning his account through to the office or, if he has time to be
more careful, sending his notes by hand or taking them back himself. He
will then continue to study the same story for more facts or pass on to
some other task.

In any case the matter passes into a third stage and comes into the
hands of the “rewriters” or “telephone rewriters.” These two groups
of people handle this half-prepared matter and give it more or less
literary form. It has now become a “story,” complete for the moment
but liable to be changed, supplemented, or suppressed according to
later information. But for the present it passes on its road to the
press into the hands of a fourth body, the “copy-readers,” whose
duties in America correspond partially to part of the work fulfilled
in this country by “sub-editors,” who do not enjoy however so much
positive responsibility, as we should allow them here. The functions
of a copy-reader are unpleasantly negative. The real power of judging
the news and criticizing it lies above with the city-editor and
the managing editor, officials only dimly shadowed in England. The
copy-reader’s duty is to suppress hopelessly incompetent stuff, to
revise the results of carelessness, to add headlines and to correct
all blunders. In addition he is the policeman of the office, cutting
out the list of forbidden words, correcting spelling and removing
contradictions and obvious absurdities. There are no thanks coming to
him either from above or below and endless possibilities of reproof and

We have now the “newspaper story” complete in its final form for a
morning paper and subject to addition and revision in the evening
paper. It has to run the danger of fading away under the eye of
the city-editor and may even, if it be very important, attract the
unfavourable notice of the managing editor or the editor-in-chief.
But, as these great men belong essentially to the central framework
of the staff, we must invert our investigations for a moment and look
at our American newspaper from the upper side downwards. The first
difference between the two countries that strikes one here is the
rather larger number of men and the much larger number of titles, as
compared with the staff on an English paper. As the net output of most
American dailies is not much larger than some of our own, we are led to
suppose that what is once done in England, is done two or three times
over in America, because over there the pace of output is tremendous.
And that I believe to be the explanation of the difference between
the two systems. While in England we have usually a single editor, or
man in charge for the night, with but three grades of workers under
him, the literary staff, the sub-editors and reporters, supplemented
by outside men on special subjects; in America the situation is more
complicated. To begin with, the proprietor very often takes a hand in
it himself, eclipsing the great editor and laying down his views, often
criticizing the “make-up” of the paper, while it is still in the press.
But usually we have the editor-in-chief with a dual organization under
him for pure news and for what one might call fancy news, such as the
plays, art, finance, etc., of the day. In fact he has three separable
organizations under him and every member of any one of them is called
an editor. There is the staff for fancy news, including the editors
of finance, sport, society, fashions, real estate, art, drama, music,
literature and others. Then he has the routine staff for dealing with
outside news, the foreign editor, the telegraph editor, who handles
provincial news, and the exchange editor, who follows all the other
papers and tries to get free “copy” from them if he can. Lastly he has
the news organization proper, consisting of the managing editor, who
usually has an assistant, the city editor, who looks after news up to
six p.m. and the night city editor, who takes over this duty after that
hour. Beneath these are all the reporters or general workers and others.

The duties of managing editor and city editor cover much the same
ground; that is to say, it is the duty of the managing editor to revise
and do over again the work of the city editor, while at the same time
he has a certain control over the decorative news, except as a rule
finance, and in this respect he rather trenches on the sphere of the
editor-in-chief without however having any right to influence what
may be the policy of the paper in politics or social matters. The
distinctively American system centres on the city editors, who have the
primary responsibility for the news and the newspaper “stories.”

The city editor on duty for the time being combines in himself
functions, which in England are usually divided between the head
reporter and one of the sub-editors, whose duty it is to revise home
news. For instance he has to make the assignments for the early
morning to his corps of reporters; but whereas the English head
reporter, having distributed tasks, would probably himself take the
most important engagement, work beside his own staff and leave the
“copy,” as it comes in, to pass to the sub-editors’ room, this is not
the case with the American city editor. He remains at the desk all day
with the telephone at his ear, waiting for messages from the scattered
“watchers,” ready to make fresh assignments for anything unexpected
that may turn up. That is his pre-occupation and imminent anxiety. With
all his men already out, something startling and of infinite importance
may arise at any minute and he may have no one to deal with it. For
that reason it is the custom for all “general workers,” except those
engaged on some prolonged investigation to report themselves at regular
intervals to headquarters. Suppose news came of an explosion or fatal
accident to one of the huge ferry-boats plying from Manhattan Island
to Jersey City or Hoboken. All ordinary “stories” would be dropped
at once. Even “murders” would be postponed. Every available man, as
he reported himself, would be hurried to the quays to get tales from
officials or survivors and to try to build up a theory about the

On the return of these “stories” to the office the second half of
a city editor’s duty begins. The stories have been to some extent
prepared for him by the “copy-readers,” but he has to judge of each
individual “story” by itself and to exercise a certain choice between
them. Having declared certain preferences he issues fresh orders to the
reporters for fresh facts to lengthen them, while at the same time he
curtails or drops entirely the “stories” of lesser interest. In the end
he sends up to his superior, the managing editor, a mass of digested
and to some extent coordinated “copy,” enough to occupy from a fifth to
a sixth as much space over and above what the paper will hold. Such a
margin of superabundance of “copy” leaves some room for the superior
magnate to exercise a choice of his own in going over all the mass a
second time. But here it is not a question of amending or extending;
rejection at this last stage is the only resource. If the managing
editor has fault to find about preparation or selection, he gives his
views to the city editor next day with more or less vehemence, as the
occasion requires. For the moment the whole body of news has to go to
press, more or less as it stands.

There is another higher function remaining to the managing editor.
He has to keep the balance between the predominating bulk of home
news coming from the city editor and reporters and the body of less
important news coming from the foreign, telegraph and exchange editors;
to estimate the quantity of financial news, which is generally
inelastic and practically outside of his control; and to allow space as
well for the decorative parts of the paper drawn from art, literature,
the drama and society. This is not the end of his responsibilities. A
certain quantity of editorial matter descends to him from above, coming
from the pen of his chief and the special political writers, always
at the last moment. The amount of this and its habitual fluctuations
are merely a question of judgment or guessing, because it cannot
be altered and everything else has to give way to it. The managing
editor’s only resource is to mark certain of the other items sent to
the composing-room, as optional matter, liable to rejection at the last
moment, even after it has been set up in type.

[3]The English system has the same complicated problem to face but
the pressure of mere time and space is relaxed by our easier habits.
A larger part of the paper is habitually filled with regular services
and with, what I have called above, the decorative items. All this
comes in early and can be judged more coolly and definitely fixed in
quantity. What is incomparably the most difficult part of a newspaper’s
task, the adjustment, arrangement and choice between various items of
news, is relegated to an allotment of space on less imperative terms
and is more governed by mere routine. The simple explanation of this
material consolation to editors and sub-editors lies in the fact that
competition about mere news is not, speaking relatively in respect
of American practice, tuned up to the same pitch of keenness. As we
shall see in the next chapter, the English papers are content to have
a comparatively large amount of their mere news provided from common

    [3] This contrast of which I speak is an extremely
        difficult matter to write about. I have perhaps made
        rather more of the point than many journalists,
        especially in London, would allow to be true. There is
        now no paper in London worked exactly under what I have
        called the typical English system, but all the daily
        papers have evolved their own separate practice from
        something very like it. It prevails in the provinces,
        and will ultimately, I have no doubt, be transformed
        gradually to something more resembling the American
        system. For instance, in London practice the functions
        of (1) the Chief Sub-Editor, and (2) the News Editor
        are coming to be very much the same as those of the
        City Editor and Managing Editor in New York.

The effect of this on the usual arrangement of the staffs of English
papers is that the type of organization is more primitive, the working
of it less vehement and more elastic and variation from one settled
type more common. No two English newspapers have their staffs organized
in exactly the same way. Yet there is practically very little departure
from the grand traditional tripartite division of functions, including
the editor with his personal staff of leader-writers or budding
editors, the room of sub-editors, and the corps of reporters. This
system is so flexible that it need not be materially altered in form
to meet the most varying needs. Even the most progressive, sensational
and restless innovators, who have half adopted the latest American
impetuosities, can fit them tolerably well into the English framework.
The editor and his staff share the responsibilities of power and
round them they have an extensive group of half-employed satellites,
differentiating into all shades of expertism and virtuosity. The
sub-editors are not, as a layman often imagines them from their name
to be, assistant editors, but those whose business it is to exercise
the art of “sub-editing”; that is to say, of correcting, revising,
arranging, selecting and passing judgment on news and “copy” of all
kinds, except strictly “editorial” matter. In their quiet room filled
with news clippings, flimsies and MSS. lies the core of an English
newspaper, just as in America the critical work is done over the city
editor’s telephone. The “sub-editors” have one great advantage over
the American “copy-readers” in that they have a real and often final
control of and power over copy and much of the responsibility of
deciding what is to be considered “optional” at the last moment rests
with them. The reporters are dwindling both in number and function
owing to the inroads of two outside institutions; firstly, the purely
reporting or shorthand work is now almost completely taken over by the
great newsagencies, and secondly the semi-amateur outside specialist
is coming to fill up more and more space both in the daily and evening
papers. For instance there are people, who make a comfortable income
by writing signed and unsigned articles on gardening on half a dozen
papers; others specialize as reporters on naval and military matters,
photography, golf, cycling, motor-cars, aviation, the weather, health,
comic paragraphs, etc.; celebrated professors resign government posts
and earn increased incomes by writing on science; dons at college write
regularly on their special subjects. So that the sphere of the regular
reporter narrows every day and his work is tending more and more to be
confined to selecting incidents of an unusual kind and dressing them up
in a way, which amounts to very much the same thing, as the American
“newspaper story,” although the style of doing it is rather different.

The conscious aim of all news-collectors and reporters on all
Anglo-Saxon newspapers is to score a “scoop” or a “beat,” which is the
technical press name for an exclusive item of sensational interest. In
America this achievement is still but very rarely within the powers
of an individual reporter. A striking instance of a success of this
kind in amateur detective work was made by a reporter on the _New York
World_ at the time when an attempt was made on the life of Russell
Sage in December, 1891. The point of the sensation was that no apparent
clue remained of the identity of the man, who threw the dynamite bomb,
as his own body was almost completely destroyed. He had penetrated
into Sage’s office in Broadway but mismanaged his throw, so that he
himself was blown up without leaving any more traces than a few scraps
of cloth and a button or two. This was the reporter’s opportunity. He
secured one of the buttons and an adhering fragment of cloth. On the
button was the name of a well-known Boston tailor. So with this clue
in his possession, which had escaped the attention of the police, he
took the next train to Boston. Interviewing the tailor and showing
the cloth he found that a suit of this cloth had lately been made for
a young Boston broker, named Henry Norcross. Further enquiry about
Norcross’s antecedents and a visit to his home elicited the facts that
Norcross had lately been in financial trouble and had been missing for
several days. Putting two and two together the reporter risked the
conclusion that Norcross and the potential murderer were one and the
same man, and, inducing his paper to adopt his view, he obtained one
of the greatest newspaper successes in New York. For the matter had
been the sole topic of conversation in town for days and the subsequent
verification of the facts fully confirmed his brilliant and daring

Those individual “beats” are rare and are becoming rarer. Their most
frequent opportunity used to occur in war correspondence but nowadays
in war all news is served out by the censor in common to a group of
correspondents and the only task left to the latter is to arrange
to wire the news according to the dimensions of the parental purse
at home. Outside war a modern “scoop” is obtained only by elaborate
and organized expenditure, undertaken a long time beforehand for
some special purpose with the risk that the whole scheme may fall
through and the money be wasted. A classic instance of a successful
“beat” of this kind was the expedition organized by Stanley at the
expense of the _New York Herald_ and the _Daily Telegraph_ to find
Livingstone in Africa. A comparative failure of the same kind was the
Jackson-Harmsworth exploration towards the North Pole. The _Daily Mail_
achieved an inverted “scoop,” when it announced the massacre of the
legations at Pekin.

The _Daily Chronicle_ of London in the beginning of 1912 successfully
brought off a sensational “beat,” no doubt by previous arrangement
and at great expense, in being the only paper to receive an authentic
telegram from Captain Amundsen, on his returning from the discovery
of the South Pole. This “beat” was respected by all the London papers
of the day and was only quoted by permission next day to a limited
extent. In New York a different situation arose. The New York _Times_
had purchased the American copyright of this telegram from the London
_Chronicle_ and expected to have it as exclusive news; since however
New York time is five hours later than English time, there was time
for Hearst’s paper, the New York _American_, to have the whole article
telegraphed from Europe and to publish it simultaneously with the New
York _Times_. The quarrel developed into a law-suit, turning on the
question, whether there is copyright in news in the United States or
whether there may be copyright in the literary form of news, a question
long vexed in Europe and not yet entirely decided.

Another extensive “scoop” hardly known, but quite unequalled, in London
was obtained by the _Manchester Guardian_, who had prepared for it long
beforehand. The death of Queen Victoria took place at 6.30 on a Monday
evening and on the following Tuesday morning there appeared in the
ordinary way, incorporated in the daily paper, some twenty full pages
of biography by several distinguished writers with a large number of
illustrations, at a time when illustrations hardly ever appeared in
the daily press. The success of this unexpected tribute to the late
Queen was prodigious. Editions of many thousands were absorbed at once
and single copies were sold in Lancashire towns by private speculators
for five shillings each. The sale continued for five days and after a
million copies of the issue had been sold, the publication was closed
down out of mere weariness and in order to allow the ordinary work of
the office to be carried on.

An amusing instance of a “beat,” which “fell down,” dates back to
the time when the Oxford and Cambridge boat race was a matter of
more absorbing interest to the general public than it is nowadays. A
provincial evening paper with small circulation endeavoured to force
itself to the front by engineering a sensational success. It prepared,
some little time before the result was to be announced, two complete
editions, one printed in dark blue ink announcing an Oxford victory,
the other printed in a lighter blue colour announcing Cambridge as the
winner. That year there was a dead heat.

A more important if not so disastrous a failure is recorded by Sir
William Russell, who was sent on a special mission for the _Times_ to
Dublin to report the trial of O’Connell in 1844. He came back in a
specially chartered steamboat well ahead of any one else and as he was
entering the _Times_ office among a group of shirt-sleeved men, whom he
took to be compositors of his own paper, one came up touched his hat
and said, “We are glad to hear, sir, they have found O’Connell guilty
at last.” “Oh yes!” replied Russell innocently, “all guilty but on
different counts.” This individual turned out to be an emissary of the
_Morning Herald_, who stole Russell’s secret from him in the very jaws
of the rival office.

If the ambition of the newspaper man is to achieve a “scoop” or
“beat,” his ever present fear, and one much more imminently near
to him than the corresponding hope, is an inadvertent libel. The
great libel actions of the past, which have become historic, such as
the Parnell letters and Pigott case, were generally the result of
deliberate intention of the newspaper to run the risk in question, but
only a newspaper editor knows how often accidental libels have been
avoided by mere luck and at other times unfortunately not avoided at
all. Libels lurk in single words misplaced, in head lines, in queer
coincidences, in accidental resemblances of name or description. Many
instances have come within my personal recollection, of which the
following are a few. There was the celebrated Artemus Jones case,
where an occasional contributor writing for a northern paper was
giving a character sketch of people on their holidays at a French
watering place. He mentioned as a purely supposititious character, a
certain Artemus Jones, who apparently misbehaved himself or conducted
himself in a reprehensible manner. Now there happened to be living
in the neighbourhood a real Artemus Jones, a fairly well-known man,
who was also even a frequent contributor to the same paper. The real
man brought evidence of damage to his reputation and was awarded a
considerable sum in compensation.

An even more curious coincidence occurred in the case of a disreputable
weekly paper, now I am glad to say, long dead. This paper throve on
scandal and one week it produced a circumstantial story, which the
printers for fear of being held liable for damages refused to print;
the story was then elaborately altered, fresh names and places
being substituted. When the story appeared in print, it proved to be
substantially true of another incident, which had happened elsewhere
under circumstances sufficiently similar to justify action being taken.
The matter had to be settled out of court.

One peculiarly unlucky case, I remember, which turned out the other way
in the end, arose out of a mistake in the advertisements. A Liverpool
firm of solicitors had sent for insertion a notice of winding-up
proceedings to be taken against a firm of shaky credit. A daily paper
in a neighbouring town received this order and had the advertisement
set up in type for Saturday morning’s paper. On Friday night very late
came a telegram from the solicitors, withdrawing the advertisement, as
their own claims had been satisfied. Unfortunately the compositor in
charge that night made an innocent but fatal mistake; he withdrew the
wrong advertisement and next morning the incriminating advertisement
appeared without any authorization. The newspaper had no defence and
the damages threatened to be very serious. However, finally the firm
in question had been so fatally shaken in their credit by this wholly
accidental revelation of the true state of their affairs, that they
went into liquidation and had no money to bring an action against the
newspaper. But the manager of the newspaper had an unhappy time.

A reporter’s mistake, although quickly corrected, once had far-reaching
consequences. A man concerned in a petty police court case was reported
as convicted, when he was really acquitted. The true version came in
three minutes later but meanwhile the evening paper had gone to press.
A hurried rush was made by the editor and staff to the machine room to
stop the edition and to the publishing room to recover all the guilty
copies. Seventeen had been sold and of these fourteen were immediately
recovered from the newsboys. The remaining three did not at the time
seem to constitute much danger but unfortunately one of these papers
fell into the hands of the agent of an evening paper in another town,
whose business it was to get news for his paper cheap by wiring all
news items from early issues of his rival. This agent had already wired
through the fatal paragraph, which cost his paper £500. The original
mistake cost the first evening paper only £200, because they were held
to have caused less damage than the other.

Besides editorial matter, which includes both political, social
and decorative items, and besides the news “stories,” the ordinary
newspaper has to include correspondence from the provinces, from
abroad and special correspondence, of which by far the most important
and sensational kind is war correspondence. But before passing on to
consider correspondence in general we must note one form of newspaper
enterprise, the invention of American ingenuity and now universally
employed everywhere, the interview, which does not exactly fall under
any of the above categories. Interviewing has acquired a bad name,
first because undoubtedly, when maliciously or stupidly done, it may
be an annoyance or a serious nuisance to the individual interviewed;
secondly, however, because human vanity, desperately afraid of
detection, often proclaims the institution a bore, when in reality it
is of the greatest value to the person concerned by enabling him to
give forth his views on important occasions without being under the
necessity of seeking publicity or being compromised, as he would be
by a considered written statement. There is a great deal of interview
matter now formally disclaimed under circumstances not entirely
justifiable, as the mistake really lies with the person, who has
changed his views, and the discredit would fall on the interviewer, if
newspaper authorities were not fully aware of the weaknesses of public
and semi-public characters.

There is hardly any need for describing what interviewing is, as it
is a conspicuous feature of the press, but there may be some interest
to the public in realizing what an extremely difficult art it is. The
interviewer has to bring all his experience and art to bear to correct
the errors or deceptions of his subject; he must be prepared to conquer
his reticences and check his exuberances; to remember beforehand what
he himself wishes to know and to render faithfully afterwards what
information he has acquired. An experienced American journalist lays
down the following rules, for what is perhaps the most difficult branch
of all newspaper work. “Interviewing is hard work. Finding your man
sometimes is the worst part of the task, but more often it is still
harder to get him to talk. People to be interviewed are of three kinds;
those who talk too much, those who talk too little and those who will
not talk at all. And after you do get your man to talking it takes
the concentration of all your mental powers to do your part of the
work. You must pay the closest attention to what he is saying, grasp
and remember the points he makes, take notes on the statistics he
may quote, jot down some of his striking sentences, keep up your end
of the conversation and at the same time bear in mind all the other
questions, which you still must ask, for it will avail nothing to think
of a neglected point afterwards. Before approaching your man be sure
you have outlined clearly in your mind just what questions you wish to
ask him. Impress each thought upon your mind when it is uttered and
when you return to your desk you will be surprised to see how much of
your conversation you can reproduce from memory. An important trick in
interviewing is to be on the look-out for any pet phrase, which the
speaker is in the habit of using and to work this into the article once
or twice. It gives a lifelike touch to the story. As you proceed with
the body of the article, take care not to be too rigidly verbatim.
Wherever there is any part of the talk that is dull and wordy, give
the pith of the matter in your own words and then drop into direct
quotation again. A well-written interview with a prominent man on an
important subject is a thing of which any reporter may be proud.” One
may add to this that the most delicate tasks in interviewing have often
to be done without shorthand notes or pencil and paper, lest the
subject should be liable to nervousness and be checked in the current
of his (or her) conversation.

The correspondence of a paper from outlying districts, from the
provinces and largely also from abroad has been almost completely
taken from the shoulders of individual papers both in America and in
the United Kingdom by the great newsagencies, which we shall consider
in the next chapter. So also has the recital of ordinary incidents
in the streets of the capital town, those for instance, which do not
merit special attention from the home corps of reporters. This has been
especially the case in London, where twenty years ago the man, who
made his living by selling short “pars” to a dozen papers, flourished
greatly under the name of “penny-a-liner.” He has almost completely
disappeared. The paragraphist of to-day is a much more elegant person,
well educated and with some expert knowledge, of which he can make
a monopoly. He flourishes chiefly on the needs of the metropolitan
evening papers and on the well established institutions, known as the
London letters of the leading provincial papers. By a man of this class
and education the calling is not followed as a career in itself but as
an aid to literature or the professions or sometimes, in between jobs,
by the trained journalist. On the other hand the London press does
not reciprocate the compliment; there are no provincial paragraphists
and little provincial news in any London paper, except perfunctory
paragraphs at the bottom of a column. I was told the other day on good
authority that the _Times_ for twenty years had no important article
on the Manchester Ship Canal, one of the most extensive engineering
enterprises of twenty-five years ago.

There is probably no respect, in which individual newspapers in this
country differ so much as in the copiousness, merit and character of
their foreign correspondence. This arises from the fact that the mere
news is covered almost entirely by the wealthy foreign telegraphic
agencies. In the case of America this is only partially true, because
there is a peculiar circumstance, which renders telegraphic competition
between daily newspapers for foreign news almost unnecessary over
there. Owing to the difference in time between European cities and
especially between London and New York, American newspapers can present
to their readers at the cost only of Atlantic “press rates” all the
news of the world from the London papers. London is thus the capital
of the world in the matter of international news. She has an hour’s
advantage or a little more from Berlin and Vienna; with Paris she is in
constant touch by telephone; so that all that New York or Chicago has
to do is to keep a bright newspaper man in London to run through the
early editions at 4 a.m., and send the pick of it through to his paper.
The only competition in foreign news within the reach of American
correspondents in London is either for exclusive political news, which
seldom comes their way and is not much wanted by the American public
in any case, or else the manufacture from European sources of some
ordinary newspaper “story.”

On the other hand the London papers and one or two provincial British
papers find the question of foreign news a great problem. The public
services of foreign news are now so comprehensive that to supplement
them effectively requires great and permanent resources. A newspaper
can easily spend £10,000 or £15,000 a year in this direction without
adding appreciably to its attractiveness and a more important
consideration appears in this sphere, that any open rivalry attempted
can seldom be begun and afterwards dropped, without serious loss of
prestige. It follows therefore that the majority of daily papers
in the United Kingdom have almost completely withdrawn from avowed
competition in foreign news. Their practice is to rely on agency news
altogether in ordinary times and on occasions of special excitement
to supplement these services either by sending an expert in foreign
politics to the centre of disturbance or by forming a combined news
service with other papers or by both. These resources are habitually
used during war by most of the provincial press and by the weaker
London papers.

The richer London papers still avowedly keep their salaried
correspondents in the capitals of Europe and America and arrange for
occasional letters and telegrams from locally appointed correspondents
in the East and in the British colonies and dependencies. In this
respect the London _Times_ occupies a unique position in the world. It
has correspondents regularly appointed everywhere and is probably the
only newspaper independent of Reuter, except the New York _Sun_, which
for special reasons has to be. It never prints less than a full page of
foreign news, much of it special to itself and most of it telegraphed.
It is the only paper, which has continuously scored important “beats”
on news of first-class international importance. Of these probably
the most vitally influential on the course of foreign politics was the
secret information obtained by De Blowitz of the intended military
pressure by Germany on France in 1875, which perceptibly affected
the mutual relations of various powers, and the most sensational
was his carrying off a copy of the draft Treaty of Berlin from the
Conference in his hat. De Blowitz had arranged to meet his informant
in the diplomatic corps every day at a club or restaurant and without
recognition or salutation to exchange hats with him in the corridor
every day as a regular habit. The hats thus offered a secret and sure
method of communication of documents without the dangers of open

The other London papers do not aim so high as the _Times_. The _Morning
Post_ has a corps of serious students of affairs abroad, whose news
is sent on a consistent plan to enable the paper to maintain an
independent attitude on foreign politics. The _Daily Telegraph_ spends
vast sums on the regular transmission of paragraphs from Paris and
Berlin on lines similar to the London letter of a provincial paper.
This regular fare is varied by sensational telegraphed descriptions,
when occasion arises. But it can hardly be said to aim at any
consistent scheme of policy with regard to foreign affairs. The
succeeding changes in the editorial control of the _Standard_ have
rendered its policy in this respect somewhat erratic but its reputation
abroad still stands very high. The foreign correspondence of the
halfpenny London papers is spasmodic and liable to very considerable
variations in extent. In the case of the _Daily Chronicle_ not very
much special foreign matter is given, but the paper has organized a
syndicated service of some independent value in connection with one
or two provincial papers. The _Daily News_ maintains its traditional
special consideration of foreign affairs, treated however in a manner
closely adapted to the views and policy of the paper. The _Daily Mail_
and _Daily Express_ practically treat their foreign news, as American
papers treat all their news, that is, according to its sensational
value, but the former on special occasions will lavish expenditure
quite on the most magnificent scale and will make almost any sacrifice
in order to get a “beat.”

