‘Intelligencers Poor Men’s Guardians and Two-Penny Trash’ – Russell Jackson writes for The Byline Times
Senior Lecturer in Communication and Public Relations, Dr. Russell Jackson, has written an article for The Byline Times about the surprisingly radical traditions of the British press and the 200 hundred-year-old battle cry ‘information is power’. The article opens with,
With the rise of online and print publications, I believe we are experiencing something of a renaissance akin to the radical press of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
In 1550, only 15% of the adult British population could read. It took until 1850 for 75% of the population to learn to read and write. Developments in print technology in the 17th Century gave rise to early journalism, focused on self-improvement, law, medicine, events and entertainment.
While sensationalism was often favoured over accuracy, large audiences had the opportunity to hear dissenting voices. The middle classes were early adopters of what we now call journalism.”