The Business of Newspapers 16th-19th Century

The Business of Newspapers 16th-19th Century

Eighteenth-Century Worlds Research Centre, University of Liverpool
Athenaeum Club
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
06.06.2013 - 07.06.2013
Eve Rosenhaft

The Business of Newspapers: Commercial Information Versus Civil Instruction - Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Workshop

This two day workshop will be hosted in the News-Room of the Liverpool Athenaeum, founded in 1797 to provide “the conveniences and accommodation for the acquisition of a town of such commercial and national importance as Liverpool”. The workshop will build on themes explored in a public lecture delivered by Professor Mark Knights entitled ‘Picturing Corruption in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Britain: Print, Satire and Scandalous News’. The keynote speaker for the workshop will be Professor Ulrike Gleixner, Director of the Herzog-August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel.

Newspapers were manifold in their nature, the content was varied and the readership was broad. Different newspapers catered for particular audiences at different times and in different places. The task for this workshop will be to interrogate the role of newspapers in society, not only in terms of social functions, but also in regard to their economic impacts. In particular, contributors will be invited to explore both how ‘news’ was ‘made’ and what readers, or different readerships, were looking for when they sought out the ‘news’. At any one time, newspapers might be sources of entertainment, tools of a mercantile trade or didactic instruments for the development of a polite society, and understanding how they were used by readers can give us an insight into the fine mechanisms of economic and social change in early modernity. Sample questions might include:

- Which newspapers were most profitable?
- To what extent did newspapers fund the growth of print culture?
- How important was the advent of the professional journalist?
- Were newspapers forums for conversation, or loci of knowledge?
- Did newspapers reflect or shape society’s mores?
- What effect did newspaper readership have on the cityscape? On sociability?
- What effect did media narratives have on popular perceptions of law, sex, government, war, or money?
- Who subscribed to newspapers? Who read them?
- How effective were newspaper advertisements in generating revenue?

Case studies are invited from all periods in the development of the modern newspaper from seventeenth-century newsbooks and the first dailies in the eighteenth century, to the rise of the professional journalist in the early nineteenth century. Contributions from all national contexts and those that explore the global context of newspapers in the early modern period will be welcome.

This workshop has been generously funded by the Economic History Society and the German History Society, and accommodation and an evening meal will be provided for participants. For further information, or to submit a proposal, please contact Angel O’Donnell ( Proposals should be submitted by 26 April 2013



Angel O'Donnell

Department of History
University of Liverpool