War correspondence falls into the same category as a foreign news
service and is treated in much the same fashion everywhere. The
public is so infatuated with the early stages of a war and so bored
and incapable of serious interest in it after a few weeks, that the
proper treatment of war news is the most serious problem, which a
newspaper manager has to face. For an editor, the situation is confined
to a simple issue even if his task of arranging for news requires
great brilliancy in planning and judgment in selecting his men. For
him it is a question of spending what is allowed him by the manager
and proprietor and he cuts his clothes according to his cloth. But
for those, who have to supply the sinews of war correspondence in
[4]thousands of pounds the task is most unpleasant. The manager sees
his advertising revenue curtailed and his expenses of distribution
increased, while he obtains in return only a slight increase of revenue
from greatly increased but useless circulation. The popular impression
that newspapers and their owners like wars is fundamentally false.
The only kind of war that a newspaper manager would really welcome
is one that would last only three weeks, of which he had exclusive
information; he might then be repaid all that it would cost him. The
most dangerous feature of war from the point of view of newspaper
finance is that a vast expenditure must be kept up long after the
general public has ceased to take serious interest in it. A little can
be saved in telegraphing at this stage and a correspondent or two may
be cautiously withdrawn, but for the most part, wherever the men are
first placed, there they must stay, even if they send nothing. The
unfortunate manager lies awake at night thinking of a thin line of men,
servants, donkey-boys, despatch-bearers, horses, ponies, camels, and
mules all eating their heads off uselessly at the front day after day
with little revenue coming in wherewith to feed them.

    [4] Probably the maximum figure reached in extravagant
        war-costs was in the case of a New York paper during
        the Cuban war, which estimated its special _monthly_
        expenditure at $300,000, or at the rate of £720,000 a
        year. This rate was maintained, however, only for a
        short period during the height of the war.

There is a great deal of romance and glamour attached to war
correspondents personally, to the men, who suffer hardships and risk
their lives more from fever than from bullets at the front, but none
to the organization which sends them unwillingly abroad. It is a
plain fact however that the public at present takes less and less
interest every year in either foreign or war correspondence. The great
public is intelligent and quick but not at all addicted to continuous
attention devoted to anything but its business and serious amusements.
It has become so much accustomed to have its interest sensationally
stimulated at frequent intervals that nothing will hold it very long.
All news has to partake of the nature of a “story” in the newspaper
sense; the fate of kingdoms, the marriage of a Gaiety actress, the
trial of a clever criminal will weigh differently for the time with the
man in the train and the tram car but the duration of his interest will
not be appreciably different in any case. Of the three the trial will
probably be remembered the longest. The amount of space now devoted to
this class of special correspondence remains still more a matter of
tradition than calculation but the latter is slowly overtaking it and
daily curtailing it. The dictum of a leading London manager about news
is, that he will not print anything that interests less than a third of
his readers and such a policy is beginning to cover the whole field and
to narrow news down steadily only to those things which are next door
to the daily preoccupation of the majority of readers.

In any account, however brief, of the characteristics of the American
method of manufacturing “stories” one cannot omit to mention that
extraordinary phenomenon of their journalism; the Sunday paper. Of
these there are some which consist of the daily issue with additional
supplements, which are conducted on the plan of a magazine. They are on
the whole the exceptions and the majority are built on a sensational
scale both as to size and as to general eccentricity of character. To a
stranger, even if he be English, they are almost incomprehensible and
indescribable and, as criticism on these points is quite a delicate
matter, it would be safer to repeat an American description of them.
“The average Sunday paper is like nothing else on earth. It might well
be called a literary dime museum, for the editor presents not ‘stories’
that will simply amuse or entertain, but only those which will attract
attention, because of their absurdity and the pictures, which sometimes
cover whole pages, are, if anything, more unusual than the text.”



Every man, who has had a newspaper in his hand, has remarked that
from time to time on any occasion, which seems important, two or more
accounts appear of the same event. These differing accounts to some
extent repeat themselves and are also supplementary to one another.
The most detailed one will be the production of the newspaper’s own
reporters, who often work on the skeleton story provided from outside
the office. The other accounts appear from one or other of the general
agencies, whose function it is to supply to many newspapers the
fundamental framework on which each is built up. The sphere of action
of these agencies has grown steadily, owing to the mere utility of
having the strain of competition lessened between rival newspapers.
The field, which they cover, is continuously expanding and will soon
include all that kind of news, which is expensive to gather and also
offers little opportunity for obtaining individual distinction.

Of the established organizations the most interesting, which are
also among the most important, began from the natural co-operation
of newspapers in order to eliminate ruinous competition and to save
expense. Although there are many newsagencies of all kinds, which
are out and out commercial concerns, buying news and selling it at a
profit, it is remarkable that on both sides of the water the leading
news supply company is in each case a co-operative concern. In America
it is the Associated Press, in the United Kingdom it is the Press
Association and they are both organized on similar lines. It was the
excessively daring and competitive spirit of American journalism, which
in the early forties, brought about the first attempt at co-operation.
At that time years before an Atlantic cable was laid competition for
European news was limited to sending out fast sailing vessels to meet
incoming ships and take the latest news from them. Newspapers vied
with one another as to who should sail out the farthest and catch the
news soonest, until at last it came to sending fast vessels all the
way over to Europe to get the news at its source. Such competition had
a sufficiently ridiculous aspect to bring about its own collapse and
somewhere about 1850 the New York papers organized a joint service,
which while primarily covering European news grew slowly to cover both
general news and practically all but the internal news of each city,
as subject for competition among newspapers. This was the germ of the
Associated Press, which numbers about 700 papers as subscribers and
regular members and is certainly the largest newsgathering concern in
the world. It is both a newsgatherer and a news-trader and also a news
exchange between its own members. As an exchange it receives news free
from its members and retails it at a low charge. As a trader it buys
from the great international foreign newsgatherer, Reuter’s Telegram
Company and hands over the telegrams to its subscribers. Finally it has
its own supplementary corps of editors and reporters in all important

There is one very important respect in which the Associated Press of
America differs from its English counterpart and that is that, while it
is a very large, it is not a universally co-operative body. Existing
members have a right to block the entry of new members and to that
extent it is a close corporation. For instance the _New York World_
has always vetoed the inclusion in the system of the _New York Sun_,
thus driving the latter paper to maintain its own foreign and home
service and in fact to establish a rival agency, in order, by getting
outside help, to lessen the burden of its own expenditure. This rival
agency, known as Laffan’s service, even has customers on this side of
the water.

The co-operative English newsgathering organization, called the Press
Association, had a different origin. It arose from a domestic crisis
in the newspaper world, which was coincident with the taking over of
the private telegraph companies by the State, whereby the telegraphs
at once became a public service. Up to that time the newspapers, as
the largest customers, enjoyed the advantage of a special rate for the
transmission of news but without the power of furnishing their own
services. About the fifties the telegraphs of the country were in the
hands of three companies, who used their monopoly of the wires for
the purpose of making also a monopoly of news services to all papers
out of London. As these services were without any competition and
cheaply organized for profit, the plight of the provincial papers was
distressing. It came to a point where the provincial press organized a
co-operative telegraph company of their own in 1865, so as to secure
at any rate their own supplies or force their opponents to come to
terms. This policy would have been certainly carried out, but whether
successfully or not one cannot say, if it had not been for a national
movement in favour of an improved telegraph service which culminated in
the purchase of the telegraph organization from the private companies
by the government. The provincial newspapers were led by necessity to
organize a substitute for the old and inefficient common telegraph news
services, which they did by founding in 1868 the Press Association
under the lead of the late John Edward Taylor of the _Manchester

The Press Association in this country is almost as dominant as the
Associated Press in America, but it does not include the London
papers. It has for the provinces the same partnership with Reuter,
as its cousin in America. The term P.A. is as much in the mouths of
newspaper men on the one side as the A.P. is on the other. But it has
one feature, as some people think, of superiority over the American
organization in that it is a truly co-operative body; it welcomes
any new member which wishes to join its membership and except for
the London press, which remained voluntarily outside its scope, it
includes every newspaper of any position in the country.

Reuter is so much a household word that an explanation of the function
of Reuter’s Telegram Company is quite unnecessary. It was founded by
the late Baron Julius de Reuter as a telegraph and foreign newsagency
business and was turned into a public company in 1865 for the purpose
of raising sufficient capital to equip a telegraph cable from England
to Germany. This direction of development was subsequently altered
and the cable sold and Reuter’s name became the trade-mark for
semi-official foreign news all over the world.

Of domestic newsagencies in the United Kingdom there are many which
come and sometimes go without making much stir in the world. The
chief rival of the Press Association and Reuter is the Central News
covering both domestic and foreign intelligence. Laffan’s service is
also international in character and so is the Agence Havas. The chief
domestic rivals of the P.A. are the Exchange Telegraph Company and the
London News Agency, a newcomer founded by three or four experienced
reporters, who found their old livelihood made by “penny-a-lining”
being slowly undermined by the agencies. At one time these made almost
a monopoly of police-court news in London, but this with other general
news now passed almost completely out of private hands.

In addition there are the specialist agencies, whose names in most
cases proclaim their work, such as the Commercial Press Telegram
Bureau, the American Press Telegram Bureau, the National Press Agency,
the Labour Press Agency, the sporting news services and firms like
Tillotson’s, who do a great business in syndicating popular fiction
for publication by newspapers in feuilleton form. Topical photographs
are also a favourite subject of traffic by agencies for the benefit of
illustrated papers. There is no question that this form of enterprise
is largely on the increase, as the public is agog to have every sense
tickled, as well as to have information as food for the imagination.

Some of the humbler servants to newspaper production, which escape the
notice of those, who only know the big journals of the large cities on
both sides of the Atlantic, are the agencies, whose business it is to
furnish syndicated matter, supplied at a low price, not only already
written and edited but even set up in print, stereotyped and ready for
the press. Such a commodity passes in America under the name of “plate
matter” and the trade in this branch of literary wares is enormous,
especially there, where the small local papers cannot rely upon filling
more than half their columns with the real news of their own districts.
The organizations which supply this line of goods, sell the matter at
so much a column or half column with or without illustrations. General
news, fiction, truth, political opinions and jokes are all offered at
the same “flat rate.” It is as near a thing to a _Cervelatwurst_, sold
by the pound or foot, as one can get in the intellectual world.

There is one field for journalism, which is now peculiarly the property
of the enormously circulated evening press. The halfpenny evening
paper is the daily paper of the working man and especially so in the
provinces, where in the small towns none but evening newspapers exist.
For their immense mass of readers every conceivable matter of national
or personal interest is subordinated to the overwhelming predominance
of games, sports and betting. It is no exaggeration to say that
five-sixths of the circulation of all the halfpenny evening papers
is built up on amusements and gambling. The two for the most part go
hand in hand, because, with the single exception of cricket, there is
hardly any widely extended form of sport, which, so far as the masses
of the people are concerned, is not the subject, and predominantly
the subject, of betting. Incomparably the keenest competition in the
newspaper world is developed as the result of rivalry to bring out the
earliest news of sporting events. There is no indication of a reversal
of this tendency, but since the mechanical facilities, which provide
the means of this rapid production, are now the common property of
all, it is no longer possible for any one competitor to leave another
seriously behind.

The progress and development of these mechanical facilities are
probably a matter of general interest, because, although the results
of this break-neck rivalry are apparent to any man in the street,
the methods, by which it is accomplished, are due to very elaborate
devices of great technical perfection. I do not know that it is a
matter to be inordinately proud of but this form of competition was
first developed to its highest form of excellence, not in America but
in England and not in London, but in the provinces. The old and common
method of bringing out a special edition with the results of a race
was by cutting a hole in the stereoplate from which the paper was
printed and slipping in a small box with a spring, holding one or two
lines of type. The process was dangerous and inadequate because it
would be used only once for one announcement and that a curtailed one.
Mr. Mark Smith of Manchester originally invented the device now in
universal use. His invention is variously called the “late-news device”
the “stop-press box” or familiarly the “fudge.” The object of this
invention was to enable several small items of news, such as the result
of a race or football match or the score at cricket, to be rapidly
inserted in the paper, without the necessity of altering the body of
the text and of going through the lengthy operation of recasting the
large metal stereoplates from which all rapid printing has to be done.
For this purpose a blank of about half a column has to be left on the
main page, or on whichever page is selected for the latest news, so
that, as the paper passes through the printing-press, that portion
remains unprinted. Corresponding with the space thus left blank, there
is attached to the printing-press a small supplementary cylinder,
which can carry securely clamped a specially designed box to hold type
or linotype slugs, so adjusted as to print on the portion of paper
left blank during its passage through the main press. It is an easy
and expeditious task to alter the contents of this small box without
otherwise disarranging the plates and the process effected a material
increase in the pace of production over the old methods, especially
where a large number of presses were used to produce a big edition. The
two to five minutes thus gained were quite sufficient to establish a
decisive advantage over a rival not similarly equipped for publishing
news of special interest. At the present time hardly any evening paper
in any considerable town in America or the United Kingdom is without
this invention.

At one time this device was protected by a patent, which was the
property of a firm for which I was acting and I came across an amusing
experience in connection with it during one of my visits to America.
Some little time before, while my firm was engaged in difficult and
expensive litigation over the validity of the patent in this country,
there had been some question of the purchase of these patent rights
for New York by the proprietors of the _New York X_. We had been
asked in the course of this negotiation, whether we would defend this
patent, if infringed. Having our hands more than full with litigation
at the moment we declined, but offered to sell the entire rights in
the invention to the New York paper for a moderate sum. The _New York
X_ broke off negotiations and knowing that the patent would not be
defended adopted the device at once and spent a very considerable sum
of money in adapting their presses for this purpose. There the matter
was dropped for the moment.

Some eighteen months later, when we had successfully established
our own patent here through a decision in the House of Lords, I had
occasion to go to New York and found myself one evening in the office
of the _New York X_. The occasion was of exceeding importance to the
New York press. It was the night when the prize-fight to decide the
championship of the world was to take place at Coney Island--a little
way out of the city--between Jefferies and Fitz-Simmons and the island
of Manhattan was agog from end to end with excitement to a degree,
which sober Britons would hardly understand. On that occasion there
was especial rivalry between the two popular papers in New York, the
_X_, in whose office I was, and the _Y_. Both had made elaborate
arrangements for special editions and the presses in both offices were
furnished with very expensive installations of the special late news
apparatus, which was controlled by our patent.

Mr. M. the manager of the _X_ received me most cordially and showed
me all over his office and the machine room. When I reminded him of
our unsuccessful negotiation over the patent, he smiled genially and
remarked that it was all right. In introducing me to various foremen
in the building he said, jocosely: “This is Mr. D., whose patent we
stole,”--the exact phrase was his own. Before leaving him that night I
met him in his own spirit and said in farewell: “You have spent a lot
of money on equipping yourself with this patent and the _Y_ has done
the same. What good has either of you got out of it? Do you not think
it would have been better to have bought our patents for a moderate sum
and have kept out the other fellow?” He smiled: “Now that you put it
that way, perhaps you are right.” So we said: “Good-night.”



While the necessary characteristic of all periodical literature has
been the conveyance of news of some sort, sometimes of a general
and frequently only of a special character, there has run side by
side with this function the conveyance of general information and of
instructed comment and incidentally the opportunity of thus moulding
public opinion. In respect of this capacity there has been the widest
divergence in the character of newspapers and journals. So far as they
are newsgatherers and news disseminators, all papers have the same
task, even when there are enormous differences of excellence and subtle
differences of intention. But it is otherwise with them as organs of
opinion. This is an optional duty, which a great many papers avowedly
reject. Others by professing impartiality seem to follow the same
policy, while in reality they attempt to exercise influence by every
indirect method. A minority constitute themselves or find themselves
forced into the position of becoming the official or half-avowed
leaders of parties or groups, while every word of comment or criticism
is admittedly stamped with the current doctrines commonly held by its
special band of readers.

It is the case of these latter organs which we have specially to
consider in this chapter. There are so many ways of either guiding
or forming opinion by editorial comment or exposition and by the
publication of signed or unsigned articles of a more or less rhetorical
nature that a complete analysis of the subject means little less
than the history of the press. There are, however, roughly speaking,
certain broad differences of method, which afford us means for a
partial classification. It has been the habit for newspapers on the
continent of Europe to become the mouthpiece of certain well-known
journalists or groups of journalists, who influence and lead opinion
by the publication of signed articles, for whose policy the individual
journalist is himself alone responsible. In the United Kingdom the
prevailing practice has followed another course. Anonymous journalism
has been found in the end to be a more powerful political weapon,
partly because reverence attaches itself more easily to the unknown
and also because the shelter of corporate responsibility adds somewhat
to the freedom of writing and very much to the fertility of invention.
In America again the case is somewhat different. Both methods are there
followed but they are employed subject to the supreme requisition made
by the reading public for mere news, which it can analyze and judge for

Just as we chose the American daily paper for the model of a
newsgathering and news-presenting organization, so here we must admit
that, as an organ for expressing instructed opinion not only on
politics but on general topics, the distinctively English type of paper
is a far more potent and more highly-developed instrument. In this
respect the American press suffers severely from the general democratic
contempt prevailing on that continent for expert opinion of all kinds.
Since one man there is commonly reputed to be as good as another, so
there is no room even in that huge population for any one whose opinion
carries weight in any other sense than that a large number of people
think that he adequately expresses their views or comes near to saying
publicly, what privately each man feels and thinks more effectively for
himself. Although there are to be found across the Atlantic many men
of literary distinction and of a culture, which would be exceptional
anywhere, they hold sway, journalistically speaking, only in elegantly
printed magazines of small circulation and in social circles they
are notable for an apologetic manner and deprecatory attitude to
their countrymen, which sometimes seem odd to a stranger prepared
to reverence their talents. Of course here as elsewhere there are
exceptions, which we will come to later on.

So far as the American press is concerned the only sphere, where
editorial influence is either secretly or forcibly exerted, is in
national or municipal politics. Here the line is so sharply drawn
between opponents that little or no attempt at impartiality is
pretended and news and comment are both frankly presented by party
newspapers with highly-coloured bias and vehement advocacy. Persuasion
is not a weapon adopted by the American press, because during a
political campaign no reader has time or inclination to read the other
side. Sheer battering force or biting ridicule are the favourite
weapons. Their ingenuity is directed almost entirely on personal
matters rather than in the exposition of general ideas. More importance
is attached to discovering some weakness of private character in
an opponent or to attaching to his opinions and views some nickname
with an unpopular connotation than in confuting his arguments or in
examining the soundness and sincerity of his patriotism. The power
effectively within the control of an American party organ can be
exercised much more decisively inside the party before candidates
are chosen than afterwards when the champions are selected and the
battle is formally set. This choice of candidates is however itself
painfully restricted by the almost monotonous sameness of character
among the budding Transatlantic statesmen of the time. Pedestrian
eloquence, high animal spirits, physical vigour and an unimpeachable
rectitude in private life are indispensable requirements for success
in public life in America and politicians happy enough to possess all
these characteristics rather resemble each other on these lines to
the exclusion of any marked or unusual individuality of character or

In France and Italy, where the signed article, speaking generally,
prevails, the excellence and weight of the written word in the press
has been profoundly modified and greatly extended. This authority,
however, attaches itself by a natural law to the names themselves, as
they become well known, and is apt to carry the fortunate individuals,
who thus establish themselves in popular favour, up to greater heights
than mere anonymous journalism can scale. Journalism thus becomes only
the ladder of ambition, as far as the successful writer is concerned,
and so far from being an end in itself, as it should be, is generally,
no more than the first step on the road to politics, even more so
perhaps in this respect than the profession of the law. As compared
with the English system the power of the newspaper itself is very
considerably curtailed. The advantage of the temporary possession of a
meteor is a doubtful one. He may mingle insubordination with brilliancy
and even where meekness and all the journalistic virtues are combined
in one pen, the ultimate loss of it will be the more severely felt. The
solid qualities on which the continuous influence of a great newspaper
rests are difficult under these circumstances to build up and it may
therefore be taken as an axiom that the cultivation of brilliancy in
journalism is to some extent converse to the acquisition of permanent
power and wealth by the press.

The favourable side of the continental system is the maintenance of a
very high literary standard and the acceptance in metropolitan circles
of only the finest qualities of artistic criticism on most subjects.
Nowhere in the world is such power wielded by journalists in the realms
of music, literature, art or the drama as in France or Italy. It is
taken seriously by the cultured public which reads it, because it is
good. It has to be good, because it is taken seriously. The standard
set in these matters is quite unapproachable by the wealthy and
enterprising English press and nothing less than a century’s education
of the English people would be required for us to see how much in this
respect our public taste is inappreciative and our general journalistic
performances inadequate.

The German journalistic system is on the face of it not so far distinct
from the general continental practice, except that they make less use
of the signed article and newspaper properties are correspondingly more
valuable. While the artistic and critical sides of German newspaperdom
are distinctly inferior to the standards common in France and Italy
there is one path in which their journals can claim pre-eminence in
that they treat seriously and reverently all matters of science and
learning, quite apart from any commercial demand in this direction
from their readers. But after making this deserved tribute to German
newspapers a foreign critic can best add to it by paying them the
compliment of treating their newspapers as in a state of transition
from Bismarckian serfdom to American commercialism. They combine some
of the worst qualities of both. Of independent character in the English
sense they have none, as they are too much under the heel of authority.
Enterprise in the American sense is only adopted in unessentials. In
the collection of news they are not more enterprising than the French
and their standard of accuracy in reproducing it is not very high.
Their papers are printed in Gothic type and written in a still more
Gothic style. Neither in politics nor in commerce, nor in finance is
their integrity above suspicion. Their influence with the public is
very considerable, especially in politics, but the source of their
power arises from the general respect felt by every loyal German for
the ultimate and _all-high_ authority which does not scruple or disdain
to use a thousand methods of pressure in order to sway to its will
the minds of men. Even where this authority is not itself ostensibly
at work, as it often is, its powerful and indirect influence over
the press is fertile in suggesting to the popular imagination those
courses of conduct which will be agreeable to the powers that be.[5]

    [5] Although this criticism in the text sounds rather
        harsh, it by no means equals many things said in the
        Socialist papers against the “Steel Press.” German
        papers have never recovered from the combination of
        bullying and corruption exercised by Bismarck, and
        still to some extent continued, and since his time
        great commercial concerns like the Stahl-Verband
        have had an almost equally baneful influence. I
        was unfortunately in Berlin at the time of the
        “Titanic” disaster, and looking at the records of
        that catastrophic incident even in the best papers, I
        was not impressed either by their critical power in
        assessing the value of news, or by their judgment in
        commenting on it.

Taking the press not only as the great news-distributor of the
world, but also as almost the most powerful existing mechanism for
the moulding of opinion, I do not hesitate to declare that for the
last half of the Victorian century the British press held a position
demonstrably superior to the press of any other country. Although in
many respects, and some of them important ones, of which I have already
mentioned a few, we ought freely to acknowledge our inferiority, in
the two most vitally important attributes of journalism I believe we
have long been unrivalled. The first is good professional judgment
in selecting and absolute faithfulness in presenting the news of our
own country and the most important news of the world. The second
is the spirit of independence and contempt for corruption, either
through the channels of power or by the pulling of financial strings,
which makes it inconceivable for even the smallest newspaper here
to boast of its honesty, an experience, which is a common enough
occurrence, when one travels in any other country. Whenever corruption
or blackmail occasionally finds an unsafe footing in one of the
side-walks of journalism it is looked upon as a crime, both morally and
professionally, which every one must stamp out, wherever found. Any
manager or journalist of experience will tell you that the suggestion
of bribery either at headquarters or with one of the ordinary daily
staff of a newspaper is an experiment of the utmost danger to any
one attempting it. It would most probably be followed by the instant
occurrence of the disaster, which there was an endeavour to avert; in
fact the only chance of escape for the offender would be the extreme
insignificance of his affairs.

But while in many respects much of this stubborn virtue is still a
characteristic of the British press, especially in the professional
sense, yet it is questionable whether, looking at the independence
of our press in the broadest sense, we are not in the course of a
transition to a less desirable state of affairs. It is a matter on
which I should be very reluctant to pronounce a responsible opinion.
All I can see clearly is that a very important change is in progress,
the final result of which it is still too early to forecast. The
critical date of the change was almost exactly at the end of the last
century with the outbreak of the Boer war and the tariff controversy,
which followed. Those two events, while they left the country press in
very much the same position as before, profoundly modified the position
of the richer and more influential daily papers in London. The bitter
controversies, which commenced with those issues, have practically
thrown the great majority of the well-to-do classes in the kingdom on
to one side in politics. Nearly all the richer newspapers, including
one or two influential provincial dailies, naturally followed this
lead and we have the remarkable spectacle of practically the whole of
the important daily press in the metropolis being influenced by the
aspirations, prejudices and casual opinions of only one of the great
political parties. Now without suggesting the slightest imputation on
the professional honour of these great journals nor impeaching their
straightforward honesty, it is clear to me that the relative value of
truth in all controversial matter has been dangerously disturbed.
The mirror of the London press reflects only the drab colours of any
presentation of one aspect of society, reserving all the hues of sunset
for any little feature of the other. The resulting picture is produced
unconsciously and in good faith, but it is none the less subject to
dangerous distortion of the truth. This prevailing misfortune is
growing worse daily and already we have lost the chastening memory of
days, when impartiality was more strictly maintained in our press as
a whole by the adequate representation of both sides. Society with a
big S, has gone entirely on to one side and has imposed on its press
that most hopeless form of provincialism, which already prevails in
high circles in Berlin, of merely refusing to recognize as possible the
existence of culture, good faith and even of common honesty in those
who do not adopt the opinions prevailing in its own ranks. From this
blindness I see no ordinary means of deliverance.

