Banality 1822-style

I was standing in a pub the other day, reading the writing on the wall, when I discovered that newspapers 200 years ago were just as banal as newspapers now. The pub in question (The Royal Mile Tavern) has a copy of the Edinburgh Advertiser from March 26th 1822 pasted up conveniently near some bar-stools. It seems editors then recycled trivia from other local papers in the same way editors now recycle it from wire stories.

For your amusement and delight, banality 1822-style:

Bees swarm

Bees Swarm

Bees Swarm

Prisoners want to escape

Prisoners want to escape

Prisoners want to escape

Prisoners don’t escape

Prisoners don't escape

Prisoners don't escape

Student nicks paper

Student nicks paper

Student nicks paper

Thief nearly gets away

Thief nearly gets away

Thief nearly gets away

Thief does get away

Thief does get away

Thief does get away

Men get drunk

Men get drunk

Men get drunk

Man gets wet

Man gets wet

Man gets wet

Lads attack policeman

Lads attack policeman

Lads attack policeman

And the cute one right at the end:

Cows on ships

Cows on ships

Cows on ships

So it seems that lazy, unimaginative and gossipy news reporting is not new. But when it’s almost 200 years old it does become fun.

Advertisements

9 responses to “Banality 1822-style

  1. Very interesting post. Now people *want* to go to Australia. Tsk.

    Back when I worked in Northern Ireland many years ago, I used to think that when the main item on the news was “Cat rescued from tree” that all would be good in this part of the world.

    And, you know, it’s not far off now.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11029048

  2. They still have items like that in Aussie newspapers you know…

  3. Injured owl dies?!?!?!? Brilliant.

    My local rag seems to have decided to drop all the nice skate boarding otter stories and the like to just do loads of OTT sensationalist stuff about crime.

    Almost every headline is along this nature apart from occasional ones about people dying of something horrid. Never read it any more.

  4. I had a neighbour who edited a local newspaper, and the problem they have is – guess what – resources. It’s easy to get police reports, council reports and hospital gossip. Much more time consuming to go out and find actual stories.

    I’m even aware of one town where the editor of the local paper persuaded their daughter to get a job in the hospital so they could get the inside goss on A&E and emergency admissions. Absolutely outrageous.

    Mind you, it looks as if most of the Edinburgh Advertiser was a mash-up of police reports and other local rags.

    • Indeed, though I think one of the issues is the way the meeja companies are run. From what I am told by a colleague in the NUJ in “Trinity Mirror” the local papers in the main are profitable* and subsidise their national publications.

      Depsite this more and more savage Cuts are happening as crisis at the nationals cause financial problems. These means more homogenous content and more of the “scare of the day” stories. However I must say I don’t think the Plymouth Evening Herald was ever at the forfront of Paul Foot-esque campainging journalism. We have just moved from a nice inoffensive banality to a nasty one!

  5. It is the 165th Anniversary of the start of the magazine ‘Scientific American’. They are reading out various pieces from the first year on the Podcast – one presumes they are printing them in the magazine. There was the big stink in London due to the weather and the Thames drying up, Morse telegraph had been up and running for a few weeks. A slide show is below.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-visual-history-of-science

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s