The aim of this book is to use history to reveal underlying trends, causes and conditions that affect modern journalism and its practice. The approach to history is thematic rather than strictly chronological and by definition selective. Social histories of the press have shown how institutional and technological factors have shaped news over the last 200 years, reinforcing the doctrine that news is, more than anything else, a culturally constructed category. This book traces some of these influences, not as an all-embracing chronological history (for these exist elsewhere), but more as a thematic ‘potpourri’, highlighting in particular those journalistic functions that relate to and interact with wider society. In doing so, we take a long view, stressing continuities as well as change
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