These somewhat gloomy reflections are applicable only to the penny
press. In the more popular forms of journalism honours between the two
political parties are nearly equally divided. But stress is to be laid
in this matter chiefly on the penny press, because it is only in these
journals or more expensive ones that any considerable space can be
given to political debates and intellectual and artistic interests.
They are a necessity to any man of culture and it is a disaster for
him if opinions on important matters in the leading organs become
stereotyped in what some may regard as a prejudiced point of view.
Again the importance of the penny press in this connection arises in
another form, because in what I am disposed to consider the Augustan
age of the press, the last fifty years of Queen Victoria’s reign, it
was this section which really raised British journalism to a height
of dignity and power, which has never been equalled and most probably
never will be again.

During this golden period, in the course of which the penalyzing taxes
on advertisements and paper were removed, the rise of those powerful
and rich organizations took place such as we pre-eminently connect with
our idea of an “organ of the press.” This idea itself is probably more
completely embodied than anywhere else in the London _Times_, which
although not itself a penny paper, set the standard to which the penny
morning journals of the United Kingdom more or less approximated. The
foundation of the power and influence of our great metropolitan and
provincial dailies was continuity of proprietorship and of general
policy over a long period and the possession of great wealth. They were
too valuable, both as properties and as political weapons, to pass
easily from hand to hand and the families in whose possession they
remained constituted a little aristocracy of high ideals and great
stability of character. This represents one side of the medal. The
other must be looked for in the staffs of journalists, who worked for
them and the system of co-operation and the sacrifice of interests on
both sides.

Looked at philosophically the keystone in the dignified arch of the
old-fashioned press of the United Kingdom was mutual sacrifice between
the proprietors and journalists. Wealthy corporations though they
generally were, the great English dailies have always been liable
to storms and disasters and progress could only be purchased by
great risks of capital. The proprietors of those days stood by their
papers,[6] as they would not have done by an ordinary business, staking
their private fortunes and exposing their family comfort to the risks
of an unstable source of income. Some foundered while others rose to
great wealth. The proprietors also stood by their men, whether editors
or journalists, and treated them as members of a family, protecting
them, encouraging them and keeping many a lame dog in employment
because he had once done good work.

    [6] For fear that any one should imagine that I am
        labouring this point or exaggerating an exceptional
        condition of things I think I am free to state here
        what would otherwise never be known. The fact is
        entirely to the honour of the proprietor and not at
        all to the discredit of the paper concerned. To my
        certain knowledge the late Mr. John Edward Taylor
        refused to consider an offer of a million sterling for
        the _Manchester Guardian_, at a time when such a sum
        would have very favourably represented the value of the
        paper. He wrote to me briefly, asking me _not to send
        on to him communications of that kind again_. I have
        known four or five other proprietors of great papers,
        who would have been capable of doing the same thing.

        As an instance of the generous and courteous
        consideration shown by a famous proprietor to a
        deserving servant I refer the reader to a letter
        written by Mr. John Walter of the _Times_, dated Oct.
        30, 1854, to his correspondent, Mr. William Howard
        Russell, as he then was, acting for his paper in the
        Crimea. The letter is given in full in Mr. J. B.
        Atkins’ “Life of Russell,” and contains very much
        more than an acknowledgment of an obligation or the
        conferring of a favour.

The sacrifices they required and generally received in return were
devotion to duty, anonymity and frequent concessions in matters of
opinion to the policy of the paper. As the two latter points are vexed
questions of high domestic interest to newspaper men a digression to
discuss them will be pardonable particularly since they have a very
material bearing on the power and influence of any organ of the press.
With regard to devotion to duty a very special quality in this respect
is demanded of newspaper men. Private interests, life and limb and
even reputation have to be risked by them more frequently than in the
ordinary walks of life.

Anonymity is the institution on which the peculiar success of British
journalism is founded. It is a point on which the individual surrenders
with the greatest reluctance. There is something dazzling in the
public reward of successful persuasion and the avowed capture of other
men’s minds. In fact very brilliant writers will never consent to it,
feeling, that their power is inherent in themselves for which there can
be no adequate compensation. So long as either pure literary quality is
aimed at or personal influence desired, such an attitude is entirely
justified. But such men are not permanently destined for journalism.
They must fight out their fate on a wider field and bear the frost of
criticism and the starvation of neglect by their own strength without
the support or constraint of a newspaper behind them. For journalism
proper anonymity has many good points about it, which escape the eye
of the young and inexperienced. For one thing it builds up the wealth
and importance of the organization, which draws the revenues and
distributes the salaries. Thus it comes about that a young man, who
would not earn a pound a week in any walk of pure literature, where he
expects to be paid also by recognition, can earn a comfortable living
by suppressing his natural desire for fame and doing the necessary work
of the press. But there is a further advantage for the journalist in
anonymity; it is a very effective shelter under which he can do his
daily round of ordinary work without the natural slackening and the
painful fits and starts which pursue inevitably the responsible writer,
who has to put his own name to everything he produces. It may be
possible for the Latin mind to dwell perpetually in the higher levels
of brilliancy but the heavier Anglo-Saxon finds a sheltered routine
more profitable to his genius.

The advantage to the newspaper of anonymity is more obvious. The
grand manner can be more easily sustained where irrelevant individual
characteristics are suppressed and continuity can be better preserved
in spite of necessary changes of the staff. Again any writer can almost
double his output under the shelter of the paper’s responsibility
and what is lost in brilliancy is gained in steadiness. Perhaps the
greatest advantage is gained by the paper through the establishment of
journalism on a professional basis. The writer of signed articles is
really a pamphleteer, who uses the newspaper as a vehicle just as in
other days he would use a publisher. The journalist proper, who takes
material as it comes along, has to acquire a certain toughness of taste
and suppression of inclination, which in the ordinary course of things
is probably the greater part of the sacrifice he makes to his calling.
It is only a rare writer here and there, with something of the touch of
the missioner or fanatic, who can successfully fulfil his career as a
journalist without acquiring these callosities and partial mutilations.

The harder sacrifice sometimes required from a journalist in the
occasional subjection of his private opinions was fortunately not often
demanded under the old system. How far any concessions in opinion to
the exigencies of his profession is possible for any journalist is a
matter for a man’s own conscience. But custom has always ruled these
matters in this country in the spirit of judicious and practical
compromise. A wise editor will never be exacting in this respect
because in one eventuality he will get bad work, in the other he
will either break or lose his instrument. It is usually found that an
intelligent sympathy with the general policy of the paper is enough for
most conscientious people. There is no humiliation in conceding matters
of detail and even here there are compensations, for a subordinate
may now and then steal a march on his superiors by committing his
journal in the sense of his own opinions on some happy occasion. It
is essential that these happy occasions should not occur too often or
there may be a sudden parting of the ways opening up to the adventurous

Under the newer newspaper _régime_, where commercial considerations
rule far more than they did under the old family system, this question
of a conflict between conscience and economic pressure frequently comes
up in a most cruel fashion. When a newspaper passed into the hands of
a new proprietor, whose only object in acquiring it was to have the
opportunity of changing its politics, all the special writers, whose
province covered politics, might be condemned by their sense of honour
to go out into the street. This has happened before now, as every
newspaper man knows. Lord Morley at a dinner given to Sir Edward Cook
dwelt on this precarious feature of the journalist’s life and stated
that he himself during a long connection with this calling as writer
and editor had never yet seriously advised a young man to adopt it as a

There is no doubt that the successful commercialization of journalism
during the opening years of the twentieth century has greatly increased
the chances of this painful misfortune occurring to a writer in the
zenith of his career. There is little distinction now made between
newspaper properties and any other, except that their political
influence adds some considerable extra value to their market-price. In
almost the majority of cases they are owned by limited companies. Their
possession does not carry with it the feeling of a public trust; to
own one means just so much money and so much power. It is safe to say
that, while these pages are being written, not less than four of the
London dailies are to be had for an offer, one of which at least is an
exceedingly good property in the full course of prosperity. The effect
on the life of the journalist and on the type of man, who is now coming
into the profession, shows a change for the worse as compared with
twenty years ago. The hazardous career now offered attracts a different
class of men, more exacting in the way of remuneration, more brilliant
and less patient, with none of the specialized devotion to his own
institution, which was the peculiar characteristic of the Victorian
political writer. At present the newer papers, such as the halfpenny
dailies, are living mostly on the supplies of talent left over from the
Victorian era with a few newcomers of a more sensational type. But some
of these will soon pass away and some will become editors and we shall
become altogether dependent on journalists of another kind, one quarter
special pleader for any cause and three-quarters descriptive reporter.
Education will become a disadvantage and motherwit with a turn for
word-spinning will take its place.

To return to the main question of the actual power over opinion
exercised by the press I am inclined to think it was at its maximum in
this country during the Victorian age. Not only one but three or four
prominent journals would guide opinion during a decade, of which the
_Times_ stood easily first. Statesmen would take hints from newspapers
or privately from journalists. The leading articles every day would be
scanned by politicians looking for approval with an eagerness, which
is already becoming a thing of the past. Of instances frequent enough
and already well-known to the public, it will be sufficient to select
only one, the celebrated advice given to Lord Beaconsfield by the late
Frederick Greenwood, and acted on by the former with prompt adroitness,
to buy the Suez Canal shares for the British Government, advice which
ultimately led to our control of Egypt.

The influence of a newspaper on the opinions of its readers is largely
a matter of reliance and discretion on the part of those who guide
its policy. Of course there is the avowed political partisanship,
officially acknowledged and attracting the support of most of its
readers for this cause alone. In this respect, however, no paper
can claim to influence its readers, because they have formed their
own opinions for themselves on the main issues already. The real
power of a paper depends chiefly on the skill with which it is kept
in the background and the severe economy of its use. Any blatant
partisanship on unnecessary occasions begets in the reader the habit
of discounting its repetition and of steeling his will in resistance.
This is sometimes so strong an automatic habit that many men make a
point of reading something of an opposition journal, so as to stiffen
their prejudices and give an indignant edge to their own version of
patriotism. It is getting truer every day that the lecturing leading
article is little appreciated and influence is more effectually exerted
by the presentation of news.

This is conspicuously true of the more popular halfpenny journals.
These are not all of the same class, as those which once occupied the
position of penny morning papers retain many of their old following
and are thus encouraged to continue something of the style and of the
make-up, which was suited to their narrower circulation. Of the new and
frankly commercial press one may say with some confidence, that they
have no influence in the old-fashioned sense at all. In all matters of
opinion what they say is a matter of indifference. Their function is
to supply to those, who already agree with them, a brief and effective
setting for obvious facts and sometimes just so much misrepresentation
as to make unpalatable facts a little more tolerable. In London it
is conspicuous how insignificant their political efforts may be. In
the last three elections the most populous parts of London have on
the whole voted in the sense contrary to the two or three sensational
journals which have the largest circulations in those localities.

With all the merits of these popular journals, and these are very
marked in comparison with the halfpenny press of other countries, it
is impossible to deny that the recent commercialization of journalism
is an irredeemable loss to this country. We have probably in the last
twenty years parted silently with an asset of unique value. It was
perhaps inevitable and no one need blame themselves or any one else.
In fact, the group of successful men, who have rather brilliantly,
in one sense, effected this revolution, are not responsible for the
circumstances, which made their own victory necessary. One may perhaps
grumble at the rather obvious insignificance of the new “replacers.”
No personality seems to emerge from among them and one is tempted to
conclude that the task they have effectively accomplished was one more
suited to Attila than to Napoleon.

The real dominant factors of the modern press and the press of the
future are the machine, the telephone and the special train. Production
by the million is an exacting master. Instead of three hours for a
considered version of facts or opinion, the modern writer is often
given fifteen minutes, in which to turn out a smart distortion. The
more a man can resemble a Linotype machine the more useful will he
be to the paper of to-morrow. He must of course be complicated in
organization, his mechanism must be ingenious enough to conceal his
mental subordination. But just as the pressing of any key on the
composing board brings down always the same letter so will it be
required from the brilliant, up-to-date journalist of the millennium,
that he must react automatically with the most faithful resemblance to
the accuracy of a machine to each stimulus afforded by varying events,
popular emotions and the ideas of the market-place.



The future will belong more and more exclusively to organization and
machinery; and this _obiter dictum_ may be held to be as true of
newspapers, as of anything else. It is necessary in the first place to
make a clear distinction between these two terms, as they each describe
a method of effort, which runs very easily into the other, without any
obvious dividing line. Roughly speaking, the term, organization, is
generally applied to a systematic use of human endeavour; while the
term, machinery, denotes that part of our activities which we have
succeeded in delegating to steel and iron and thereby in saving the
wear of flesh and blood. Obviously the two terms to some extent overlap
on the same ground, because system requires the use of machinery, and
machinery must be employed in systematic fashion.

From the point of view of organization the chief requirement of a
newspaper is continuity; and this continuity must be maintained in
two ways. A newspaper in order to be successful must maintain the same
kind of continuity of opinion that a politician has to establish for
himself in order to secure the permanent support of his constituents.
Side by side with the other and equally necessary for success is the
same continuity of good management and energetic business development,
such as is aimed at in the course of any prosperous business. This
double life of newspapers thus distinguishes them very markedly from
any ordinary enterprise and leads to certain very distinct and not
generally observed results.

Should a newspaper be conducted with conspicuous success for a long
period by its editor and staff and also enjoy the benefit of wise and
far-seeing management, the work of each redoubles the value of the
other to an astonishing extent. The result will be the establishment
of a property of enduring value, not to be paralleled in any other
business, not even by the history of any powerful banking concern.
On the other hand a permanent failure in either respect will sooner
or later bring about the ruin and decease of the oldest established
journals. The process of such a failure will, however, be different
from the course of natural decline to be observed in ordinary
commercial life. Successful editorial conduct of a newspaper will
often prolong its career in spite of mistakes of management, while
good business ability will keep alive for some time a journal, whose
readers are dropping off day by day. It seems to be a law of newspaper
life that mistakes in this business have far-reaching and not easily
discoverable consequences; the fatal decision and critical mistake
will not receive its inevitable recompense until after a period of
delay, which makes the original cause of the disaster only a matter of
conjecture. There is nothing more mysterious, even to a highly-skilled
and discerning eye, than the decline and fall of many powerful and
long-established newspaper properties.

The commodity, which a newspaper has to dispose of, is the most
valuable in the world; publicity. This commodity it dispenses freely
for no consideration whatever in its news columns. It has the power to
set generals, politicians and artists on pinnacles of success and glory
by keeping them before the public and under other circumstances it can
ruin and drive to despair the courtier, the public servant or even the
humblest individual. Any one who has taken a practical part in our
mysterious calling will appreciate its terrible power, especially in
the latter sense. We have all been witnesses of the despairing appeals
“to keep something out of the paper”; as we are equally aware of
prominent men, whose careers, sometimes contrary to merit, have been
created for them by the newspapers. It is out of the same commodity,
supplied under different conditions for purposes of business, that the
newspaper acquires the magnificent revenues from which it can defray
the enormous expenses required by a modern fully-equipped organization
for the collection and presentation of news.

Advertising is the newspaper’s backbone. The world is only beginning
to realize how vitally necessary it is to business. Probably from
£40,000,000 to £50,000,000 a year is spent on advertising with various
journals and periodicals in this country alone. Perhaps as much is
spent in Central Europe and at least four times as much in North
America. All these vast revenues are a subsidy paid by the public
in aid of journalism and for the provision of news. They enable the
newspaper proprietor to give to his readers a product, which costs
him from four to ten times the amount, which he receives from them
in purchase of his papers and in return they give to him and his
advertisers part of their daily attention and ultimately they requite
him by buying more or less of the articles advertised in the paper.
Thus there is an ingenious exchange of services, which makes the
management of a newspaper in a commercial sense almost as complicated a
process as its editorial conduct.

The process is attended by a subtle danger. With the increasing
expenses of modern newspapers under the stress of competition the
necessity of swelling the advertising revenue of a paper becomes of
paramount importance. So the courting of prominent advertisers is every
day more and more the preoccupation of a newspaper manager and he is
apt to listen too favourably to any representations made by strong
monied interests and himself to exercise a corresponding pressure on
the editorial side of the enterprise. Here is the point, where the
newspaper, as an essential feature of its career as a business, may be
said to have a conscience or should have one. The tendency to a decline
and fall into the last stages of commercialism must at all costs be
resisted. If not resisted, it may become suicidal and by ultimately
weakening and losing the hold which a newspaper has on its readers, it
may sacrifice its capacity for usefulness to the public and lose its
own source of strength and revenue. Or worse still, the tendency may
be followed downhill almost to a criminal extent and lead to organized
fraud and systematic blackmail.

Although there are in the United Kingdom considerable differences
both as to accepted principles and also practice between one journal
and another in this respect, yet we are fortunately, with rare and
insignificant exceptions, free from the criminal methods of prosecuting
success. The press of other countries in this aspect we need not
consider. With us the problem of relative independence with regard to
advertisers presents itself within a comparatively small compass. It
is a question of how far newspapers and other periodicals allow the
use of their news columns to the puff preparatory or supplementary for
the benefit of those firms and businesses who contribute freely to the
revenues of the advertising columns. This practice is on the whole
fairly common. There is in it nothing in any way immoral or disgraceful
and it really resolves itself into a question only of dignity and
expediency. Perhaps one might be within the mark in attributing such
practices to a greater or less extent to the weaker half of the press
of the United Kingdom. Those who avowedly adopt these methods place
themselves on an inferior plane and to a certain extent lower their
reputation and weaken their bargaining power. Still it must be admitted
that such surreptitious puffing is often adopted under pressure even by
wealthy and powerful journals to an extent, which makes resistance on
principle to the same demands exceedingly difficult for their weaker
competitors. Among other disadvantages these puffs ultimately tend to
lower the value of the columns openly sold to advertisers and thus to
impair these as a source of revenue.

As I have said elsewhere,[7] the philosophy of publicity is rather
hard to grasp. In some forms it comes perilously near to charlatanry
and quackery and yet in the modern world it is not only a valuable aid
to business but absolutely indispensable. Although the practice has
been known to all ages, it is only the development of the immensely
productive power of the factory system, which has caused its enormous
extension during the last century. In former times goods were produced
with difficulty and found their hungry markets waiting for them. It
is entirely different now-a-days. The chief modern problem is to sell
goods fast enough to prevent a glut of production. To take a concrete
instance from modern America, the output of motor cars as these lines
are written is considerably more than one a minute and in order to
secure continuous cheapness of production this rate of output must be
maintained and probably even increased. All this flood of production
has to be marketed without delay and without intermission. The missing
of even one month’s sale of such a prodigious output would entail the
bankruptcy of half the manufacturers in the kingdom.

    [7] See “The Laws of Supply and Demand,” Cap. XV.

It is advertising which supplies the remedy for their ever-present
difficulty. It affords the chief practical solution of the paradox
of modern industry, which requires that goods shall be manufactured
in immense quantities in order to secure cheapness of production and
yet will not allow that they should be put on the market in too large
quantities at a time for fear of creating a glut and lowering prices.
Demand must never be satiated. It must be perpetually stimulated so
as to maintain a steady suction at least equivalent to and preferably
exceeding, the normal rate of output. The most effective and almost
universal method of obtaining this stimulation of demand is by

Advertising began by aiming at mere publicity. Then it became
combative and assertive of individual superiority over rivals. As this
grew stale, it assumed blandishing and seductive methods, flattering
the customer and appealing to his intelligence, his discrimination
and his good taste. The latest tendency especially in the technical
journals, where immense sums are spent in this business, is to become
soberly educative. The customer is offered gratuitously the benefit
of the immense experience acquired by the advertiser from an extended
business in meeting the particular needs of the buyer. This is an
eminently legitimate and highly successful method. It is perfectly
true that, where a speciality is concerned, the seller may have far
more detailed experience than the buyer himself. But it hardly meets
the more general case, where the nature of the want is trivial and it
is only a question of which satisfaction to take out of a choice of

One of the difficulties about advertising, of which the newspaper
manager has to take account, is the element of misrepresentation,
which is apt to creep into it. The stereotyped precaution, which has
always been taken to prevent misrepresentation being such as to involve
the newspaper proprietor in damages or to embroil him with other
customers is to refuse to insert any reflection or disparagement of
any recognizable rival goods. The advertisement is therefore driven
back on to a rather tame proclamation of general excellence and of
the pre-eminence of the article advertised over rivals in general.
Of course the utility of any device, so tame as this, is rapidly
exhausted, so that advertisers have long learnt to vary the appeal and
the claim in every possible way. But although the form changes, the
methods are few. The earliest method was the attempt to use literary
skill, but as this necessarily appealed only to a class of people
very much on their guard against advertising of all kinds, it was
soon abandoned. Another method was the surprise. A long story would
be printed with a little tag at the end advertising some nostrum
or necessary. This was speedily discounted and disused. Then mere
blatancy became the general rule. Advertisers appealed only to the eye
by wearisome iteration. Curiously enough such a policy, apparently
trivial to a primitive degree, has held its own for decades against
devices of a much more elaborate kind. But in the newspaper itself
severe limitations are imposed on this method both by the paucity of
type faces and the mere cost of space. It has come therefore to be
almost exclusively the weapon of the very rich, who are able to buy
whole pages at a time of the most widely circulated and most expensive
journals. Lastly and perhaps the most successfully of all, illustration
has come prominently into use. Here again the limitations of the medium
impose themselves. It is not every kind of design or sketch, which is
effective under the rough conditions imposed by the rapid printing of
the daily press. The managers of newspapers themselves being aware of
this are not anxious to encourage this form of enterprise and some of
them exclude it from their columns. The legitimate field for its full
florescence has now become the pages of the popular magazine, which
are printed with monthly deliberation on the flat and thus secure a
high degree of excellence in technical execution and reproduction. The
American magazines are the most suitable home for brilliant expository
work of this kind and in many cases the ingenious advertisers have
succeeded in making their advertisement pages a serious rival in
interest with the pages in the text.

All these efforts, while they are strictly speaking the chief concern
of the advertiser, become by proxy the daily problem of the newspaper
manager and of his familiar spirits, the advertisement solicitors
for the journal or periodical. This is a task very much better
understood and executed in America than in Europe and a high degree
of expertism in advertising has become a _sine qua non_ of newspaper
management everywhere. The work is as often as not now carried on by
a highly-trained staff including writers, artists and canvassers, so
that the manager himself has nothing more than a general supervision
and direction of policy. It is especially his province rightly to
appraise the class of readers, whose patronage he has, so to speak, to
sell to advertisers, to advise as to the best methods of approaching
them and to lay down general rules and a scale of prices regulating the
advertising, which his paper is prepared to take. Such a responsibility
is a very serious one because the rules and conditions, under which
this traffic has to be carried on, cannot be changed very often and
once established the rules must be observed with judicious strictness,
as any suspicion of partial or favoured treatment would unite his
customers fatally against his paper. He must never forget that the bulk
of his custom comes to him through a profession of the most suspicious
people in the world, the advertising agents, whose pre-occupation it is
to secure most-favoured-nation treatment each for his own customers
and to prevent any one else stealing a march on them.

Let us examine this problem as it presents itself to the manager of a
London daily morning newspaper. The complication of it can be seen by
carefully examining the columns of a typical daily like the _Morning
Post_ or _Daily Telegraph_. Advertisements for these papers divide
themselves into two classes, displayed and classified. In the first
class come all those miscellaneous announcements, whose character we
have discussed in general terms above. The advertiser in these cases
practically buys so much space, sometimes in column form, sometimes
across column rules, in which case he is almost invariably charged
a higher rate. In this space he frames his advertisement using the
special kind of type laid down by the rules of each paper, which in
the United Kingdom vary greatly from the extreme conservatism of
the _Morning Post_ to the unlimited license of some of the smaller
provincial dailies. It is becoming increasingly the practice to sell
space of this kind at a “flat rate,” which is an American term meaning
a fixed price per inch with reductions for a quantity, allowing the
advertiser to make his advertisements what size he likes and to repeat
them at his own convenience, as opposed to the older English custom,
where so many specific columns and half-columns were sold at certain
regular intervals of recurrence, restrictions which imposed needless
trouble on the advertiser and often interfered with the most effective
display of his advertisements.

But with regard to classified advertisements, that is, advertisements
grouped under regular headings, more old-fashioned usages prevail.
Probably no two papers in the country have exactly the same scales
for this kind of advertising. The reason is not far to seek. Every
paper has some little connection in a special class of advertising
arising out of the ineradicable habits of the public. For instance the
_Morning Post_ is pre-eminent for domestic servants, the _Daily News_
for pressmen and compositors and I remember one provincial daily, now
dead, which even _in articulo mortis_ was the only organ through which
the barbers and hairdressers of Lancashire sought for new situations.
It followed that the scales charged for this extremely varied volume of
custom are roughly governed by the simple rule adopted by railways in
fixing their freight rates, of charging whatever the traffic will bear.
Each paper will put up the rates on its own specialities and charge
less for custom which it is trying to draw from a rival paper.

