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September 2021

The birth of news discourse: changes in news language in British newspapers, 1880-1930

Journal/Book: Media Cult Soc. 2000; 22: 6 Bonhill Street, London EC2a 4Pu, England. Sage Publications Ltd. 557+.

Abstract: This article examines some changes in news style in British newspapers between about 1880 and 1930 and proposes that they provide evidence of the emergence of a coherent and :self-sufficient discourse of the news. It argues that changes in the ways in which the news has represented the world are as important as technological or economic changes to the development of the 20th-century news form, and that it is therefore important to look closely at issues of language. It suggests that three main developments in news texts occurred: the wide range of voices and styles of the Victorian press became subsumed under a single universal news voice; the status of the news text changed from being a collection of raw information to being a form of knowledge in itself; and the news developed independence from the conventions of public discourse.

Note: Article Matheson D, Univ Strathclyde, Dept English Studies, Richmond St, Glasgow G1 1XH, Lanark, SCOTLAND

Keyword(s): cultural history; Daily Graphic; Foucault; journalism; journalists; reporting; text; The Times


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