The expectation of attracting custom from elsewhere in classified
advertising is very seldom fulfilled. The habits of the public are
extraordinarily stable in this respect. When once a paper is recognized
as the special organ for a particular purpose every one has to buy it
in this connection and people save themselves the trouble of looking
elsewhere. The most outrageous overcharging will very seldom drive
this custom away, but it is very unwise for any manager to attempt
it, as he may easily injure his general reputation for justice and
thereby lose other business. The most important groups of classified
advertising are as follows: financial, theatrical, public notices,
losts and founds, educational, auctions, property to let or for sale,
situations for clerks, situations for servants, births, marriages and
deaths. Of course there are a good many general announcements under
special headings and in addition there are cross classifications, as
when special prices are asked for special positions in the paper, of
which the most usually prevailing variations are an extra charge for
advertisements next reading-matter and for announcements printed in
what has come to be universally known as the “agony column.”

Next to the skilful handling of his volume of advertising, the chief
pre-occupation of a newspaper manager is the cultivation and increase
of his circulation. Some people would say that it precedes the other
in importance, but this is hardly the case. It would be so, if it were
the business of no one else but the manager to secure readers, because
circulation must antedate advertising or any rate it must appear to do
so. The fundamental responsibility for the circulation remains with
the editor, who has to produce a paper permanently interesting to his
readers, whether these are drawn from a small and select class or from
the masses of the general public. The manager’s function with regard to
circulation is to improve his machinery of distribution to the limit
allowed by the means at his disposal and to secure the utmost publicity
for the efforts of his colleague.

This is a very much more difficult task than appears at first sight.
One would naturally suppose that to an expert in advertising and
publicity, as a newspaper manager has to be, the marketing of his own
wares would be an easy task. That it is not so, is due to the fact that
the commodity he has to offer for sale differs in kind from any other.
The chief form of publicity, whose peculiar virtues he is perpetually
extolling, namely advertisement through the press, is almost closed
to him. He can use his own columns to puff special features only to a
limited extent and probably to very little advantage. He can hardly
use rival papers to his own, except on very special occasions, without
increasing their revenue and prestige and to some extent confessing his
own weakness. To appeal to the readers of papers of a different class
is to approach a public, which probably does not want him. Worse still
is the habit of using for the purpose of newspaper propaganda other
means of publicity, such as the hoarding in the country or the placard
in public places. These are inevitably cheapening in their effect on
the public mind and it is his daily business to say so to his own
clients, who bring their advertising to him.

He is driven in the end to occasional and impromptu methods such as
the distribution of interesting copies of his paper, the production
of various subsidiary publications, whose circulation may keep his
paper before the public or the organization of little tricks and
surprises. None of these devices however can ever be expected to
advance the interests of his paper very seriously. The real propaganda
for a newspaper therefore remains in the hands of the editor and his
resources are of a simple nature and must be used continuously and with
the greatest possible skill. First and foremost he must make for his
paper the reputation of being the most efficient and, more important
still, the most alert in his own district. He must miss nothing and
score a “beat,” when he can. Secondly he must identify himself and his
paper conspicuously with all local efforts, needs and opportunities. He
must be prompt to hear and take up grievances, to track down scandals,
to open subscription lists for the sake of important public charities
of an occasional kind and to bring prominent names conspicuously before
the public. Lastly he must watch anxiously for any legitimate object
of sensationalism, such as is sometimes offered in a war or, as is at
other times the case, may be invented and planned in the office of the
newspaper. Such were the _New York Herald’s_ expedition to discover
Livingstone, the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition to the North Pole, or
the rescue of a white girl from Cuba by a New York paper. This class of
sensation is only within the reach of a very long purse and moreover
is valuable to none but popular journals. The readers of higher class
circles are apt to be thoroughly bored with reiterated details on a
subject, which soon becomes stale, while yet there is no other method
than this by which the newspaper can secure a suitable return for its
enterprise and heavy expenditure.

One of the vexed questions for the publisher of periodicals is properly
to assess the relative value of a large or small circulation. Some
small circulations especially of a technical kind have a far higher
value for advertisers than a large one of poorer quality. On the other
hand, if the readers are of too high a class, they are not to be hit
by the efforts of the advertiser and the revenue therefore remains
small. I know of one paper, which is unique in this respect in the
world. It is the _Zeitschrift des Ingenieuren Vereins_, whose editorial
product stands on a level of technical excellence unapproached in the
engineering world. Yet it has the large circulation for this class of
journal of 20,000 or 22,000 a week and a very considerable advertising
revenue. The secret of this success lies in the fact that it is a class
organ circulating to _all_ the members of the immense association of
German engineers, which includes not only all German engineers but
innumerable foreigners, who have come to Germany to be educated in
Charlottenburg or in their other admirable technical schools.

But with regard to the general and daily press it may be said that
both in the United Kingdom and in America newspapers tend to range
themselves in grades and in each grade it is the largest circulation,
which brings in the greatest advertising revenue and profits. The
highest grade has the smaller circulation but a monopoly of certain
kinds of advertising, which is the backbone of its security. The lowest
grades have immense circulations, high rates for advertising and very
large revenues. But because the readers in this grade are mostly people
of small means these newspapers are not the best organs for those
expensive articles of luxury on the sale of which the largest sums of
money are spent. The largest volume of business therefore undoubtedly
goes to the middle grades, where considerable circulations prevail
among the wealthy middle classes. The most profitable _clientèle_ for
a newspaper is among the vulgar rich, who are easily led in their
habits and expenditure by the suggestions of fashion and the interested
blandishments of the skilled exploiter.

Of all the functions exercised by the manager of a great newspaper
property the most serious and responsible is his collaboration with
the editor in weighing the relative advantages to be gained and the
cost to be incurred by enterprise of all kinds. Unfortunately for
newspapers, while they are driven by a law of their being to assert
themselves wherever possible by venturing on new ground this can
practically never be done without the outlay of very large sums of
money. Here is certainly a case, where two heads are better than one.
The editor is generally the executive, as he knows that very little
effort is permanently remunerative, which does not improve the quality
or extend the influence of the publication. But he is very seldom the
best judge of how much can be risked for a certain object and whether
the object itself, even when successfully gained, will really be worth
the sacrifice. There are certain cases, such as war correspondence,
when reckless expenditure, perhaps of two or three years’ income, may
be forced on a newspaper by competition. There are others where the
risk and expense may be optional, such as the organization of special
correspondence abroad, the establishment of new and permanent features
of the paper, the starting of a new edition for local distribution, or
perhaps of extending the area of circulation of the journal by going
earlier to press and catching special trains.

The special train has been a very important feature in the changes,
which have come over journalism in this country, both in the provinces
and especially in London. Unlike America where spacious habits in
geography confine every newspaper to the suburbs of the populous
towns, Great Britain can almost be reached in all its corners before
breakfast by morning papers printed in central positions. The result is
a perpetually recurring struggle for better facilities of distribution
involving increased expenses and altered habits. There was a time when
provincial newspapers “went to press” early in order to utilize the
ordinary mail trains which generally left at or near midnight. London
on the other hand, which had no large towns near to it, generally
closed for press only at 3 a.m. But the special trains have radically
changed these habits. To the best of my knowledge the first paper to
run special trains of its own was the _Manchester Guardian_, whose
object was to improve the paper by giving more time before “press”; the
special train in this case postponed publication from 12.30 to 1.30
a.m. with very beneficial results.

In London the process of change was reversed. London has the serious
disadvantage of being at one end and in one corner of our little
island. To reach the great populations of the Midlands, the North and
the South West a series of special trains costing enormous sums of
money were started about 2.15 or 2.30 with the result that the hour
for “going to press” was moved forward from 3 or 3.30 a.m. to 1.30
a.m., seriously cutting down the possibilities of considered literary
production. The example of this exacting competition was first set by
the _Daily Mail_ at the outbreak of the Boer war and was necessarily
followed by every London morning paper. How severely this was felt by
the weaker brethren of the press, the following story will illustrate.
I was assured by the proprietor of a prosperous newspaper that the
increased expenditure on this competition at that time entirely wiped
out his current profits for some years and reduced his property to the
position of a journal struggling to establish itself. The indirect
effect on the editorial staffs of newspapers was also disastrous to
some. The result of curtailing the time for journalistic effort placed
those papers, whose speciality was superior literary style and well
weighed judgments, on much the same footing as the cheaper papers.

As a partial relief from the expense of special trains and carriage
of newspapers it has become the practice for the progressive popular
papers of London to print elsewhere local editions, which have also
the advantage of meeting local needs both with regard to news and
advertisements in a way that a purely metropolitan issue can never do.
In this respect also the initiative was taken by the London _Daily
Mail_, which at the turn of the century established a branch office and
printed a northern edition in Manchester, from whence it could reach
all the north and the greater part of Scotland by breakfast. This was
followed some years later by a special edition in Paris, in which the
local edition is printed in French. It has since extended its grasp by
starting a Midland edition in Birmingham. The _Daily News_ followed
the example of the _Mail_ by establishing a Manchester office but it
anticipated the _Mail_ by being the first to go to the Midlands. The
London _Daily Chronicle_ has followed the other two to the Midlands and
will probably end also by going up north. To the best of my knowledge
the first daily paper in England to start a special local edition was
the _Manchester Guardian_, when it produced its Welsh Edition about the
years 1894 or 1895. But the practice had long been common among the
weekly papers of the country.

Analogous to the enforced expenditure on communication is the provision
that has to be made for cabling foreign or special correspondence. In
this matter the pressure to follow the example of a richer competitor
is not overwhelming, as readers have different tastes and many are
almost indifferent to foreign news. Yet every paper feels very severely
the indignity of being obliged to admit inferiority in enterprise and
of publicly taking a seat in the second row in any respect. Yet the
cost of cable messages is sometimes prohibitive and they have to be
summarily cut off on occasion. In any system of foreign correspondence
by cable, the salary of the correspondent is a mere trifle compared
to the expense of telegraphing. Every foreign correspondent is aware
that his fate, as far as that particular position is concerned, is
determined much less by the quality of his own work than by financial
plethora or stringency at home. It has been the fate of many, as it
has once been mine, to find themselves quietly snuffed out by the
application of this effective extinguisher.

A new terror has been added to journalism in America, though hardly yet
to the same extent here by the use of wireless telegraphy. In New York
all the leading papers have wireless plants, which they use not only
to transmit and receive their own news but to intercept where possible
those of others. It is credibly repeated that after the Titanic
disaster one of the causes of the appalling confusion of reports and
rumours was that every newspaper kept getting fragmentary messages
intended for every other and the most absurd and self-contradictory
accounts passed current without any attempt to verify them. Clearly in
future the manipulation of press messages by wireless telegraphy will
have to be very severely curtailed in any future naval war. In fact it
seems to me that the only possible road to security will be to forbid
it without any exception.

The latest development in enterprise of this kind was recently devised
by the _Liverpool Echo_ and the _Liverpool Express_ in conjunction with
the _Yorkshire Post_ and the _Manchester Guardian_. When Mr. Winston
Churchill made his sensational irruption into Ulster at the beginning
of 1912 the public wires were entirely taken up with general orders
and the lease of a special wire was impossible. The speech was then
reported by undersea transmission over the electrophone, the first
time that this instrument had ever been used in that way. There were
thirty-two transmitters placed round the platform where Mr. Churchill
spoke and his voice was heard distinctly in the Liverpool offices and
his words were then taken down as he uttered them.

The mention of the telephone reminds me that much that has been said
in this chapter and elsewhere with regard to the telegraph applies
also especially to the telephone, which in some respects is an equal
and even better competitor. Some of the London press agencies use this
form of communication for reporting police cases and other immediate
items of news to the complete exclusion of the telegraph. At one time
I had to examine very carefully the merits of a wireless system of
telephoning through the ground for this purpose but could not persuade
myself, that it would operate with accuracy and inevitable success. I
have heard no more of it.



The process of the production of a modern newspaper is one of the
curiosities of industry. It is inconceivably complex. To begin with,
for every single letter used in every word of the day’s issue--there
is an average of about six letters to each word, nine words to a line,
two hundred lines in a column, seven columns in a page and ten or
twelve pages and often more in a standard morning daily--a reproduction
in metal has to be made and placed in its right position between two
others. That is to say about three-quarters of a million individual
little metal stamps have to be made every day afresh in a certain
order, never twice repeated; they are used once and then entirely
destroyed. That is but the first miracle. Another is that in the output
of a popular morning issue from fifty to sixty miles of double-width
paper--that is four times the width of the front page--representing
the denudation of perhaps thirty or forty acres of forest land, will
be devoured every day. The third and most amazing miracle of all is the
pace at which these huge operations are done. All these little distinct
metal stamps will be made in the right order in from six to eight hours
by less than a hundred men. The miles of paper will be eaten up in
perhaps from two to three hours including intervals at a rate of output
representing the printing of something like fifteen thousand copies of
the paper per minute or two hundred and fifty per second in the offices
where the largest circulations are produced.

Let us now take these processes _seriatim_ and see if we can understand
them in detail. The first point to realize about a newspaper is that
everything has to be done, not at the double, but at some quicker
pace, of which there is no example in ordinary life. Perhaps a Cabinet
Council planning some revolutionary legislation may work quicker or a
council of war summoned to meet in an emergency. The feat can only be
accomplished by the strict training of all concerned to do each his
own job with an intense concentration, regardless of the simultaneous
carrying out by others of a hundred corresponding tasks. The news or
special article as it leaves the author’s brain commences at once its
progress in the form of words through the minute mechanical processes
required to carry it to the breakfast table. It may never get written
at all. In several New York offices only type-written matter is
accepted by the city editor and the typed copy has to be either by
dictation to shorthand or to the machine or executed by the reporter
himself. The most progressive method of all, which has not yet been
completely adopted but I have no doubt soon will be, is the use of the
dictating machine, which is a special form of phonograph. The records,
when the proper degree of accuracy and self-confidence have become
general in a reporting staff, will ultimately come to pass direct to
the compositor, thus saving one intermediate stage.

The three chief processes through which the written word has to pass in
order to get into print are composition, or the assembling of types,
stereotyping, or the preparing of the types for fast rotary printing,
and printing proper. Of these the first is the most difficult and
complicated, and has been the slowest in coming to the modern standard
of perfection of all the three. As every one knows, the old-fashioned
method of composition consisted in setting up together various movable
types so that they successively formed words and sentences. This
process has proved much too slow for modern newspaper production. The
hand compositor, as he was called, could not put together more than
1,200 or 1,500 typical letters per hour. The composing room staff had
to be very numerous, and the issue of very large papers was physically
impossible. Besides there was the difficulty of dealing with the types
themselves; they were difficult to handle in a mass for fear their
order might be disturbed; they were easily injured and worn out, and
they had to be distributed afresh in their proper cases after every use.

All this has been abolished by the invention of various forms of
composing machines, of which I shall describe the one that is most
often in use in newspaper offices. I am told on good authority that
out of about 2,000 offices in the United Kingdom only about six have
not at least one Linotype machine. This Linotype machine is probably
the most ingenious mechanism ever planned and, with the exception of
a few calculating machines, resembles the human brain more than any
other. The Linotype is not content to assemble made types, but it
makes them line by line as they are required. It is constituted of a
keyboard actuating a magazine containing matrices, or letter-moulds
in intaglio, together with a casting mechanism. By tapping the keys
the operator can bring to a suitable position in the casting machine,
opposite to the blank end of a small mould of exactly the size of
a line of type, these various matrices in due order so as to form
successive words in a sentence. When the matrices are assembled in
their proper place, as he is informed by the ringing of a bell, the
operator will touch a lever releasing molten metal into the empty mould
and thus obtains a metal slug representing the line of type which he
has to set up. The machine shaves and trims this slug to an exact size
and returns the used matrices to their appropriate channels in the
magazine ready for use in another line. By this method the handling
of separate metal types is abolished. Fresh new printing surfaces are
presented for every issue and the old ones destroyed. Above all the
pace of output is more than quadrupled and very much larger issues can
be produced than was possible under the old system.

The latest development of the Linotype composing machine is the
provision of several magazines of matrices of different founts of
type, so that for varied setting such as is generally required in
advertisements successive lines of type can be used from different
magazines. As many as four magazines have been attached to one machine.
Besides the Linotype which is the most useful machine to a newspaper
there is a German machine called the Typograph, operating in a similar
fashion. The Monotype machine, very valuable for certain purposes such
as catalogue work in a general printing office, casts each single type
separately and sets them together. Matter set in this way lends itself
more easily to small corrections.

The Linotype slugs with their new type-shaped faces are then assembled
into columns and screwed up in frames so as to form a page, but they
are as yet very far from being a suitable printing surface. The reason
for the next transformation of these type surfaces is, as follows: it
is impossible for any fast printing to be done from a flat surface. The
only possible device for securing rapid pace according to our present
notions of machinery is the use of rotary motion. In other words the
paper must be made to run between two wheels, one of which has a type
surface and the other a soft blanket. So that we have to convert a flat
type surface into a curved one for our fresh purpose. This process is
called stereotyping.


  cylinder holding two plates W & Y; D is a smaller cylinder
  of half radius; M is a tubular plate; E and F are impression

Stereotyping accomplishes this purpose in two ways; it can make a
semi-circular plate or a tubular plate. In the first case, which is the
more usual method, the printing cylinder in the press is of double size
and will contain two full newspaper pages on its circumference. In the
second, adapted to a new form of press, the page encircles the whole
cylinder. The process of transforming a flat surface into a circular
one was long done by hand, and in a great many offices continues so to
be done. On the surface of the square page of type is placed a damp
mould, resembling _papier-mâché_, composed of several overlying sheets
of thin tissue and heavy backing papers; the type with the mould on
it is placed inside a steam press, when it is effectually squeezed
into the face of the type and dried by heat at the same time. A hard
mould is thus made in about six minutes, showing the impressions of
the newspaper page in intaglio. This dry mould is of course flexible
and can be placed in a cylindrical casting box and cylindrical plates
having an exact reproduction of the type surfaces on their curved
exteriors are rapidly cast and sent down to the machine-room. It is
from these curved plates that the newspapers themselves are actually
printed and not, as many people naturally suppose, from the type itself.

The hand production of stereotype plates is already out of date in
most progressive offices. The first improvement is the substitution
of a dry “flong,” as the paper mould is technically called, thus
eliminating the five or six minutes spent in drying at the cost to
some extent of accuracy, a fault which is in process of diminution.
The second is the use of elaborate machines called variously
autoplates, junior autoplates or multiplates according to size and
design. These also arise from the newspaper passion for speed and
they carry out automatically the casting, trimming and planing to a
true edge of stereoplates, which was formerly carried out slowly by
hand. To see a double autoplate turning out these monstrous heavy
page-sized plates complete at the rate of six a minute gives one an
impression of an intelligence also something akin to human. The only
limit to their speed is the necessity for allowing the metal of the
plates to cool sufficiently during the process to ensure that their
cylindrical accuracy will be exact before they start on their journey
to the machine-room. In a few minutes later these same plates will be
revolving on a fast modern press at the rate of 16,000 revolutions an
hour with a surface speed of rotation of approximately twenty-two feet
per second. The degree of accuracy of plate-casting required in order
to get good printing at this rate of production is very great and has
only been effectively secured in very recent times.

Before proceeding to examine the habits and constitution of the
printing-press itself let us take a peep inside a modern press room. In
the first place it is almost sure to be irregular in shape and though
very large and high not large enough or high enough to hold comfortably
all the machinery that is in it. Expansion is the law of a newspaper’s
existence and hardly any newspaper ever succeeds in building itself
a machine cellar, which it will not ultimately grow out of. The
difficulty and expense of acquiring new printing press accommodation in
crowded and valuable areas assures an irregular shape to most modern
machine rooms. Imagine an immense cellar perhaps twenty to thirty feet
high with huge irregular piles of machinery reaching almost to the
ceiling. There is no general lighting, for the path of the rays from
the ceiling lights is broken up in all directions by the tall presses,
but everywhere there are bright handlights conveniently placed so as
to illuminate instantaneously every square inch of the masses of metal
work. In some cases lights are turned on for the moment in the central
parts of the gaunt machines themselves. Everywhere on the outside of
the presses are to be seen handles and bells and indicators so that
to the uninitiated there seems to be no central point of control, no
pineal gland where the soul of things is situated.

Just before press time in a big office order begins to appear. The men
group themselves systematically at various stations round the presses,
which are half ready to start. That is to say, that the machine is
more than half clothed with the plates of those pages, which have
been the earliest to go to press. Then comes a clang, indicating from
the stereotype room above that the last plates are cast and probably
on their way. Down the hoist they come singly, almost too hot to be
handled. One by one the cellar-hands take them and fit them on the
plate cylinders, where the turning of a single cog fits each into
position. A big double sextuple machine such as the one illustrated
(Fig. 2), printing a twelve-page paper, will want eight plates of the
last page to start it, so that this last operation may take as many
minutes. Then the lever is pressed down and the printing begins with a
sound like a sustained purring, punctuated by regular sobbing. In this
respect the latest presses are showing marked improvement with every
fresh design and the noise is by no means overwhelming. A few years
ago rapid printing in great masses involved considerable distress to
the ears for any one forced to remain for very long downstairs in the
printing cellar.


  _Daily Mail_, is reproduced from a drawing kindly supplied by

  Explanation of figures in drawing:--A B C D E F, six reels of
  paper in position for printing; G H I J, four reels of paper ready
  to come into position; K L M N O P, six double pairs of printing
  and impression cylinders; Q R, assembling points, where on each
  side three printed sheets come together for the purpose of being
  cut and folded; S T, two folding apparatus; U V W X, two pairs of
  inking apparatus carrying ink from the ink-boxes by reciprocating
  rollers to the printing cylinders of the lower tiers. (_The inking
  mechanism for the higher tiers is omitted._) Y Z, delivery of
  printed papers from each side.]

There are now-a-days so many distinct varieties of printing-press
available and used for newspaper printing that it is a matter of some
difficulty to select a suitable type as representative. I have chosen
two, which are here illustrated. One is the double-sextuple press
recently installed by Messrs. Joseph Foster & Sons in the office of the
London _Daily Mail_ (Fig. 2). It is not by any means the largest in the
world but it is the latest in design and a typical fast rotary press
for rapid work. The other (Fig. 3) is a typical small press such as a
provincial evening paper would find convenient. The small illustration
(Fig. 1) above, shows the end-on section XYZ of a semi-cylindrical
plate of large size compared with the smaller sized section of a
tubular plate M, where a single page of the paper to be printed goes
completely round the circle, except for a narrow margin at the bottom
of the page, a space, which is taken up on the cylinder by clamps,
which hold the plate firmly.

On the double-sextuple machine here illustrated by a section of the
machine from the side the reader will observe that it is really a
combination of six separate machines arranged in three tiers. The paper
is carried in six huge reels, three at each end of the press. The
paper in the course of printing comes from the reels at each end to
the central portion of the press down into the four folding mechanisms
in the centre of the press, where they are automatically folded and
delivered ready for sale.

Now the chief marvel of a modern combined printing press is its power
of being used to print separately a large number of small sized papers
or by leading the paper through the press in a slightly different
way to print a mammoth paper folded all together and receiving
contributions from all six reels at once. In the particular machine in
question, which is used to print a comparatively small sized paper, any
six of the separate machines can be run separately, if a small paper
and a small output only is wanted. When required, they can be combined
in pairs or in threes or all together, either for an immense number of
small papers or for a moderate number of very large ones. With a _Daily
Mail_ of eight pages the two lower tiers of the press could be run with
an output of 132,000 copies per hour. For ten pages half the upper
tier, using half length reels, could be run to supply the supplementary
two pages per copy at the same rate. To produce a twelve-page paper the
whole upper tier could be run and again produce them at the same rate.
The larger sizes would involve a lesser rate of output. From fourteen
to twenty-four page papers would be produced at the rate of 66,000 per
hour, and twenty-four to forty-eight page papers at 33,000. To change
over from printing one size paper to another would not be a matter of
more than half an hour.


  The paper from the four reels runs through the machine from left
  to right. Each sheet passes between two pair of cylinders, such
  as A A, following the direction of the small arrows. The four
  sheets after being printed respectively between rollers A A, B
  B, C C, and D D, are all carried up together to the assembling
  roller E, where they are timed to meet exactly so as to form each
  4 pages of a 16-page paper. They will pass down the triangular
  folder, where they receive the longitudinal fold, and then are
  cut into separate papers. After being cut the papers pass into
  the side folder F, where they each receive one cross-fold, and
  are delivered one above another, so as to make up a stack. (By
  courtesy of Mr. Lock, of LINOTYPE AND MACHINERY, LTD.)]

The course of each sheet from the reel through the printing cylinders
is exactly the same. The paper has to be printed on both sides and
on one only at a time. To effect this it passes between one pair of
cylinders, one of which carries the stereotype plate containing the
raised surface of type, whose course we have already followed; the
other is covered with a hard rubber blanket, sufficiently pervious
to allow the slightest possible indentation of its surface as the
irregular type faces come opposite to it with the rapidly-flowing paper
ever between them. This slight but rapid indentation gives a clear cut
impression and applies the ink without smudging to one of the surfaces
of the paper. The impression of ink on the other surface is given by
going through another pair of similar cylinders but with their relative
positions reversed--_i.e._, the plate cylinder must now come in contact
with the other side of the paper.

The merits and defects of fast rotary printing depend wholly on two
conditions, as far as the workmanship in the press is concerned,
apart from the several qualities of paper, ink and accurately made
stereotype plates, which are here supposed to be all of normal
excellence. These two conditions are the degree of the impression
allowed between the plate and the impression cylinders and the
proper supply and distribution of the ink. Both these are matters
requiring the highest technical judgment, and where illustrated work
is concerned, as is increasingly the case in modern newspapers, slight
variations have enormously different results. Conveying the ink, which
in printing is a thick glutinous fluid, mostly oil and lamp-black,
from the long ink cases running from side to side of the press, is the
work of a number of subsidiary rollers with various conflicting and
combining movements. The ink is allowed to ooze out generously on to
a large metal cylinder, where it is pounced upon at once by a cohort
of gelatine rollers and pounded and smeared in various directions and
ultimately taken by carrying rollers with reciprocating motion to
larger gelatine cylinders, which are in contact with the plate-carrying
cylinder itself. All this pounding, squeezing and manœuvring are the
only means of getting an absolutely even distribution of ink, which the
reckless speed of newspaper printing requires. It must be remembered
that the speed of the printing peripheries in contact with the moving
paper often amounts to more than twenty feet per second.

There is a further complication of refinement required in the printing
of illustrated work, which the increasing accuracy of modern times has
not yet eliminated. The depth of the hollows in between the raised
printing surfaces is very much less in plates reproducing photographic
illustrations than in the case of type. It is found that “half-tone”
work, as it is called, requires a degree of exactness in the printing
plate, which at present it is impossible always to get. One part of
a picture to be printed is very often slightly higher or lower than
the other. To remedy this in the plate is impossible. Another plate
might have fresh faults. Good printing is secured at a fast pace by
a process called “making ready.” The printer runs his paper slowly
through the press and discovers the faults in the plates containing
illustrations by a trial impression on the paper. He then corrects the
lightly-inked parts of his illustration by raising the corresponding
surface of the impression cylinder. To do this he pastes on various
thicknesses of paper on the latter, so that the paper to be printed is
brought more firmly in contact with the printing cylinder, wherever the
illustration appears to him to require it. The object is to get an
even blackness of impression all over the illustration. The correction
requires good judgment and skilled attention.

The last stage of the passage of the paper through the press is cutting
and folding. It will be remembered that the printed papers are coming
down two at a time, side by side into the central folding mechanism.
The first operation is a longitudinal cut separating the two papers
and making two half width running strips instead of one. Taking one of
these strips the next operation is to run the paper over a V-shaped
plate, drawing the two edges of the paper together at the bottom and
making the central fold of the journal. A transverse cut separates each
journal from the other, which are then taken separately sideways for
one final revolution round a cylinder, where a knife pops out from the
interior and neatly gives it the last fold, which we recognize across
the front of our daily paper every morning.

So the papers come out at a pace about a thousand times quicker than
one can read the description. Enormous efforts are required to deal
with the advancing flood. Any accumulation would be destructive of
order. Most of the papers go straight to waiting carts and motors.
Others go to the mailing room, where, as in some American offices, they
are fed through machines, which with the same operation print the names
and addresses on wrappers, affix and gum the wrappers and deliver the
newspapers into assorted bags, whose destination is already fastened on
the outside.

Once outside, distribution is very much a question of population and
locality. Different methods have to be employed to meet fresh problems.
In London internal distribution is very difficult, because the local
railways and tubes are not organized to handle goods traffic. Horses
and carts are now outdistanced except for small consignments. Bicycles
can be used to some extent but the motor will be the chief reliance of
the future. In this case the problem must be divided up into two parts
owing to traffic considerations. At night the roads are free and high
speed can be kept up for long distances, so that the utility of the
motor is only limited to its capacity, otherwise its tonnage. It has
been calculated recently that a motor van can run from Fleet Street
to Barnet, a distance of about twelve miles within an hour, stopping
twenty-seven times in the last seven miles to deliver separate parcels
to newsagents on the way.

The problem of the distribution of evening papers during the day is
very much more difficult. One prominent evening newspaper in London has
estimated that it costs as much as £1,000 per week to each paper.[8]
In the first place competition is much more keen, because, while the
morning paper has to reach a limited number of important distributing
points at one stated time, _i.e._, before breakfast, it is the business
of an enterprising evening paper to multiply occasions of distribution,
as for instance after every race or at short intervals during an
exciting cricket match, and also for the same competitive purpose to
multiply points of distribution, so as to cover the widest possible
field. In the second place the general traffic in London is still
conducted at the same pace, at which the animals entered the ark. At
all important centres the streets are blocked for half the daylight
hours of the day. At Wellington Street, the westward boundary of
newspaperdom, five hours daily are lost; in the city the average rate
of progression is three miles an hour. For these reasons a large and
fast unit of distribution, like the motor-car, is discounted in utility
by the blocks in the traffic so that light carts and men on bicycles
can hold their own in pace and serve a greater number of independent
centres. The bicycle has a special power of penetrating a block because
the police are indulgent to newspaper distribution and generally allow
them to pass.

    [8] See _Newspaper Owner_, July 27, 1912.

The modern method of distribution in London--it was invented first
in the provinces--is conducted, as follows: various centres are
selected--take the corner of Pall Mall and Cockspur Street for
example--where staffs of boys are assembled at stated periods during
the afternoon. At fixed times there come at breathless speed bundles
of evening “specials” or “extras” by cart or bicycle, which are
instantaneously served out to the waiting newsboys. There are thus
perhaps a hundred local centres of distribution awaiting the trigger
to be pulled in the central office, which will deliver the selected
news all over London. Here is the point where the skilled judgment of
an experienced journalist is required to select the right news and
the right moment. It is a fatal thing to pull the trigger on a small
occasion too soon before a big one, as for instance, if one sent all
the boys away with a county cricket result ten minutes before the
result of the Cambridgeshire. As a matter of fact most boys would know
too much about their own business to take a special, just before an
important racing event.

The distribution of evening newspapers is probably the chief point of
organization, where we are probably well ahead of the American press.
On the several occasions, when I have had the opportunity of comparing
the two systems, I have found New York papers conspicuously behind ours
in this department. This may be due to lesser competition or a less
developed organization but more probably to the fact that the American
public pay much less attention to sporting events than do our working



It is not possible to write about the Newspaper without making
some compressed reference to the history of the press. But the
history of the press can be adequately treated only in a formidable
and forbiddingly dull work. The fact is that the only interesting
newspapers are live newspapers. It is practically impossible to read
with attention the files of bygone journals except for the purposes of
research. History has already eviscerated them and what history leaves
only biography or statistics can put to any use. Confined as we are
to brief space our best course is to deal only with living papers,
the selection of which is indeed a sufficient task and to note only
such facts in their complicated lives as will be of service to us in
determining the character of the British press as it is to-day. Of all
that exists anterior to these it will be sufficient to notice only
those parts of our subject, which have succeeded in creeping into the
history of our politics or our literature. Of the foreign press no more
than a brief contemporary review can be given.

England was the last in Europe to develop its own press and when it
came, it appeared in a full-fledged form that is startlingly modern.
During the controversies of the Civil War pamphleteering and preaching
were the great English weapons and owing to the seriousness of the
times both often ran into volumes. It was not until the easier days of
Queen Anne that we had our first daily paper with the _Daily Courant_
of 1702. But two years later we had a much more important event in the
advent of the _Review_. This was started by the true father of English
journalism and the greatest of all journalists, as I venture to define
the term, Daniel Defoe. As I propose to deal with his journalistic
character later on, I shall confine my remarks here only to the story
of the papers, which he published faithfully, if rather irregularly,
for nine years. This immense work was practically entirely the work
of Defoe’s own hands and in its 5,000 pages it included articles on
almost every subject of human knowledge. It practically established
the prevailing type of English journalism, which has survived to
our time. This type is neither literary nor critical, which is the
prevailing style with the French, nor the mere newsgatherer, such
as certain popular journals have been everywhere, but pre-eminently
an organ of opinion, dealing with current topics, so as to exert
political influence. In fact he was found carrying out this function of
influencing opinion to an extent, which modern notions of honour would
never condone, for at one time of his life about 1718, he, a Whig and
Nonconformist, is found taking a share in the conduct of three Jacobite
and High Church organs, _Mercurius Politicus_, _Dormer’s News Letter_
and _Mist’s Journal_, in order, as he says himself, “to take the sting
out of them” in the interests of the Whig government of the period.
This embodied a peculiar view of irony, not approved of even at the

The _Review_ was soon followed by other famous names, the _Tatler_
started by Steele in 1709, the _Spectator_ by Steele and Addison
in 1711, yet while their object of supporting the Whigs was partly
achieved, these journals were too far removed from the popular type
to secure permanent success. Atterbury, Bolingbroke and above all
Swift were supporting the other side in politics in the _Examiner_,
but although the wit, eloquence and brilliant literary qualities
displayed by both these groups by far exceeded the equipment of Defoe
in these respects these joint journalistic efforts never succeeded in
following continuously the true path of development, which leads to our
modern newspapers. The same may be said of two other celebrities Henry
Fielding in the _Champion_ and _True Patriot_, both Whig organs and of
Johnson in the _Rambler_. In fact the only resemblance of the latter
to a newspaper was that it appeared at regular intervals and had the
general wish of the author to support Church and State, as they were
understood by the Tory party.

With the well-known names of Wilkes, rake, demagogue and editor of
the _North Britain_ (1762-3) and Woodfall, editor of the _Public
Advertiser_ and publisher of the famous _Letters of Junius_ we come
nearer still to the modern spirit. In both these cases the original
example of Defoe is followed of seeking for public support through
the press against the power and authority of government and thereby
of establishing the great English principle of its real and practical
independence. The example and success of Junius has also to my mind
had a far-reaching effect on our newspaper habits in helping to extend
the practice of anonymity, which has contributed so powerfully to the
wealth and influence of our leading organs. Finally with Cobbett,
soldier, agitator and editor of the _Weekly Political Register_
(1802-35) we come to the end of the predominantly personal note in
English journalism, which started with Defoe. In many respects Cobbett
strongly resembled the father of English journalism especially in his
directness, ruggedness and fertility. But he was quite incapable of
reaching the immortal heights, which Defoe touched more than once.
Though he was too independent to stoop to deceit, he was capable of
changing sides quite honestly, an inconsistency of which in his heart
Defoe never was guilty.

From henceforward we begin to deal not with journalists, even if they
were editors, but with influential papers established as impregnable
properties, independent of government, of their own brilliant literary
staff and sometimes, though rarely, of public opinion. This change
was brought about by a succession of three able and tenacious men in
one family and raised by the long service and controlling genius of a
fourth to a degree, which has made it for ever the model of English
journalism and to some extent of the press of the world. The history of
the _Times_ for half a century has become the history of the English
press and the duration of its greatest power coincides with the most
flourishing period in our journalism. That is why we may save ourselves
time and space by taking the course of its development in some detail,
leaving room only for the most recent history of other journals, which
have more or less followed its example.

The _Times_ was founded in 1785 by John Walter but received its
present name only three years later. Its early course represented the
general discontent of the middle-classes, which were the democracy of
those times, with the _régime_ of repression and financial sacrifices
enforced by Pitt, as the leader of the dominant aristocracy. For his
enmity to government and fearless exposure of high-placed misconduct
Walter suffered more than once in fine and imprisonment and only just
escaped sharing Defoe’s exaltation to the pillory. His counter-weapons
were however far more effective. He first understood the overwhelming
importance and popularity of early news. Refused the use of the post
for his foreign news packets he made himself independent of it and
beat the government again and again. He published the news of the
capture of Flushing twenty-four hours before the government received
their despatches. His attacks brought to ruin Lord Melville, Pitt’s
intimate friend. He had the temerity to send to the Peninsula Henry
Crabb Robinson, the first of all war correspondents and his paper was
the first to announce the battle of Waterloo.

Such men are more powerful than governments and though the elder John
Walter had relinquished part of his control in 1803 and had died in
1812, he lived long enough to hand over to the second John Walter
privileges and responsibilities which were primarily of his own
creation. The son was worthy of them and under him the _Times_ rose to
the assured position earned by his father’s fierce energy and his own
discreet judgment. John Walter, the son, found himself in comparatively
quiet times. He devoted himself to the problems of business management
and succeeded in 1814 in being the first printer to make use of
steam. It is not often that a paper is so well served by one man, as
to be kept more than abreast of all rivals as well in mechanical as
in editorial excellence. It took many years to place it well ahead.
Circulations in those days were not what they are now, and the _Times_
was not then the only expensive paper in London. But 10,000 a day was
not bad for 1834 and four years after John Walter’s death in 1847 it
was 40,000 and at the outbreak of the Crimean war the circulation rose
to 51,000. Compare this with the circulations of other London papers of
the time, ranging from 7,644 down to 2,667. There is no doubt about the
figures because at that time every copy had to be stamped.

It was under John Walter, the son’s, rule, that the editorial duties
expanded to an extent, which divorced them naturally from the
proprietorship. The editor of the _Times_ became something in himself.
Sir John Stoddart (1810) and Thomas Barnes (1816) at first held this
position but there was another power beneath them, hidden at the time,
but better known now. Edward Stirling, it was, who as a leader-writer
earned for his paper an imperishable nickname by the quaint assurance
with which he once wrote: “We thundered out the other day an article on
political reform--” Stirling, like the others, was the second Walter’s
appointment and one of the many Irishmen, who have successfully carried
their heads high in this growing profession. A greater Irishman still
was J. T. Delane (1841), the most successful selection, as editor, ever
made by a newspaper proprietor. There will be more to say about him
later on.

John Walter, the grandson, took over his father’s power in 1847 just
before the period of the greatest influence and almost the greatest
prosperity of the _Times_. This was so much personally the work of
Delane with the loyal support of his proprietor and the brilliant
achievements of his famous subordinate Russell, that it will have to
be dealt with more particularly in an account of the relations of
these two men. So great was the success of the _Times_ in restoring
by its sole influence the efficiency of the army in the Crimea and in
destroying the ministry responsible for the early failures in that war
that for many years it rode unrivalled and without question on the top
of the wave of power. Delane was succeeded as editor by his former
correspondent in Constantinople, Chenery (1877) and Chenery again
by Mr. Buckle (1884) and the latter in 1912 by Mr. G. G. Robinson.
During all this period the high standard of literary excellence and
editorial independence of the _Times_ has been unfailingly kept up.
The proprietorship passed into the hands of A. F. Walter in 1891 and
recently to a company, in which the head of the house of Harmsworth has
the chief interest.

Meanwhile modern forces had been at work undermining the commercial
monopoly of the _Times_. The inordinate cost of things had originally
been in favour of that organization, which first succeeded in forging
ahead of its rivals. The tax on each newspaper originally 4d. in 1815
fell to a penny, and was abolished in 1855. The taxes on advertising
were so high that in 1830 the _Times_ paid the sum of £70,000 on this
account, at a time when the total receipts from this tax amounted to
no more than £170,000.[9] The paper duty was abolished in 1861 in the
United Kingdom but this by itself, although important at the time, has
had less effect on the relative position of English newspapers than
the enormous cheapening of paper from the extension of the kinds of
material, of which it can be made. Paper which cost 10d. or 11d. a
pound in America during the ’sixties costs now only about one-tenth of
that price. Consequently the door has been opened for cheap competition
in all directions.

    [9] They were reduced in 1833 and abolished in 1853.

The prestige of the _Times_ stands very high, but it had one shattering
experience, the effects of which were far-reaching. The manager in
1886 accepted, as authentic, forged letters, purporting to come from
Charles Parnell, and published them. The result was a trial of intense
political excitement lasting 128 days and terminating dramatically
by the flight and suicide of the forger, Charles Pigott and the
utter discomfiture of the paper. Mr. T. H. S. Escott, a contemporary
journalist of those days, remarks that “ten minutes’ reflection and the
slightest practical use of table talk, that would long ago have reached
Printing House Square, would have prevented the imposition’s success.
C. S. Parnell never wrote a line except under compulsion. It was simply
inconceivable that he should have troubled to disguise his caligraphy
in the laborious production of folios representing the work of many
days.” He compares the mistake made on this occasion with the trouble
taken by Delane on receipt of Blowitz’s secret news of the threat made
by Germany to reopen the war with France in 1875. Before publishing
this news--after a fortnight’s research Delane had sent his best man,
Chenery, to Paris and had made every personal enquiry about the truth
of it himself.

It is impossible to extend this brief account by a recital of many
other triumphs of the leading British paper. Its supreme position was
gained for it by the fortunate conjunction of talents and character
of four able men, but looking at its whole career philosophically
it is hard to deny that the true creator of this splendid property
and source of political power was the old John Walter, who had the
courage to fight Pitt and the English aristocracy at a time, when they
appeared to be irresistible. It must be remembered that he led the
middle-classes against the government in the days when no effective
power remained in any institution outside the ruling classes except
the press. At that period the wealthy bourgeoisie possessed too few
votes to make its real power felt and if they had been less ably and
forcibly represented they might ultimately have joined the forces
of revolution. But Walter was not a demagogue like Cobbett. He was
something of a statesman, while being wholly a journalist. He fought
the government with his strongest weapons and beat them whenever they
came upon his own ground. His successors filled in very ably and with
expert professional skill and cool judgment the gigantic outline, which
he left behind him, of a power able to control governments.

The year which imported the first great change in English journalism
was 1855, when the stamp duty was finally removed. The first to take
advantage of it and to challenge the sole control of middle-class
sentiments and pockets was the _Daily Telegraph_. This paper, founded
in 1855, was bought in that very year by a commercial genius, Joseph
Moses Levy, who at once enlarged its size and brought its price down to
a penny, which was the conquering touch. The property has been handled
with cool judgment and the paper has held ever since the first place
in the hearts and tastes of the lower middle-class. At one time it
had the largest circulation in the world and it is still ahead of all
penny rivals both in circulation and advertising revenue. The keynote
of its management has always been a judicious conservatism, which
knew the right moment to take a forward step but never took any that
were unnecessary. It is still in the hands of the same family, whose
representative is Lord Burnham. The editor is Mr. J. M. Lesage.

Another paper which came gradually forward about the same time in
some rivalry with the _Times_ was the _Standard_. Founded in 1827 it
came into line with the progressive press by being reduced to a penny
in 1858. In politics it represented the clergy and landed gentry and
aspired to greater power of literary expression than any daily morning
paper except the _Times_. One of its claims to distinction was the fact
that the late Marquis of Salisbury, most brilliant of free-lances,
wrote freely for it in his earlier days. Owned at one time by Captain
Johnston, it was left by him in the charge of a very able journalist
and manager, who brought it to great heights of prosperity during the
Disraelian period of power. When Mudford relinquished control at the
end of the century it began a decline, which has taken it through
several proprietorships.

A rival to the _Times_ on another side was the _Morning Post_, whose
history divides itself easily into two halves. Founded in 1772 its
early days were tinged with great literary distinction. At the turn
of the century it had frequent contributions from Coleridge, Southey,
Arthur Young and brought out some of Wordsworth’s greatest sonnets.
Mackworth Praed was later a regular contributor. But in accordance with
a well-known commercial law that with too much brilliancy there is too
little money it passed ultimately to a paper-maker named Crompton in
satisfaction of a bad debt. Crompton made a good choice of an editor in
Peter Borthwick but it was Borthwick’s son, Algernon, who ultimately
raised the paper to great prosperity after having bought it on his own
account at a time, when it was still a somewhat speculative venture.

The _Morning Post_ through many vicissitudes had always preserved its
extremely aristocratic and fashionable connections, to which Borthwick
added tactful management, an eager desire for good and early news and a
prudent distrust of mere ability. Five years after his purchase of the
paper he had the courage to reduce the price to a penny in 1881, and in
a few years reaped so assured a reward that he was able to improve his
paper without damaging his property. At the present time it maintains a
high standard of intellectual ability in many departments and contains
more features of merit than any paper in its own rank. Borthwick became
Lord Glenesk and the paper is still in the possession of his family.
The editor is Mr. Gwynne and one of the noted men on its staff is Mr.
Spenser Wilkinson, Professor of Military History at Oxford.

There have come down to us from the great days of the penny press
two daily morning papers, whom the stress of competition has driven
into the more popular ranks, yet which fortunately preserve several
of their most valuable characteristics, as an inheritance of ancient
days. The _Daily Chronicle_ and _Daily News_ together in 1904, took
the final plunge to a halfpenny price, which will probably remain the
ultimate minimum, unless we invent something equivalent to the three
centimes price of one paper in Milan. The _Daily Chronicle_ was the
latest arrival among London daily morning papers, as it emerged from
the _Clerkenwell News_ in 1877 and for many years had a peculiarly
strong local hold on London. It represented at one time a milder form
of Liberalism, but just before the Boer war it surged up on a wave
of aggressive independence of traditional views. The editor at that
time, a brilliant journalist, Mr. H. W. Massingham, courageously held
opinions about an editor’s rights, which would in effect have made
newspaper proprietors rather more like mere annuitants, than some of
them cared to be. The assertion of his views by resigning his position
came at a moment when commercialism was not losing its hold on the
press and his paper came under a more moderate _régime_ during the
early stages of the war. After it became a halfpenny paper the _Daily
Chronicle_ adopted more popular features, shortening its articles and
increasing its headlines. But it has passed through its change very
reticently and this feature of considered progressiveness is carefully
preserved by the present editor, Mr. Robert Donald. It is the private
property of the Lloyd family.

The change in the _Daily News_ had much the same material effect on
its outward appearance. But the inward transformation was reversed.
Mr. (now Sir Edward) Cook in 1900 had taken an imperialist line about
the outbreak of the war, while the Cadbury family, who had acquired
the paper, took the opposite view. The effect was the same as with
the _Daily Chronicle_. The _Daily News_ now represents with much
ability the views of the left wing of the Liberal party, not at all
Socialist and quite distinct from the Labour Press. Its policy is
highly sentimental and inclined to a disinterested humanitarianism,
which opposes narrow national views. It somehow fails to exclude this
tinge of feeling from its presentation of news, particularly in foreign
affairs, and some people hold this to be a serious journalistic fault.

The _Daily News_ is a paper with a great past in spite of an
unfortunate beginning. It was started by Charles Dickens at the height
of his fame with some money from his hosts of friends and the more
weighty confidence of his publishers. As has happened since on Bouverie
Street account all the salaries in Fleet Street were raised. The story
has been told more than once and a contemporary professional view of
it was given by Russell of the _Times_. “The 21st of January, 1846,
came at last and there was a wild rush for the first number. At the
sight of the outer sheet, hope at once lighted up the gloom of Printing
House Square, the Strand and Shoe Lane. I am not sure that there were
not social rejoicings that night in the editorial chambers, which had
been so long beset by dread. Dickens had gathered round him newspaper
celebrities, critics in art, music and literature, correspondents,
politicians, statists. Yea, even the miscalled penny-a-liner was there.
But Dickens was not a good editor; he was the best reporter in London
and as a journalist he was nothing more. He had no political instincts
or knowledge and was ignorant of and indifferent to what are called
Foreign Affairs; indeed he told me himself that he never thought about
them till the Revolution of 1848. He had appointed as manager his
father, whom he is said to have immortalized as Micawber....” Forster,
who had been Dickens’ chief backer, took up the burden after three
months for another three months himself but it was Eyre Crowe, as
editor, and Charles Wentworth Dilke, as manager, who pulled the venture
round into smoother waters. Their great success was made in handling
the revolutions of 1848 and the complicated European disturbances
which followed. Similarly it was the success of Sir John Robinson in
dealing with the Franco-German war and the brilliant successes of
Archibald Forbes, which brought the _Daily News_ once more into the
front rank of papers. The present editor is Mr. A. G. Gardiner.

In the history of English newspapers the most astonishing sky-rocket
came with the advent of the _Daily Mail_ in 1896. Its immediate and
phenomenal success was one of those things, which can be explained
afterwards, but was little expected at the time. It was the final
result of a movement of great vitality in the press, which up to that
time had remained unnoticed. What that movement was we shall see, when
we come to discuss the various forms taken by our weekly press and
the remarkable revolution, which started in the provinces and bore
such astonishing fruit in London. The _Daily Mail_ had just time to
make an assured success in London and Manchester before the outbreak
of the African war, an event, which has had the effect of making a
fresh dichotomy in our politics and in all that depends primarily
on politics including newspapers and to some extent society. It led
to a new division between the sheep and the goats with a vehement
acceleration in the old-time controversy, as to which was which. In
that rearrangement of ideas all our newspapers bore their part but
to the scientific management of all the arts of improved combustion
of feelings and sentiments the _Daily Mail_ added an energy which
carried all before it. The use of the pens of Rudyard Kipling and of
an exceedingly able special writer, the late G. W. Steevens, lent
a striking advertisement to the popular passion but did not really
create it. The years 1899 and 1900 offered an opening to a newcomer
in journalism, which is not likely to be repeated. Here was a nation
which had been talking about war for forty-five years without seriously
experiencing it. Here was a journalism, not inefficient and not
unobservant of new tendencies, but inclined to believe that dignity was
profitable and that every wise man would look round twice before taking
any serious step. The result to those, who had the privilege of taking
advantage of it, was a commercial success at least equivalent to that
of old John Walter, a century before, more easily realized and with
possibly less far-reaching consequences. The editor is Mr. Marlowe and
the property with several other papers is substantially in the hands of
Lord Northcliffe and his associates.

With a brief reference to the _Daily Express_, the _Daily Mail’s_
strong popular rival on its own side in politics, to the financial
papers such as the _Financial Times_, and the latest addition to
London dailies, the _Financier_ and _Bullionist_, founded in 1870 and
London’s chief sporting daily, the _Sportsman_, owned by the Ashley
family, we must pass on to the evening papers of the Metropolis. At
one time London was very considerably behind the provinces in the
development of its popular evening papers largely owing to the great
cost of distribution and also because Londoners had always been more
addicted to the morning paper habit. But of late the _Evening News_
and the _Star_ have placed themselves in the front rank of successful
commercial exploitation. But they can hardly be said to exercise any
serious influence on opinion. This function is exercised however to a
very considerable degree by the penny evening papers, who secure the
attention of the commercial and professional classes on their way home
to dinner and often exercise an influence equal to that of the most
powerful morning daily. They are able also to use effectually all the
material and comment supplied by the morning press.

Of the four London penny evening papers the oldest is the _Globe_
(1803). In its young days it was Liberal and preponderantly literary.
It sheltered both Thomas Love Peacock and “Ingoldsby” Barham. At the
present day in common with the _Evening Standard_, once the _St.
James’s Gazette_ (1880), it more or less repeats the function of a
morning paper, as being chiefly devoted to news, with comment, as
a subordinate feature. The _Pall Mall Gazette_ is the spoilt child
of journalism. Founded in 1865 under the editorship of Frederick
Greenwood, it sprang at once to the position of being the darling
favourite of intellectual London, which it has never entirely lost in
spite of alternate periods of hideous sensationalism and considered
dulness, in spite of a complete reversal of politics and of every
imaginable transformation of “make-up” and journalistic devices. In
its early years it had a ring of noted contributors, such as George
Eliot, Charles Reade, Sir James Stephen, R. H. Hutton, James Hannay,
Anthony Trollope and Tom Hughes. Through the brother of the editor,
James Greenwood, and his adventures as an “Amateur Casual” it first
introduced to London the sensational realism, which was afterwards
carried by a later editor, W. T. Stead, to intolerable lengths. Besides
Stead, Lord Morley and Sir Edward Cook have been editors and Lord
Milner was once a member of its staff. It is now the property of Mr.
W. W. Astor and is edited by one of the most influential journalists
in London, Mr. Garvin. It is safe to say that no Conservative morning
paper wields more power in the councils of the party than the _Pall
Mall Gazette_.

In this respect it meets a worthy rival on the Liberal side in the
_Westminster Gazette_. Founded by Sir Edward Cook and the late Sir
George Newnes as an offshoot of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ in 1892, in
consequence of the staff of the latter having to go into the street,
because they could not manage a change of opinions with a change of
proprietorship, it has always held a very remarkable position in its
own party. It is the only penny daily paper in London, which supports
the Liberal party and government. Its editor, Mr. J. A. Spender, has
thus had a greatness thrust upon him, which few could consistently
maintain. What his paper has to say every day on current politics
receives an attention from the leader writers in provincial papers
of the next morning, the extent of which they might be reluctant
to acknowledge. The _Westminster Gazette_ may be classed decidedly
amongst those important things, which we are accustomed to call an
“Institution.” For so young a paper its success has been phenomenal
and one of the deep-rooted causes of its power is due to the fact,
that it is probably the only paper in the capital on the Liberal side
in politics, which is habitually read by an influential section of its

Curiously enough the Labour press in the United Kingdom is still in its
infancy, which is less than one would expect in a country, where Trade
Unionism has been so strong. Hitherto it has been confined to one or
two weeklies, such as the _Clarion_, founded by Mr. Robert Blatchford,
a writer of unusual talent, the _Labour Leader_ and others. But within
the last year London has its Labour morning daily, the _Daily Herald_
and the _Daily Citizen_ is shortly to appear in Manchester.

When we come to consider the weekly and monthly periodicals of the
metropolis the number and variety of them is staggering. It is possible
to deal with them only in groups and mention expressly a few, which
must be taken to be not necessarily the most important ones but
those which are perhaps the best representatives of their class. In
dealing with illustrated journalism we have not yet altogether done
with the dailies, as London has three daily illustrated papers, the
_Daily Graphic_, a penny paper and two halfpenny papers the _Daily
Mirror_ and _Daily Sketch_. The rise of the last two to sensational
circulations is probably the most striking new feature in newspaperdom
since the meteoric success of the _Daily Mail_. The _Daily Mirror_
was accidentally a pioneer in this direction because it was actually
founded by the Harmsworth group with the intention of being a ladies’
daily paper and as such it was an absolute failure. But the publishers
with a commercial acumen that was almost uncanny swerved in their
design at once, dropped all the feminine part of it and continued
it as a picture newspaper of the simplest kind with results in a
bounding circulation, which is far from having reached its limit. This
phenomenon is intimately connected with the popular success of the
cinematograph theatres and points to a trait in the public of to-day,
which will probably go far before it is exhausted. It is due to the
intense modern desire to see things and judge them, each for oneself.
Written matter, views, opinions and criticisms are not desired by the
masses. There is a very marked desire for information but solely of
a positive kind. Men are inclined to shun guidance or leadership and
intensely desirous of forming first-hand judgments about everything.

Of weekly illustrated papers London has quite a number. There are
the pioneers of this class, the _Illustrated London News_, founded by
Herbert Ingram in 1842, the _Graphic_ (1869), the _Sketch_ (1892),
the _Sphere_ (1901), the _Tatler_, all three founded by Mr. Clement
Shorter, and _Country Life_. Of these the latter is the most original
in character, being concerned with the pursuits, sports and residences
of the country gentry. By throwing open to the middle-classes of the
towns all the inner history of the life and manners of a secluded class
it has achieved a remarkable success. The illustrated press in England
has reached a very considerable standard of technical excellence in
reproduction and shows great ingenuity in obtaining pictures and
photographs; but it has never succeeded in obtaining reading matter
to hold its own against the pictures. At one time it was markedly
ahead of foreign effort in the same sphere, when there was little else
abroad but _L’Illustration_, _Ueber Land und Meer_, and _Harper’s_
and _Collier’s Weeklies_. This is hardly true at the present moment;
the French and German illustrations now surpass ours in technical
excellence and for reading matter the Philadelphia _Saturday Evening
Post_ is unexcelled. The circulation of the latter is probably four or
five times as great as all the English illustrated weeklies combined.

Some of the reproaches to which the British daily press is perhaps
open, for instance, with regard to the meagre amount of space
devoted to matters of purely scientific or intellectual interest,
as compared with the German press, or as to the somewhat easy-going
critical standards which prevail in their treatment of literary and
artistic questions, may be redeemed by urging the merits, variety
and influence of our important and serious weekly periodicals.
No country in the world has such a diversity in this respect nor
maintains so consistently a high standard. Whereas a German requires
his most serious interests to be taken care of in his daily paper, an
Englishman is more indulgent because he knows that his hobbies and
specialities can be properly nourished by a suitable weekly paper, of
which we have all kinds. In finance and banking we have the _Statist_
(1878); for general economic questions and the review of investments
the _Economist_ (1843). In the special British interests in sports,
games and country pursuits generally we have that quite unique organ
the _Field_, founded in 1853. This project was originally started by
Webster, an actor, but not carried by him to any degree of success. It
came into the hands of Mr. Sergeant Cox, who besides being a leading
lawyer, was something of a publishing genius, for he not only carried
the _Field_ to success, but also established prosperously the _Queen_,
the chief ladies’ paper and the _Bazaar_, as well. The _Field_ ranks
as an authority in international sport and has a following far outside
this country. Its present editor is Mr. T. A. Cook.

In the realm of general culture and literary criticism the British
“heavy weeklies” deservedly stand very high. But it is in accordance
with the serious nature of the English and Scotch genius that literary
questions are dealt with not by themselves alone but are tinged with
either a political or religious spirit, thus dividing their readers
into watertight compartments. The first of these in point of dignity
is the _Athenæum_, founded in 1828, with which are associated the
well-known names of the elder Dilke, Hepworth Dixon, Norman Maccoll,
and Mr. J. C. Francis. Of higher literary quality may be ranked the
_Times Literary Supplement_, which although nominally a part of the
_Times_ is practically an independent weekly under the charge of Mr.
B. L. Richmond. As _Literature_ under the hands of H. D. Traill it
attained at once a very high standard, which has been steadily raised
without any falling away. The reviews in its columns have the widest
range of interest and learning and they are surpassed in serious
excellence by no other journal in the world.

A very famous name revived appears in the _Spectator_ which was founded
in 1828 by a group of Radicals round Joseph Hume. Its great days of
literary and political influence date from the combined control of the
paper by R. H. Hutton and Meredith Townsend. At the present moment it
is probably more widely known outside the bounds of the kingdom than
any other of our weeklies. Under the editorship of Mr. J. St. Loe
Strachey it combines moderate Conservative views with a strong support
of Free Trade. Another famous but more modern name is the _Saturday
Review_, a paper which at one time employed more brilliant pens than
were ever elsewhere united in one cause in England. In its golden days
it was served together by the late Marquis of Salisbury, Sir Henry
Maine, Goldwin Smith, Sir William Harcourt and Mr. Walter Pollock.
It has always supported an extreme Conservatism. A newer review of
the same type but even more pronouncedly political than either of
the others is the _Nation_, which was founded by Mr. Massingham in
1907 to fill a gap made in Liberal journalism by the termination of
the _Speaker_, whose place it assumed. It is conducted with intense
seriousness and great ability and in spite of the fact that its
intentions are mainly social and political, the literary standard
maintained is very high. It would be impossible to omit the insertion
here of one excellent little literary weekly, which circulates widely
at the price of one penny, _T.P.’s Weekly_. Humble as it appears by
the side of its sixpenny contemporaries it yet probably does as much
to keep up a genuine and popular taste for literature as the best of
them. The editor, Mr. T. P. O’Connor is one of the most experienced and
versatile journalists in the kingdom.

Closely allied to the literary and political reviews are the religious
papers, which are of all prices and connections but resemble one
another in this, that, after pursuing their primary object of
representing a section of religious thought, they are to a considerable
extent also literary reviews. The paper, which is most obviously the
connecting link between the two classes is the _British Weekly_.
Comparatively a late comer into the field and originally founded to
lend its support to Nonconformity in general, yet the extraordinarily
wide and well equipped mind of its editor, Sir Robertson Nicoll, has
elevated it almost to the status of a literary magazine. Coming to
more specifically religious papers we have first of all the _Guardian_
(1846), the official representative of Anglican views and interests.
Its former editor (1878-81) Mr. D. C. Lathbury raised it up to be a
power in the country, which has been continued by the Rev. Walter
Hobhouse to the present time. Since 1905 it has been a penny paper. The
High Church party is represented by the _Church Times_ (1863) and the
Evangelical fringe, which runs into Nonconformity, by the _Christian
World_ (1857) founded by James Clarke, whose son, Mr. Herbert Clarke
is the present editor. This is largely an independent journal, whose
readers are drawn to a great extent from those both inside and outside
of the Church. The _Christian_ (1870) is still further advanced in
the Low Church direction, as its old name, the _Revival_ testifies.
Liberal views in religious matters are supported by the _Christian
Commonwealth_, whose present editor, Mr. Albert Dawson had been
secretary to Dr. Joseph Parker. It has come to a great extent under
the influence of the Rev. R. J. Campbell. The Roman Church in Great
Britain has a very important organ, _The Tablet_ (1840), which, when
it was founded by Frederick Lucas was to some extent independent and
rather advanced in thought for those times. Since 1868 it has become
official by passing into the hands of Cardinal Vaughan and it is now
controlled by Cardinal Bourne. Its present editor is Mr. J. Snead-Cox
and well-known contributors are Mr. Wilfrid Ward, Monsignor Benson,
Mr. W. S. Lilly, Mr. Hilaire Belloc, Alice Meynell, and Katharine
Tynan. The _Jewish Chronicle_ (1841) fulfils an obvious mission. It
attracts attention, as a periodical, by the singular feature of adding
to the time-honoured classification of Births, Marriages and Deaths,
also Betrothals, Forthcoming Marriages and In Memoriam notices, the
distinction between numbers four and five in the series being original.
The articles, while written in a religious spirit, cover a wide ground
of interest and exhibit no narrow prejudices. The editor is Mr. Israel
Davis. The most singular of the religious papers comes last, the _War
Cry_, which circulates to the extent of about 300,000 weekly among
members of the Salvation Army at home and about the same number in
twenty-four foreign editions abroad. As it accepts no advertisements,
it has to depend entirely on sales for its revenue.

The professional and technical press of Great Britain is too
complicated and extensive for any one mind to grasp. It includes
a myriad of small papers catering for little pockets of trade and
others which in their own sphere have all the authority of the _Times_
itself. They obtain support from an amount of advertising very much
larger in proportion to their text than the ordinary dailies or
general weeklies so that they sometimes constitute properties of great
value. To begin with the medical profession the earliest surviving
paper devoted to this subject is the _Lancet_ (1823) whose story
merits a little digression. Its founder was Dr. Thomas Wakley, a man
of unusual character and resolution, who in the ordinary course of
events would probably have lived an uneventful and successful life as
a general practitioner. But he was brought painfully in touch with
public events in a sufficiently odd way to justify repetition. He was
still a young man at the time of the Cato Street conspiracy for which
Arthur Thistlewood was condemned and hanged. Now the executioner of
Thistlewood conceived the dramatic idea of cutting off his head and
holding it up to the public saying, “This is the head of a traitor.”
This incident had a singular reaction on Wakley. He was then a doctor
attending at St. Thomas’s Hospital and for some unknown reason a
popular rumour, which spread among the roughs with whom Thistlewood
was a hero, attributed this decapitation to a St. Thomas’s doctor,
quite unjustly. At any rate Dr. Wakley was set upon one night and badly
treated by some unknown scoundrels, his house was burned down and his
practice was ruined. Not only that, but his story of his wrongs was
hardly believed and he had to undertake a difficult lawsuit in order
to recover his insurance money. Wakley was greatly distressed and
angered at his misfortune and owing to his friendship with Cobbett
and other journalists turned his mind to the press and he planned and
founded the _Lancet_. This has come through to very substantial success
after a singularly stormy start in life. In one year he had to stand
eighteen libel actions but he won them all. As an illustration of the
way journalism was looked upon in those early days we may quote from a
report of one of Sir Astley Cooper’s lectures in which he specifically
referred to the _Lancet_ and stated that though he could not prevent
the report of his lectures he had succeeded in inducing the editor to
keep his name out of the paper, for, he said, “I felt myself disgraced
and degraded by my name forever appearing in the press.” There are
not many men, who would echo those sentiments now. The editor of the
_Lancet_ is Dr. Squire Sprigge, who has written Wakley’s life.

Another later rival in the same field is the _British Medical Journal_,
the official organ of the British Medical Association, a body founded
as far back as 1832 under the name of the Provincial and Surgical
Association by Sir Charles Hastings. In 1856 the Association took its
present title and issued its journal as a regular medical organ. The
connection with its parent organization lends considerable weight to
its opinions and adds to its technical excellence but may to some
extent limit its independence in discussing questions affecting merely
the interests of the profession.

The legal profession is not calculated to support a press of its own
as advertising is not encouraged and there is no general trade or
commerce attached to it. For the reports of cases they depend on the
efficient rendering of the _Times Law Reports_ and for special legal
points on the _Solicitor’s Journal_. The engineering profession is so
closely allied with one of the most powerful and wealthy industries of
the country, that it supports a number of wealthy papers. Of these the
oldest is now the _Engineer_ founded in 1856 by Edward Charles Healey
and still in the hands of the same family. The present editor is Mr.
L. Pendred. _Engineering_ was founded ten years later and it is edited
in conjunction by Messrs. Maw and Raworth. The two earliest electrical
papers are the _Electrical Review_ (1872) and the _Electrician_ (1878).
Besides these are many others both weekly and monthly of which perhaps
the most remarkable is a workman’s paper, the _Mechanical World_
published at 1d. in Manchester. Allied to these and overlapping the
engineering trade are the _Iron and Coal Trades Review_, the _Hardware
Journal_ and the _Ironmonger_, the chief journal of the metal trades.
The latter was founded in 1859 by the old family firm of Morgan Bros.,
who are proprietors also of the _Chemist and Druggist_, the _Grocer_
and other papers. The present editor is Mr. A. C. Maygis. Perhaps the
oldest of all technical journals is the _Mining Journal_, founded
in 1835. Another old established property dealing with an entirely
different line is the _Gardener’s Chronicle_ (1841) founded by, among
others, Sir Joseph Paxton, Dilke and the printer of _Punch_, Bradbury.
The first editor was Dr. Lindley and famous contributors have been
besides Paxton, Sir Joseph and Sir William Hooker, Berkeley, Sir
Thistleton Dyer and Thomas Moore, the curator of the Chelsea physic
garden. A new arrival among trade papers, but a very wealthy one, is
the _Draper’s Record_. This property had an early precarious existence
until it came into the hands of the late D. G. Macrae, who is said to
have given it so many weeks to get to the stage of making a profit,
which it did in the very last week allowed to it. Its income now runs
into five figures.

With regard to our one established humorous journal _Punch_, founded
in the same year, 1841, as the _Gardener’s Chronicle_ and by the same
printer, it is as impossible to say anything new about it as to leave
it out. Famous men without number have written and drawn for it, of
whom I may mention, Mark Lemon, Douglas Jerrold, John Leech, Sir John
Tenniel, Charles Keene and Du Maurier. The present editor, Mr. Owen
Seaman, is a supreme master of polished and pointed verse.

After this brief and inadequate account of the technical press we must
turn a moment’s attention to the general weeklies of London, which
have the largest circulations in the world and represent the really
popular tastes of the clerk, the artisan and the growing boy. Their
history is peculiarly interesting because it includes the origin of the
most vital and astonishing revolution that our press, at any rate,
has ever seen. But before I come to describe this revolution we must
notice first the three or four metropolitan weeklies, which supply
the news, mostly of criminal or sporting matters, to the seven and a
half millions, who live in and around London. The oldest is _Lloyd’s
Weekly News_, established in 1842, which has reached a circulation of
one and a quarter millions in round figures. The _News of the World_
(1843) was at first a family paper published at threepence with a
large circulation for those times, which fell away under old-fashioned
management almost to nothing. But it came into the hands of two able
business men, the proprietors of the _Cardiff Mail_, the late Lascelles
Carr and Sir George Riddell, who modernized it, not without some loss
of sedateness, and raised its circulation to two and a quarter millions
a week, in all probability the largest in the world. _Reynold’s Weekly
News_ (1852), an extremely Radical popular organ and the _People_,
allied with the _Globe_, each have a large following. Finally the
_Sunday Chronicle_ of Manchester is the best representative of some
very widely circulated papers in the provinces with issues running up
to a million in many cases.

The revolution in the English press, which has extended to every corner
of journalism, except the “heavy weeklies,” originally started in
the provinces and spread to London with three rather insignificant
gossipy and anecdotic penny weeklies. But the causes of the movement
were very far-reaching and may be said to have had their true origin in
Forster’s Education Act of 1870. This measure brought into existence
as new readers an enormous number of immature minds ready for the
simplest information and oldest stories, as yet quite unsophisticated
and disinclined to raffishness or vice. The older newspaper proprietors
utterly failed to see the growth of these new and potential readers and
made no effort to meet their needs. In fact one may say that it was
almost impossible for journalists of the old school for the first time
to cater for the untrained ineptitude of people who were equipped with
mobilized wits and eager minds. The task was undertaken by entirely new

The pioneer of this movement was the late Sir George Newnes, who made
the fortunate venture of starting _Tit-Bits_ in Manchester in 1880.
The name exactly describes the paper. The next in order was _Answers_,
started in 1888 by the two young brothers Harmsworth, one of whom is
now a peer and the other a knight. This paper was originally intended
to contain answers to correspondents but, as no one corresponded, the
paper had to become something else, so it became a fair imitation
of _Tit-Bits_. The third _Pearson’s Weekly_, was begun by C. Arthur
Pearson, who was for some time Newnes’s manager in London.

If the movement had stopped there, it would not have had an important
influence on the British press. But these pioneers were all men of
exceptional ability, activity and insight. Their rapid success gave
them command of great sums of money and the power of obtaining more
of it from the public. They had moreover an inside view of the public
mind, which enabled them to see, not only what the public mind required
at the moment but what it was likely to want next year. Because it must
be borne in mind that the newly-invented public of the Education Act,
which was satisfied with _Tit-Bits_ in the eighties wanted something
more in the next decade and a further advance in the new century. So
the houses of Newnes, Pearson and Harmsworth became great publishing
firms bringing out new periodicals, books and ultimately daily papers
in great profusion. All three firms came to considerable fortune and
left their mark on the daily press. Newnes established successfully
the _Westminster Gazette_, Mr. Pearson the _Daily Express_ and the
Harmsworths the _Daily Mail_. The latter house has obtained the most
striking and comprehensive success. Their enterprises have divided
themselves into two groups. One, the original proprietors of _Answers_
consisting of Lord Northcliffe and his brother Sir Harold Harmsworth,
has produced a series of successful but trivial papers and has overlaid
on that a popular educational publishing system on a grand scale, which
is of much greater benefit to the public than is usually recognized.
Their second venture in conjunction with Mr. Kennedy Jones embraces the
_Evening News_, the _Daily Mail_, the _Daily Mirror_ and other papers.
This energetic, self-assertive and ever-increasing popular press
excites in many old-fashioned readers something akin to a disgust,
that is quite needless. These good folk should recognize that what is
suited to a million readers can hardly cater also for the tastes of a
restricted cultivated class. If the great American circulation-monger
Hearst comes over to England, as rumours repeatedly assert, it will be
apparent at once how much better the _Daily Mail_ is, than it need be.

Perhaps the only branch of the weekly press, which has not yet found a
niche in our Valhalla, is the group of ladies’ papers. The _doyenne_
of these is certainly the _Queen_, started by Serjeant Cox and more
or less followed in style by the others, which devote approximately
the same proportion of space to illustrations of fashions and brides
and titled hostesses. As they are mainly high-priced, well-printed
journals appealing only to wealthy readers, they are doomed to a
fatal mediocrity and give a male reader, who should imagine that
women read nothing else, a painful impression of their intellectual
status. Happily there is no reason to suppose that this is the case.
Besides the _Queen_, we have the _Lady’s Pictorial_ (1880); the _Lady_
(1885); _Woman_ (1889); the _Gentlewoman_ (1890); and the _Ladies’
Field_ (1898). On the other hand lady journalists, writing for papers
of all kinds including the leading dailies, have already made a very
considerable mark on our press. In some respects they have shown a
greater aptitude for this calling than men, but they are not able to
get about the country to all kinds of places so well as men and they
cannot be expected nor even asked to endure the manifold hardships
often required from reporters and correspondents.



One of the important facts about the home country that a Londoner can
never get to understand is that there exist throughout Great Britain
and Ireland, prosperous, successful and wealthy dailies, which in many
respects are equal to and in some even superior to the great organs of
the London press. Especially in the political influence they exert,
they have the advantage over their metropolitan contemporaries, because
there is so much give and take in the whole London press that both
sides of a question are heard by most people, even if not generally
accepted. In the provinces on the other hand, while there used to be as
a rule two important dailies in every large town representing each side
in politics, there has been a tendency in each centre to concentrate
business on one of these dailies to the loss and perhaps extinction
of the other. There has resulted therefore a considerable weeding
out of provincial dailies and generally in each district there is one
presiding genius of journalism, which wields an immense sway in local
politics and has very considerable influence even in national affairs.

For instance the power of the _Scotsman_ about any matter affecting
Edinburgh would be considerably more effective than even that of the
_Times_ in any question which was of importance in London. And not only
in civic matters does the _Scotsman_ hold sway but owing to its unique
position in the capital without a rival and the provident business
talent which gave it an extensive circulation throughout all Scotland,
it has come to be the national newspaper of the country. Founded in
1817 it led only a precarious existence under the _régime_ of a 3s.
6d. tax on advertisements, the penny stamp on the paper and the paper
duty. But when these were gradually reduced and removed the paper began
to forge ahead. But the predominant position which it now holds in
Scotland was due to the combined talents of two very remarkable men.
One was the brilliant and untiring journalist, Alexander Russel, who
sat in the editorial chair from 1848-1876. He took a leading part in
the initial Free Trade controversy. His remarkable knowledge of church
questions endeared him to a theological people but probably it was his
gift of humour and his hatred of bigotry and shams of all kinds, which
gained the paper its wide popularity. The other factor was the close
attention to detail and remarkable foresight in affairs of Mr. James
Law, probably the ablest newspaper manager in the kingdom, who has held
the reins of business control for over fifty years. His achievement in
placing the _Scotsman_ in the forefront as a national paper is the more
remarkable, since the home city in whose midst it grew up was greatly
exceeded in wealth and population by Glasgow. The _Scotsman_ now stands
as one of the most solid newspaper properties in the whole country.
Its ownership is in the hands of the Findlay and Law families and the
present editor is Mr. Croall.

To give some idea of the upspringing of a provincial paper after the
removal of the taxes in knowledge, I may quote the circulation figures
of the _Scotsman_, which have been officially published. Before the
abolition of the stamp tax the _Scotsman_ was a bi-weekly with an issue
of perhaps 2,500. After 1855 it became a penny daily and reached 6,000
during the Russian War, settling down to 4,000 afterwards. In 1859
its average circulation was 10,000. In 1862 after the repeal of the
paper duty it rose to 15,000. In 1865 it was well over 25,000; in 1870,
30,000; in 1877, 50,000 and during the eighties it reached 60,000 daily.

After the _Scotsman_ for power and influence most people would name
the _Manchester Guardian_. But the _Manchester Guardian_ has an even
stronger claim to eminence in being perhaps the only paper in the
kingdom outside the metropolis, whose editorial conduct has caused it
to be not only the leading paper in its district but also a newspaper
of universal range and influence. It has been in the hands of one
editor, Mr. C. P. Scott, for more than forty years and he has had the
courage, besides leading his own community and representing its local
interests with faithfulness and efficiency, to look higher still and to
raise his standard of effort far beyond the natural demands in culture
of a wealthy industrial district. There is no paper in England, which
takes so seriously the intellectual side of life. It has become the
unfortunate London habit to select here and there enclaves of culture,
where the work has to be brilliantly done at the expense of much else
neglected or left absolutely out of account, a failing which is no
doubt due to the pressure of competing interests in the metropolis.
All the painstaking details of culture such as reviewing, musical,
dramatic, and artistic criticism are carried out in the _Manchester
Guardian_ with something of the thoroughness of the German and with
much of the wit and point of the Latin races. Work of this kind is the
more praiseworthy, inasmuch as it has been done under a very strict
rule of anonymity, a veil which was very seldom lifted.

The _Manchester Guardian_, founded in 1821, two years after the
“massacre of Peterloo,” an event, which ranked in the mind of
Manchester radicals almost as July 14 does with a French “red,” has
been until the last few years practically in the hands of two men of
the same name, John Edward Taylor, father and son. They were both
men of independent character, not over-valuing the wealth which came
to them. They preserved the traditional opposition of the paper to
anything like aristocratic dominance or reactionary foreign policy and
this policy is still faithfully carried on. The business history of the
paper was very much the same as that of the _Scotsman_, the price of
the two papers being reduced to a penny within one month of each other.
One of the most prominent events in its career was the attack made by
the paper on the misuse of trade marks in the Eastern trade, leading
to a libel action, which, though it was indeed lost, brought the paper
more than popularity. It established it as the rightful representative
of Manchester interests.

A very important newspaper property and the leading organ of the
Midlands is the _Birmingham Daily Post_, which was developed out
of the weekly _Journal_ in the form of a penny daily in 1857. The
establishment of this property was the joint work of John Feeney and
Sir John Jaffray aided by the editorial work of J. J. Bunce. The late
Mr. Feeney, the son of the co-founder, bought back the various papers
in the group and they are still administered as part of his estate by
Mr. J. R. Smyth. It maintains a high level of editorial excellence
under the care of Mr. G. W. Hubbard.

One of the oldest papers in the kingdom, perhaps the oldest still
alive, is the _Leeds Mercury_, founded in 1717, which has gradually
grown weaker in a contest with a younger and more vigorous rival
and finally subsided to a halfpenny price. The _Yorkshire Post_ was
originated by a group of landowners and Conservative manufacturers
in opposition to the _Mercury_, always a Liberal organ. It gradually
grew to the position of leading newspaper in Leeds, mainly through
the skill and energy of H. Palmer, one of the few men in this country,
who could combine in himself the functions of editor and manager. The
present editor is Mr. J. R. S. Phillips.

The honour of being the first penny daily newspaper in England
appears to belong to the _Liverpool Daily Post_, which anticipated
several others by one or two months in 1855. The _Post_ was always
an enterprising Liberal organ, aggressive in business under its able
manager, Mr. A. G. Jeans. Its present editor, Sir Edward Russell, has
had control since 1869, anticipating Mr. C. P. Scott of the _Manchester
Guardian_ by a couple of years. About ten years ago the _Post_ executed
a notable stroke in business by effecting an amalgamation with the
moderate Liberal paper, the _Liverpool Mercury_, to the great advantage
of both. The _Liverpool Courier_ is still the representative of

Among well-known Northern papers is the _Newcastle Chronicle_,
celebrated through its connection with a noted figure of his
time, Joseph Cowen. The _Bradford Observer_ has become after some
vicissitudes the _Yorkshire Observer_. The _Sheffield Telegraph_
with several satellites is a prosperous property held jointly by the
Clifford and Lang families. In Manchester besides the _Guardian_
there is the Conservative _Courier_ owned by Lord Northcliffe and a
very successful group of papers belonging to Mr. Hulton. These are
all of a sporting tendency, with none of them specially remarkable as
newspapers. But as a publishing house the Hulton group of papers come
near to be commercial rivals on equal terms with the Harmsworth group
in London. Their chief publications are the _Sporting Chronicle_ and
the _Daily Despatch_. One of the most successful papers in the kingdom
is the _Manchester Evening News_, under the editorship of Mr. Parkinson
which has been the pioneer of rapid production and distribution. In
this office were perfected the various devices for printing late news,
generally known as the “fudge box,” which were adopted ten years later
by London and fifteen years later by New York. It is the property of
the Allen family.

Down in the South we have the _Bristol Times and Mirror_ and the
_Bristol Mercury_; at Plymouth, the _Western Daily Mercury_ and the
_Western Morning News_ from which the notable journalistic family of
the Spenders take their origin. Nearly all these newspapers have also
allied evening papers but it is impossible to do justice here to the
widespread organization of the provincial evening press; in some
respects it is more important by its bulk than the better known morning
papers. The evening paper in the provinces is the workman’s daily
paper. But there are so many of them that it is very difficult to make

Returning North, we find a wealthy property and a newspaper powerful
by its able editorial conduct in the _Glasgow Herald_. Until recently
there was some uncertainty as to the real date of the first appearance
of this journal under the name of _Glasgow Advertiser_. The proprietors
themselves were under the impression, obtained through counting
backwards from early issues that it began in 1782 but the first number
was unearthed the other day announcing the conclusion of the Peace
of Versailles--concluding the American war--in January, 1783. Twenty
years later it became the _Herald and Advertiser_ and in 1805 the
_Herald_ only. Distinguished editors have been Samuel Hunter, soldier
and surgeon as well, who raised 1000 volunteers with himself as colonel
to put down the Radicals in 1819; George Outram, Dr. Russell, Dr.
Wallace, and Mr. F. H. Kitchin the present editor. The _Herald_ became
a penny paper in 1859. It is held by a joint-stock company. There
is also a halfpenny daily, the _Glasgow Daily Record_. In Aberdeen
there are two excellent dailies, which it is very much to the credit
of a comparatively small town to keep in comparative prosperity, the
_Aberdeen Journal_ (1748--daily 1876) and the _Aberdeen Free Press_
(1853). Dundee is a very energetic newspaper centre, which not only has
two dailies the _Dundee Advertiser_ (1801) and the _Dundee Courier_
(1851) but it has developed weekly papers of large circulation of the
family type, whose circulation extends far over the borders of Scotland.

In South Wales there are two flourishing dailies, the _Western Mail_
(1869) a Conservative organ allied with the _News of the World_ and
the _South Daily News_ (1872) a Liberal paper. Other Welsh papers are
evening papers or weeklies.

In Ireland perhaps the most secure newspaper property is the _Irish
Times_ of Dublin but it cannot be regarded as a national paper in the
same sense as is the _Scotsman_. Politics in that country have made so
deep a cleavage that they have thrown the bulk of the wealth of Ireland
into the hands of that party which the majority of the population do
not deem to be national. The title of the paper was an old one, revived
in 1859, but the paper only started its modern successful career
after its purchase in 1873 by Sir John Arnott. Since that time it has
consistently supported the Union but with moderation. It was heartily
in favour of the Butt scheme of conciliation. The out and out defender
of the landed gentry and the party of “ascendency” is the _Dublin Daily
Express_ (1551). On the Nationalist side are the famous _Freeman’s
Journal_, a very old foundation dating from 1763 and the _Independent_.
In Belfast are the old-established _Belfast Newsletter_ (1737) and the
_Belfast Northern Whig_ (1824). In Cork there is the _Cork Examiner_

Of papers of the Empire very little is known in the Mother country
beyond the mere names. One of the oldest established is the _Montreal
Gazette_ (1765) and the newer _Montreal Herald_ and _Star_, both very
well written and edited. Perhaps the most influential newspaper in the
Dominion is the Toronto _Globe_, which represents the Liberal party but
to some extent supports the policy of Protection. The chief Australian
papers are the _Sydney Morning Herald_ (1831) and the _Sydney Daily
Telegraph_, the _Melbourne Argus_ (1846) and the _Melbourne Age_
(1854). A rather unique journalistic effort in Australia is the _Sydney
Bulletin_, a paper often capable of bitter and effective satire
reminding one of _Simplicissimus_ but not always able to keep up to the
high level of brilliancy and wit, which it has elected to take as its
standard. In South Africa there are the well-known _Cape Times_ (1876)
and the _Johannesburg Star_. The oldest established paper in India
is the _Calcutta Englishman_ and elsewhere the _Bombay Gazette_, the
_Madras Mail_, the _Pioneer_ at Allahabad and the _Civil and Military
Gazette_ at Lahore.



Any review of the continental press is even more difficult than in the
case of our own kith and kin. There are added difficulties of race
and language and of prejudices, which cannot be excluded. With regard
to the French press a certain amount of reverence is due, because in
this branch of activity they were the pioneers of Europe. Without
going into history we may note the rise and struggles of one or two
papers still important. Of these the _Journal des Débats_ was founded,
as its name would suggest, with the beginning of popular government
in 1789 by Baudouin, and afterwards bought by Bertin, who carried it
to a circulation of 32,000 under Napoleon, a surprising figure for
those times. But about 1805 Fouché, under orders, began to make its
life unhappy and Napoleon left on record his neat and clear cut views
as to what he required from newspapers. “No news unfavourable to the
government is to be published until it has become too well-known
to be worth publishing.” The paper changed its name to the _Journal
de l’Empire_ and resumed its old title in 1815. There were other
historic journals, which played their part in the last century, such
as _La Presse_ founded by Emile de Girardin in the Orleanist interests
in 1836; _Le Siècle_ by Dutacq also in 1836, which achieved great
popularity; _Le Figaro_ (1854) whose most prominent _entrepreneur_
was Villemessant. The latter introduced into its management for the
first time the principle, since well-known under the name of “the
squeezed orange,” by which young men of talent were overworked at high
salaries, until they were worn out and discarded. Others have followed
the same method since, under the mistaken impression that they were
original. Villemessant also found the means to finance the celebrated
Henri Rochefort in starting _La Lanterne_ in 1878, which was quickly

At the present moment there are more daily papers in Paris than perhaps
anywhere else except Berlin; unfortunately most of them are too poor
to be independent of outside support, so that they tend to belong to
private groups of politicians. Curiously enough the “heavy” dailies are
evening papers like _Le Temps_ and the _Journal des Débats_, which
are moderately Republican. Of the same colour are the five morning
papers, the _Figaro_, _Journal_, _Le Siècle_, edited by M. de Lanessan,
_Petit Parisien_ and _Petit Journal_. Three news organs are _Le Matin_,
_L’Eclair_ and the _Echo de Paris_. There are four Radical Socialist
papers, _L’Aurore_, _La Lanterne_, _L’Humanité_ (edited by M. Jaurès)
and _Le Bloc_, guided by M. Clémenceau. There are three so-called
Nationalist papers, the offspring of Boulangism, _La Patrie_, the
organ of M. Millivoye, _La Cocarde_ and _L’Intransigeant_, formerly
edited by M. Rochefort, and now by M. L. Bailby. Also three in number
are the Conservative papers, _Le Gaulois_, controlled by Arthur Meyer,
_Le Soleil_ and _La Croix_, which supports the clericals. Except
the _Figaro_, the price of all the morning papers in 1902 was five
centimes. There are a few well-established provincial papers, besides
a host of small ones. Such are _La Gironde_ of Bordeaux, _La Dépêche_
of Toulouse, _Le Lyon Republicain_, _L’Echo du Nord_, of Lille, and _Le
Journal de Rouen_.

In Italy the press suffers very much from poverty and there are very
few papers, which can be called independent. The strongest are in
Milan, _Il Secolo_ (1866) and _La Corriere della Sera_ (1876) which
has made itself independent and a real power. In Rome the chief
papers are the _Tribuna_, Liberal, the _Messaggero_, popular and
_L’Osservatore Romano_, a clerical or “black” paper.

In Austria there is one paper of European reputation with very
intimate relations both with Jewish financial circles and with high
diplomacy, the _Neue Freie Presse_. Besides this there are in Vienna
the semi-official _Fremdenblatt_, the clerical _Reichspost_, the
_Neues Wiener Tageblatt_ and _Die Zeit_, a Liberal paper with large
circulation. In Hungary the best known daily paper is the _Pesther

In Germany there are one or two papers in the provinces which exceed
in merit and influence the papers of the capital. For instance
the _Frankfurter Zeitung_, _Kölnische Zeitung_ and _Hamburgische
Nachrichten_ have wide circulations extending even over the borders
of Germany. They give an ample supply of general news, not always up
to date. The two former are moderate Liberal papers while the latter
is pan-German and decidedly anti-British. In Munich there is the
_Münchener Neueste Nachrichten_ and a widely known satirical weekly,
called _Simplicissimus_, which directs its shafts chiefly against the
clerical party. With all its wit it is sometimes scurrilous and often

Berlin has a large number of papers of every shade of opinion. The
largest circulation belongs to the _Berliner Tageblatt_, a moderate
Liberal organ and to the _Lokal Auzeiger_, a neutral business organ
with a good connection in advertising. The _Kreuz-Zeitung_ now called
the _Neue Preuszische Zeitung_, is Conservative and clerical; _Der
Tag_, high-toned and literary; the _Vossische Zeitung_, Liberal
with a small circulation and influential business connection; the
_Morgen Post_ is a cheap democratic paper with large circulation; the
_Vorwärts_ is Socialist; and the _Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_ is
a semi-official government organ. The _Berliner Neueste Nachrichten_
is a paper published in the Krupp interests. News is not well handled
in the Berlin press and a high value is not placed upon accuracy. They
have some curious features, for instance, in using Gothic type for the
literary part of the paper and Roman script for the advertisements and
commercial news. As the size of the sheet is small they increase their
papers by adding numerous supplements, each devoted to some particular
subject. The Sunday issue of a Berlin paper is like a miniature library
of books on all subjects. I do not know which is the more surprising
to an English reader, to purchase one of these weekly encyclopædias in
Germany or to get buried in a huge American Sunday paper with stories,
news and illustrations all spread hugger-mugger over sixty or seventy
gigantic pages with nothing to guide him through the intricacies of

The American daily newspapers have certainly more money to spend than
any other press in the world, although, owing to the severity of
competition among themselves, I doubt whether so much comes back to
them in profit. But when it comes to enterprize in procuring news the
money any New York paper is prepared to spend is sufficient to take
away one’s breath. This was the policy inaugurated by the first William
Gordon Bennett on the _New York Herald_ (1835) and subsequently carried
even to greater lengths by Joseph Pulitzer in the _New York World_
(1860), when he bought it from Jay Gould. Of all newspaper men probably
Pulitzer came nearer to claim the possession of a special genius for
the work than any other man. He kept control over both the management
and editorial conduct of his paper in every detail through a long life
even after he became blind and wherever he might happen to be in his
wanderings round the world in his yacht. While at first the conduct
of his paper seemed to aim at nothing better than mere success and
sensationalism there became clear in him a genuine democratic passion,
which redeemed many faults. More than once he was known to take in
his paper the unpopular and almost the impossible course, justifying
himself ultimately by holding his own. His gift of political prophecy
was considered by other newspaper men to be uncanny. When he died he
left a large sum of money to found a school of journalism in New York.

The _Herald_ still holds its own as the chief general paper of New
York on the Republican side while the _World_ is not far behind as a
Democrat paper. Beside them is the sensational _New York American_,
which is the New York link in the chain of Hearst papers, which
stretches through Philadelphia and Chicago in perhaps ten cities
over to the _San Francisco Examiner_ in the West. Hearst is still an
unfathomed problem in the newspaper world as no one yet knows what his
ultimate aim may be. Equipped originally with millions he has added to
them by successful newspaper enterprize. He has political ambitions
but whether he will pursue them on ordinary lines or turn aside to
revolution it is too soon to say.

Of sedate papers we have the _Tribune_ (1851) Horace Greeley’s old
organ during the war, now owned by Mr. Whitelaw Reid; the _Times_
(1851), once celebrated under Gilbert Jones for his successful defeat
of Oakey Hall and the City ring, now in the hands of an enterprizing
Chattanooga journalist, Ochs; and finally the _Sun_ (1833), the
most brilliant of American journals, once very bitter against this
country, now settled down to be rather an outspoken friend of ours with
reactionary tendencies at home. It was the first cheap paper in America
and under Charles A. Dana achieved a great reputation.

One of the bright stars in the firmament of the American press is
the old _New York Evening Post_, founded in 1766. Its editors had
well-known names--John Bigelow, Carl Schurz, and Horace White. At a
time when it was sinking into somnolence after the war it was bought
by Henry Villard and placed under the control of E. L. Godkin, who
had just triumphantly established the _Nation_. Another successful
Irishman, Godkin, became one of the most remarkable men in America.
No one exceeded him in the courage with which he attacked knavery and
jobbery of all kinds not occasionally and sensationally, but steadily
day by day. Before he died he made the _Nation_, afterwards edited by
William Lloyd Garrison, one of the chief purely literary papers in the
world, and the _Evening Post_ the most powerful foe to corruption and
upholder of pure politics and finance in America. The present editor,
Mr. Ogden worthily continues these traditions.

The American press outside New York is so vast that only a fragmentary
notice of it is possible. In Boston the old-fashioned literary paper
is the _Transcript_ (1830); there are also the _Herald_ (1836) and the
successful popular and democratic paper started in 1872 by General
Taylor the _Globe_. One of the most influential papers in America
at one time was the _Springfield Republican_ (1824). In Washington
the _Post_ (1877) and in Philadelphia the _Public Ledger_ (1836) and
the _Press_ (1857) are the best known. Chicago has a very rich and
progressive press of which the following are the best known, the
_Tribune_ (1847); the _Examiner_ started by Hearst; the _Inter-Ocean_
and the _Record-Herald_. I would dwell longer on the American press
if I had not already rather closely described the organization of a
typical American daily in the chapter on newscollecting and reporting.

There is no space remaining for even the briefest review of the
vast technical press of America, in some ways her most remarkable
achievement. In all commercial respects, artistic production, energetic
management, comprehensive information they leave all other countries
far behind. To mention only the engineering papers, they have an old
established general paper, the _Iron Age_, which is at home in every
market in the world, and the only really international organ existing,
the _American Machinist_, published every week simultaneously in New
York, London and Berlin.



In the narrow sense it might be said that journalism could hardly exist
before journals, but that would be essentially inaccurate. Journalism
is the art of writing for immediate practical effect, just as rhetoric
was the art of speaking for the same purpose. In ancient times public
speaking had an immeasurably greater influence than now owing to the
existence of small city states, where the governing assembly could
remain within the reach of one voice. With the growth of the Roman
empire and the decay of the power of the Roman Senate the current power
of the written word began to grow at the expense of the spoken one and
it certainly dominated opinion under the aristocratic governments of
the middle ages. But it was the art of printing, which made periodical
publication possible, and turned the tables on political speaking to
such an extent, that public orations are not now primarily directed to
the ears of those, who hear them, but to the eyes and understanding of
those, who read them next morning.

But there was journalism before Gutenberg. Something of the spirit of
it is present in the oldest script in the world, written perhaps 2000
years before Christ and preserved in the Prisse MSS. in the national
library in Paris. There we find an old priest recording his regrets,
that the world was not as it was when he was young, that the golden age
was over and that modern times were degenerate. _Conservative papers
please copy._ Julius Cæsar had the essence of it in his _Veni, vidi,
vici_ and the whole of his _De Bello Gallico_ was nothing more than
the most admirable special and war correspondence, intended to keep
his name before the Roman people and to induce them to contrast the
sacrifices he was making for the glory of the empire with the corrupt
luxury of the senatorial party at home.

The capacity to weigh exactly the practical effect of words in
despatches, which is strictly akin to journalistic talent, has been an
invaluable one to many a general who had to rely on popular support.
Napoleon was a master of it, Frederick the Great, being an autocratic
sovereign, could afford to despise it. But the best instance of this
quality exhibited on a striking occasion in history was the way, in
which Bismarck sub-edited the famous Ems telegram, which brought on the
Franco-Prussian war. He cynically tells the story in his “Table Talk.”
Bismarck had gone to Berlin to discuss the coming war with Moltke and
Roon. The conversation was gloomy, because at that moment it appeared
that the difficulties with France would be adjusted, which did not
suit the views of the war party. While they were sitting at dinner,
Bismarck received from the Emperor a telegram describing a firm but
not unfriendly reception of Benedetti, the French ambassador, leaving
it to his Chancellor to publish the whole or part of his despatch, as
he pleased. Bismarck turned to Moltke and asked, if he was assured
of success. He was told yes. “‘Well then,’ said I to both, ‘you can
now calmly go on with your dinner!’ Thereupon I sat down at the round
marble table, standing near the dining one, perused the King’s despatch
once more with great attention, took a pencil and erased the sentence
referring to Benedetti’s request for another audience, leaving only the
head and tail. And now the telegram read somewhat differently. My two
guests exclaimed, ‘Splendid! That will do!’ and now we continued our
meal with the best of appetites. I gave directions for the telegram
in its altered form to be communicated as quickly as possible to the
semi-official newsagency (Wolff’s bureau), to all the newspapers and
all our embassies abroad.... I never had cause to regret the way in
which it was edited.” That night Paris was led to believe that the
French ambassador had been insulted and war broke out next day. Could
we have a better instance of the thorough comprehension of the weakness
of the public addressed and of the way newspapers can be used to
manipulate opinion and sway the course of events in great issues?

Such supreme opportunities do not come to ordinary journalists. Under
the same circumstances they might possibly behave better. But at all
times of public excitement something of this power is in the hands
of every editor. It is, as a rule, for him to say the last word in
the method of presenting news of a sensational description, either
to modify the bitterness of an unpleasant announcement or to add to
its provocative character. But the presentation of obvious news is
but part of the functions of journalism, its selection is another
and the selection also of accompanying details and corroborative
and explanatory information. It is this side of journalism, which
is entirely modern, which may in fact be said to have been, if not
invented, yet for the first time consistently done and supremely well
done by the father of English journalism.

Defoe is the master of circumstantial detail. The reader can find no
modern instance, which will excel or equal in this respect his _True
Relation of the Apparition of Mrs. Veal_. He first employed this art of
inducing credibility for his central tale, whether fact or fiction, by
so surrounding it with petty and commonplace exactitude, that criticism
is diverted and put to sleep and conviction is insensibly compelled.
He was also master of an equally modern art, intimately allied to the
other, of selecting subjects of topical interest and treating them in a
realistic way. In this respect I venture to quote from Professor Minto
who shows how some of Defoe’s most celebrated works had an entirely
opportunistic origin.

“Defoe was essentially a journalist. He wrote for the day and for the
greatest interest of the greatest number of the day. He always had
some ship sailing with the passing breeze and laden with a useful
cargo for the coast upon which the wind chanced to be blowing. If the
Tichborne trial had happened in his time, we should certainly have had
from him an exact history of the boyhood and surprising adventures
of Thomas Castro, commonly known as Sir Roger, which would have come
down to us as a true record, taken, perhaps by the chaplain of Portland
prison from the convict’s own lips. It would have had such an air of
authenticity and would have been corroborated by such an array of
trustworthy witnesses, that nobody in later times could have doubted
its truth. Defoe always wrote what a large number of people were in a
mood to read. All his writings, with so few exceptions that they may
reasonably be supposed to fall within the category, were _pieces de
circonstance_. Whenever any distinguished person died or otherwise
engaged popular attention, no matter how distinguished, whether as a
politician, a criminal, or a divine, Defoe lost no time in bringing
out a biography. It was in such emergencies that he produced his
memoirs of Charles XII., Peter the Great, Count Patkul, the Duke of
Shrewsbury, Baron de Goertz, the Rev. Daniel Williams, Captain Avery
the king of the Pirates, Dominique Cartouche, Rob Roy, Jonathan Wild,
Jack Sheppard, Duncan Campbell. When the day had been fixed for the
Earl of Oxford’s trial for high treason, Defoe issued the fictitious
_Minutes of the Secret Negotiations of Mons. Mesnager_ at the English
Court during his ministry. We owe the _Journal of the Plague in 1665_
to a visitation, which fell upon France in 1721 and caused much
apprehension in England. The germ which in his fertile mind grew into
_Robinson Crusoe_ fell from the real adventures of Alexander Selkirk,
whose solitary residence of four years on the island of Juan Fernandez
was a nine days’ wonder in the reign of Queen Anne. Defoe was too busy
with his politics at the moment to turn it to account; it was recalled
to him later on, in the year 1719, when the exploits of famous pirates
had given a vivid interest to the chances of adventurers in far away
islands on the American and African coasts. _The Life, Adventures and
Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton_, who was set on shore in
Madagascar, traversed the continent of Africa from east to west past
the sources of the Nile, and went roving again in the company of the
famous Captain Avery, was produced to satisfy the same demand.”

A more questionable venture in semi-journalism was made by Defoe in
_The Shortest Way with the Dissenters_, which is still a matter of
controversy. It was an outrageous pamphlet, so skilfully couched in
language current at the time in the mouths of extreme Highchurchmen
that the whole country was deceived, in which it was proposed to put a
short term to Nonconformity by hanging every preacher in a conventicle
and banishing the congregations. It met with all the paradoxical
success that its author could have wished because it was accepted by
the dominant Tory party with acclamation that was turned into fury,
when the author was discovered to be a Dissenter, who had published it
in mockery of the excesses of his opponents. Defoe had to stand in the
pillory for three days and was fined and imprisoned.

It may be questioned whether such a prank can be considered to be
irony, when the key to the inverted point is not contained in the work
itself but in some outside circumstance. True irony is an appeal in one
form of words to two grades of intelligence, one of which accepts the
literal and the other the concealed meaning. A much more indisputable
instance of journalistic irony in our times was Henri Rochefort’s
eulogy of Napoleon II., equally effective with Defoe’s as a practical
weapon and as a literary masterpiece of concealed invective for ever to
be unexcelled. The validity of this irony consisted in facts that were
known to all his readers, while the statement of them was inverted for
reasons not of caprice nor cleverness but for a practical purpose for
which there was every excuse. It is so short that the gist of it is
worth quoting. It was in the second number of the notorious _Lanterne_,
the first issue of which had been sold to the extent of 125,000 copies,
that Rochefort complained that his political attitude had never
been understood and that he was in fact an out and out Bonapartist.
“Nevertheless,” he added, “I may be allowed to choose my own hero in
the dynasty. Amongst the legitimists some prefer Louis XVIII., others
Louis XVI., others on the contrary place all their sympathy on the
head of Charles X. As a Bonapartist, I prefer Napoleon II.; I have a
right to do so. In my mind he represents the ideal of a sovereign. No
one will deny that he has occupied the throne, because his successor
calls himself Napoleon III. What a reign, my friends, what a reign! Not
a tax; no useless wars, with the ravages they involve; none of those
distant expeditions in which six hundred millions are spent to recover
fifteen francs; no devouring civil lists; no ministers accumulating
five or six posts at a hundred thousand francs each; that is the
monarchy, as I understand it. Oh yes! Napoleon II., I love and admire
you without reserve.... Who then will dare maintain that I am not a
sincere Bonapartist?” Within a few weeks the _Lanterne_ was suppressed
and Rochefort was flying over the Belgian frontier. But his articles
had prepared the Commune and eventually made France a Republic.

Returning to England it is impossible, in mentioning Defoe, to refrain
from opposing to him, not only politically but in a journalistic sense,
his far more brilliant Tory opponents, Swift and Bolingbroke. It is
true that their weapons were more effective at the time, because they
were more aristocratic, but for that reason they are outside the stream
of progress. Journalism is necessarily democratic. Bolingbroke with his
_Dissertation on Parties_ and the _Patriot King_ anticipated Disraeli’s
novels and the _Saturday Review_. Swift in his _Drapier’s Letters_ made
one counter-move to the Whig government of his time, which showed that,
if he had sufficiently valued the weapon of an ephemeral pen, there is
no one living or dead, who could have beaten him either in literary
style or in practical effectiveness. After Swift comes Junius, with
his newly-discovered advertisement of anonymity, a long way behind,
a kind of ostentatious but safely sheltered temerity colouring his
natural tendency to seclusion and his disinclination to take the
responsibility of parrying counter-attacks.

Since the time of Junius there has been little literary matter in
the press equally brilliant as well as ferocious. The battles of
journalistic independence were fought more with the special message
and the telegram than with the pen. Cobbett, Joseph Cowen and W. T.
Stead may be held to be the best known names among what may be termed
the aggressive school. Southey, Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, Hazlitt, R. H.
Hutton, Meredith Townsend, W. T. Arnold and Andrew Lang may be quoted
as the best representatives of the academic school. George Borrow,
Lawrence Oliphant, W. E. Henley and G. W. Steevens may better be
described as free lances owing obedience to no tradition. If we may
single out one typical journalist, little known in London, who may
stand forward as the representative writer of the century in England,
just as Alexander Russel was beyond the Tweed, I should name Dr.
Dunckley, at one time editor of the _Manchester Examiner_, who wrote
for the daily press articles which came to take their place as some
of the constitutional documents of this country. Writing under the
name of “Verax” in a series of articles for his own paper, afterwards
republished, he attracted widespread attention and was attacked with
some bitterness in the _Quarterly Review_. Dunckley was at pains to
warn the country against a threatened constitutional experiment similar
to the unfortunate mistake of George III., whereby the direct influence
of the Crown was to be reasserted for the benefit of one party in
the State. He defended himself against the _Quarterly_ with dignity
and effect. “When I began writing I never thought of challenging the
verdict of so wide an audience. In the discharge of a semi-imposed
and pleasant duty I merely wrote for my accustomed readers in these
northern districts. I never dreamed that the country mouse would visit
town. The reviewer says, I appear to pose as a tame Junius! If I had
thought of posing at all, it would have been as Junius rampant. As a
matter of posing one would have been just as easy as the other and of
the two I should have preferred the renowned original. But the reviewer
does me too much honour. I thought no more of Junius than of Tancred or
Mungo Park.”

It is impossible to close this brief review of journalism without some
reflections on that branch of it, which consists not in writing but in
controlling and directing the writing of others. There is more than
a distinction between the two functions, there is to some extent an
opposition. Sheer brilliancy with the pen is not the best quality for
an editor. If he has it, he must be sparing in its use; otherwise he
will write every one else of considerable ability off his own paper and
find himself, like Defoe, having to do alone and unaided everything of
any special importance. That is not a possible position for any one to
take up in a daily newspaper in modern times. A race of editors has
thus grown up, who write hardly at all themselves and pass their lives
as the perpetual directors and critics of others. In this respect our
typical example is undoubtedly Delane, of whom we have fortunately much
published information.

By way of understanding the great step taken by the new tradition of
an editor’s calling established by Delane we may recall Leigh Hunt’s
confessions or views of his editorial work. The Hunts, father and son,
when running the (London) _Examiner_, long since dead, made it a rule
to isolate themselves from the world, to refuse dinner invitations
and all personal intercourse with party leaders. They remained at
home or at the office polishing paragraphs and evolving verses. “I
galloped,” said Leigh Hunt “through my editorial duties, took a world
of superfluous pains in the writing, sat up very late at night and
was a very trying person to compositors and newsmen.” Delane on the
other hand hardly ever took pen in hand, dined out every night in the
season and went back to his house in Serjeant’s Inn, about 5 a.m. only
after he had seen the final proofs of everything which he considered
important. It is said that in his thirty-seven years of editing Delane
saw more sun-rises than any man in London.

In keeping himself as the chief link of his paper with the world and
confining himself at the office only to duties of guidance Delane
remained always the best and finest judge of the course to be taken
at the moment. This is speaking journalistically, because Delane’s
acuteness of judgment as to the psychology of London society was far
from being consonant with the verdict of history or with special gifts
of prophecy. To use Lord Salisbury’s phrase Delane often “put his money
on the wrong horse,” notably in backing up the South against the North
in the American civil war and in expecting an easy win for the French
against the Prussians in 1870.[10]

    [10] Although the _Times_ soon saw that the Germans
         were gaining the upper hand, Delane originally wrote
         to Russell, “I would lay my last shilling on Casquette
         against Pumpernickel.”

However that might be there was no revolting in the office against
him. Henry Reeve, a writer on foreign politics in the _Times_ from
1840 to 1855, at one period tried to take an independent line against
the views of his editor and relying upon influential official support
rebelled against various alterations in his articles. He was soon
suppressed and on a repetition of the trouble was encouraged to resign.
Another incident, illustrating quite admirably the skill with which
Delane handled one of the banes of an editor’s life, the foreign
correspondent who lives in his own set abroad and reflects only their
opinions without regard to the views of the paper at home, occurred
before the Crimean war, when events in Constantinople were drawing
Europe’s eyes towards the circle round Lord Stratford de Redcliffe.
In September, 1853, we find Delane writing, rather savagely, to the
_Times_ correspondent there--“The tone, which you have recently taken,
compels me to address you, for it is impossible for you to continue to
be our correspondent if you persist in taking a line so diametrically
opposed to the interests of this country. As it would seem that you
never take the trouble of reading the opinions of the paper with which
you correspond, I must begin by informing you that whatever concern
it may have in the well-being of Turkey, it owes a higher duty to the
people of the United Kingdom, who are willing to support Turkey so
far as they conceive it to be for their interest, but acknowledge no
obligation, either by treaty or by implication, to shed their blood or
spend their money in its behalf. You seem to imagine that England can
desire nothing better than to sacrifice all its greatest interests and
its most cherished objects to support barbarism against civilization,
the Moslem against the Christian, slavery against liberty, to exchange
peace for war--all to oblige the Turk. Pray undeceive yourself.” That
is strong writing, but for all that events a few months later pulled
the way of the correspondent and not of the paper.

An instance of Delane’s forcible common-sense and grasp of essentials
is given in a letter written to Russell at Versailles, pointing out the
right line to be taken in dealing with the victorious but unpopular
Germans. “Now I by no means believe that Bismarck has wings under his
white coat, but I think that those who live in his camp are bound not
to see cloven hoofs in his boots and there has been a tendency in all
the correspondents to make such a discovery lately, to exaggerate the
dangers of a position, which has no doubt been critical and to welcome
any news, however false, of French success. Under such circumstances
and remembering that the Germans have been sorely disappointed in the
resistance of Paris and are suffering greatly and not so much at ease
as to their prospects as before, I am by no means surprised that they
should be sulky and should regard all correspondents with disfavour and
should make you, as the representative of the whole body, the butt of
their ill-humour.”

When we come to war correspondence, we touch upon what many people
regard as the culminating romance of journalism. To us, who are inside
the circle, it does not always appear in the same light. There are
greater triumphs than securing the first news of a battle but none
whose results are so immediate. For the correspondent himself the
situation is dangerous without romance, responsible often with little
credit. His chief enemies are dirt, ill-humour and neglect. He has
the rough edge of most tempers and must professionally regard with
suspicion any advances that may appear too friendly. Men whose business
is killing and who are paid to be killed cannot be _aux petits soins_
with a profession generally looked upon in military circles, as an
evil, which only the vehement and detestable curiosity of the public
now makes necessary, which they hope some day to make harmless by
isolation if it cannot be abolished altogether. Yet these are only the
preliminary difficulties. Mr. J. B. Atkins in his life of W. H. Russell
(afterwards Sir William), himself a war-correspondent, who has gone
through several wars, remarks that Russell with all his experience
did not cease to be troubled by the overwhelming question, which will
always perplex correspondents, as to the best position from which to
see a battle. It is a question which becomes increasingly difficult as
the range of fire increases. “To-day,” says Mr. Atkins, “no man, who
applies himself to get what people call a ‘realistic’ impression of
fighting can hope to have an accurate or even a coherent idea of the
tactical handling of troops along a wide front. In modern warfare the
employment of many correspondents is necessary to enable a newspaper to
produce a connected account of a single battle. The only correspondent
who can acquaint himself with the general issue, is he who stays in
the rear, where the field telegraph and telephone wires converge upon

“Billy” Russell, as he was familiarly called, had a varied and
successful career, which will probably never be equalled, now that
the future of the profession must become a more composite one. He saw
the Danish campaign of 1850, the Crimean war, the Indian Mutiny, the
famous rout at Bull Run, the battles of Sadowa and Sedan besides many
minor conflicts and the siege of Paris. He lived to predict to a friend
during “Black Week” in 1899 that, even as in the American war the early
reverses of the North only acted upon the Transatlantic branch of the
race as reverses have always acted upon this, to encourage them to more
persistent sacrifices, so the Boers must be ultimately worn out by
attrition as had happened to the forces of the South.

Russell’s achievements in the Crimean war have passed into history. We
can see now that the greatness of his success was due to the apparent
obstacles, which were placed in his way by ignorance, contempt and
deliberate repression. Such discouragements are an incentive to a man
of courage and perseverance and especially so to an Irishman. The fact
that Russell was everywhere cold-shouldered, left without rations or
quarters, excluded from all important information and even at one
time expelled from the shelter he had procured for himself, rendered
him free from those embarrassing obligations which accompany favours
conferred and left him a stark spectator of one of the greatest
tragedies of inept military administration. A smaller man might have
been embittered and goaded to retaliatory criticism, but Russell
was above this weakness. The weapon he used, as few have had the
opportunity to use it, was the terrible one of the mere truth, what
Lord Morley has called, “the irony of literal statement.” It was used
effectively and brought down the government at home and altered the
conduct of the war.

One can understand how the old generals trained in Peninsular
principles, were quite unaware of the new power that had grown up to
overshadow ministers and even to give lessons to the Crown. It is more
surprising that Russell, who had been a journalist for a dozen years,
should himself be quite unconscious of all the attributes, with which
he was invested. He knew that his position was an independent and
responsible one but the realization of how much influence he had on the
future of the men, who helped or bullied him daily, only came to him
later. In his own words, “I did not then grasp the fact that I had it
in my power to give a halo of glory to some unknown warrior by putting
his name in type. Indeed, for many a month I never understood that
particular attribute of my unfortunate position, and I may say now in
all sincerity and truth, I never knowingly made use of it.”

The same qualities of unbending resistance to all the arts of
browbeating were required by Russell in his American campaign. Here he
had to face not only the unpopularity honestly earned by himself for
his unvarnished tale of the panic of the Federals after the battle of
Bull Run--unfortunately for himself he never saw the whole battle--but
he had to bear by proxy the natural resentment of a whole nation to
the line of policy pursued by the _Times_. For this he was in no way
responsible; in fact he would have altered it if he could, for ever
since his visit to the South before the outbreak of war he could never
forgive what he saw of the grosser aspects of slavery.

Russell’s correspondence during the Franco-Prussian war is interesting
because we find him competing for the first time on equal terms with
a new star and a new method. The successes of each were honourable
to both, as, although frequently beaten at first through the lavish
use of the telegraph by Archibald Forbes and the _Daily News_, he
regained his ascendency in the end by the advantages of his old
prestige and his command of the best information. This new star was
to some extent a star of his own making for it was at one of Russell’s
lectures on his campaigns that Forbes’s heart took fire with military
zeal and drove him into the dragoons and later to become a journalist
and his inspirer’s successful rival. In the early part of the war
Forbes’s repeated anticipations of the _Times_ became the cause of
much heartburning in Printing House Square and Russell for years did
not understand how he was beaten. Many years later Forbes wrote him
a friendly letter explaining his method, which relied a good deal on
chance, perhaps more so than the _Times_ would have permitted. Being
attached to the staff of the Crown Prince of Saxony, where discipline
was less strict than with the Prussians, Forbes would transmit
beforehand information of the proposed attack, of the number, calibre,
and position of the guns and of various details of the coming clockwork
battle. As the Germans were usually successful in their combination
Forbes had only to wire a brief confirmation or alteration in order to
have a very fairly accurate account appearing in his paper. One can
imagine, however, that a correspondent reporting Marengo or Waterloo in
that fashion would get into trouble with his manager.

There is one story of Forbes’s personal vicissitudes in the Commune,
which must stand on the summit of all the hairbreadth dangers of
a correspondent. On a morning when the Versaillais troops were
fighting their way into Paris and breaking down the barricades of the
Communards, Forbes, who was safely behind the line of the civilized
combatants in one street, happening to cross along a side street into
a parallel main boulevard, found himself to his dismay behind one of
the untaken barricades. The rush of the assailants was about to take
place. The Communard officer saw Forbes, seized him before he could
retreat and ordered him into the firing line. In vain Forbes protested
his nationality. At that time and place they were of no moment and
as he refused to use the chassepot, which was put into his hand, he
was put up against the wall to be shot. At that instant the regular
troops carried the barricade, seized the much bewildered Forbes with
the weapon in his hands and put him again in his old place to be shot
as a combatant. Forbes’s protests were very nearly set aside but it
occurred to the officer in charge to ask to see his hands, because the
chassepot always threw back a spit of black powder on the hand from the
breech for every shot that was fired. Forbes’s hands were clean, so he
was free; but, if he had fired one shot to save his life on the first
occasion, he would have lost it on the second.

To conclude this halting review of groups of journalists, we must
not omit to mention the occasional writer who may have fleeting and
simultaneous fidelities to many journals. Of this type, not to mention
living names, Andrew Lang was the best known British representative,
a cultivated gentleman with a touch of the academician and of the
spiritualist in his composition. But the type does not flourish in
England, where personal and continued attachment to an organ is a rest
for the wits and a prophylactic against bailiffs. On the Continent
also it is almost never a permanent career. The successful journalist
passes on to the drama, or to politics, or to finance. In America the
best opportunity is offered for his talents through the medium of the
syndicated press. Immense sums are paid to ready pens, who have the
knack of appealing to a wide range of tastes, such as no single journal
can offer, however rich it may be. These popular heroes are of all
kinds; some, men of genius. I may mention Mr. Dunne, the well-known
writer of the Dooley articles, publicist and wit, equally at home with
English life, politics and manners as with the failures of his own
government and the successes of his own politicians. He has a colleague
on his peculiar platform of general satirist, less well-known but not
less witty; if not so genial, yet more trenchant. Mr. George Ade has
limited the circle of the appreciators of his brilliancy by writing in
what is perpetually a new language, American slang. Those, who can leap
over the bars of an unapproachable faculty of _fin de siècle_ language
laden with some bitterness and inveterate criticism, will recognize in
him the keenest intellect, that has been engaged in journalism since
Swift. He deals with things familiar in his own country and sometimes
met in ours; the blue-stocking, who had an intellect, which made a
noise like a dynamo; the negro head-waiter with a corporation and a
dress-suit, that fit him too soon; the father of a family, trying to
raise three children with one hand and a mortgage with the other; or
the young commercial gentleman, who in his own line of conversation was
as neat and easy-running as a red buggy, but when any one talked about
Chopin and Beethoven would sit back so quiet, that often he got numb
below the hips. It is a pity that the barrier of language shuts him off
from most of us.

On the other hand there are some things of the same intention, that
we do not miss much. Probably about the largest circle of readers
in the world, some 10,000,000 a day, is reached at this moment by a
journalist familiarly known in the Middle West as “Uncle Walt,” whose
speciality is “lineless rhymes,” of which the following is a specimen:
“Charles the First, with stately walk, made the journey to the block.
As he paced the street along, silence fell upon the throng; from that
throng there burst a sigh, for a king was come to die! Charles upon the
scaffold stood, in his veins no craven blood; calm, serene, he viewed
the crowd, while the headsman said, aloud: ‘Cheer up, Charlie! Smile
and sing! Death’s a most delightful thing! I will cure your hacking
cough, when I chop your headpiece off! Headache, toothache--they’re
a bore! You will never have them more! Cheer up, Charlie, dance and
yell! Here’s the axe, and all is well! I, though but a humble dub,
represent the Sunshine Club, and our motto is worth while: “Do not
worry--Sing and Smile!” Therefore let us both be gay, as we do our
stunt to-day; I to swing the shining axe, you to take a few swift
whacks. Lumpty-doodle, lumpty-ding, do not worry, smile and sing!’”


Strictly speaking there can be no bibliography of such a subject as
“newspapers.” There have been occasional works on journalism, but after
a few years they become out of date and useless. For the history of
newspapers in general, with a slight sketch of the foreign press the
article in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_ on “Newspapers,” gives the
facts admirably in small compass. The same may be said of an article on
“Advertising” in _Chambers’ Encyclopædia_. On the press for pressmen I
only know of one good book, Mr. Given’s, _The Making of a Newspaper_.
On English journalism and the gossip of the calling a very full book is
Mr. T. H. S. Escott’s _Masters of Journalism_, but it is not guiltless
of inaccuracies. The best supply of valuable material on this subject
is undoubtedly contained in various biographies, such as those of
Defoe, Swift, etc., and in modern times the _Life of Delane_, by Sir
George Dasent; the _Life of Sir W. H. Russell_ by Mr. J. B. Atkins,
very good with often a better glimpse of Delane than in the official
life; the _Life of E. Godkin_ by Mr. R. Ogden. Memoirs are useful
but not so reliable; such as the _Memoirs of Horace Greeley_, of _De
Blowitz_, and the highly-coloured _Memoirs of Henri Rochefort_. The
published works of Russell, Archibald Forbes and G. W. Steevens have
very considerable value in this connection. I may conclude with one
or two recent novels on journalistic life, which throw a good deal of
side light on the subject; _A Hind let Loose_ by C. E. Montague; the
_Street of Adventure_ by Philip Gibbs; _Mightier than the Sword_ by
Alphonse Courlander; _The Way of the World_ by Mr. D. C. Murray; and
_When a Man’s Young_ by Mr. J. M. Barrie. Mr. Rudyard Kipling and Sir
Conan Doyle have written some good journalistic stories, chiefly about
war correspondence. An excellent history of printing appeared in the
_Times_ Supplement of Sept. 10, 1912.

In this connection I must render a special tribute to the merits of
the technical organ of the English press, the _Newspaper Owner_, which
furnishes a vast amount of special information, for those who know how
to use it. It is owned and edited by Mr. Charles Baker, and for much of
the information on current topics, which has appeared in these former
pages, I am indebted to his columns.


  Addison, J., 164

  Ade, 250

  Advertising, 115-131

  Anonymity, 102-4

  _Answers_, 200

  _Associated Press_, 75

  Atkins, J. B., 243

  Autoplate machine, 149

  “Beats,” 54-7, 67

  _Birmingham Daily Post_, 209

  Bismarck, 228-9

  _British Weekly_, 191

  Cæsar, Julius, 227

  Cobbett, 166, 195, 236

  Composition, 141-3

  _Daily Chronicle_, 54, 69, 135, 176-7

  _Daily Courant_, 163

  _Daily Express_, 69, 182, 202

  _Daily Mail_, 69, 134, 135, 151, 180-2, 202

  _Daily Mirror_, 186, 202

  _Daily News_, 69, 135, 177-9, 246

  _Daily Telegraph_, 54, 68, 124, 173

  De Blowitz, 68, 172

  Defoe, 163, 230-3

  Delane, 169, 170, 172, 238-242

  Demand and supply, 118

  Dunckley, 236-7

  Dunne, 249

  _Field_, 189

  Forbes, 247-8

  Foreign Correspondence, 65-9

  “Fudge,” 83, 211

  _Glasgow Herald_, 212

  _Guardian_, 192

  Hunt, Leigh, 238

  Inking apparatus, 155

  Interviewing, 62

  _Irish Times_, 211

  Junius, 165, 235

  _Lancet_, 194-6

  Lang, Andrew, 236, 249

  Libels, 57-58, 171

  Linotype machine, 142

  _Liverpool Daily Post_, 210

  _Lloyd’s Weekly News_, 199

  _Manchester Evening News_, 211

  _Manchester Guardian_, 55, 78, 101, 133, 135, 207-9

  Marquis of Salisbury, 190

  Morley, Lord, 183, 245

  _Morning Post_, 68, 124, 175, 176

  _Nation_, 190

  _New York American_, 55, 221

  _New York Evening Post_, 223-4

  _New York Herald_, 54, 129, 221-2

  _New York Sun_, 31, 67, 77, 223

  _New York Times_, 55, 223

  _New York Tribune_, 223

  _New York World_, 52, 77, 221

  _News of the World_, 199

  _Pall Mall Gazette_, 183

  _Pearson’s Weekly_, 201

  _Press Association_, 75-9

  Press, American, 26-48, 90, 221-5

    ”    Australian, 214

    ”    Austrian, 219

    ”    Canadian, 214

    ”    French, 91, 216-8

    ”    German, 93-5, 130, 219-221

    ”    Illustrated, 187

    ”    Indian, 215

    ”    Italian, 91, 218

    ”    London, 173-203

    ”    Labour, 185

    ”    Provincial, 205-214

    ”    South African, 215

    ”    Technical, 196-7

    ”    Woman’s, 203

    ”    History of British, 163-185

    ”    Revolution in British, 201-2

  Printing-press, 147-154

  Prysse MSS, 227

  Publication, 158-161

  _Punch_, 198

  _Reuter’s_, 75, 79

  _Review_, 163

  Rochefort, 218, 234

  Russell, Sir William, 57, 101, 170, 243-7

  _Saturday Review_, 190

  _Scotsman_, 205-6

  _Spectator_, 164, 198

  _Standard_, 174, 183

  Steele, 164

  Stereotyping, 145-7

  _Sunday Chronicle_, 199

  Swift, 164, 235

  _Tablet_, 192

  Taylor, John Edward, 78, 100, 208

  Telegraphs, 65-7

  Telephones, 138

  _Times_, 57, 65, 67, 68, 99, 107, 166-173, 240, 246-7

  _Tit-bits_, 200-1

  Tubular plate press, 153

  Walter I., John, 167, 173, 181

     ”   II., John, 101, 168-9

     ”   A. F., 170

  War Correspondence, 69-71, 243-8

  _War Cry_, 193

  _Westminster Gazette_, 184, 202

  Weeklies, Literary, 189-191

     ”      General, 198-201

     ”      Religious, 191-3

  _Yorkshire Post_, 209


Transcriber’s Note:

The cover was created by the transcriber using elements from the
original publication.

Punctuation has been standardised; hyphenation and spelling variations
retained as published in the original publication except as follows:

  Page 137
    after the Titantic disaster _changed to_
    after the Titanic disaster

  Page 187
    are the pioneer of this class _changed to_
    are the pioneers of this class

  Page 226

  Page 244
    those embarassing obligations _changed to_
    those embarrassing obligations

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