British Press

Last Updated: 27 Jan 2021
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Originally newspapers or newsletters were simply records of events and opinions. The earliest known printed newspaper in Britain was published in 1513 and was called TreweEncountre. In the 16th century the form of the newspapers changed. Papers grew from newssheets for a small number of educated people into a medium of information and entertainment for the whole population. The power of the press was feared and censors stopped any article they saw as being against the state.

In 1814 The Times used a new kind of printing machine – The Koenig Press which made it possible to produce 1000 copies an hour instead of 20. National distribution was made possible with the development of the railway system. The stronger and wealthier papers such as The Times and the Daily Telegraph became first true national daily papers in Britain. More daily newspapers, national and regional, are sold for every person in Britain than in most other developed countries.

Britain’s press is unusual it is divided into two very different types of newspapers: the quality press (broadsheets) and the popular press (tabloids). There is no state control or censorship of the press, but it is subject to the general laws of publication. The press caters for a variety of political views, interests and levels of education. Newspapers are almost always financially independent of any political party. Where they express pronounced views and show obvious political leanings in their editorial comments.

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Newsprint, about three-quarters of which is imported, forms about a quarter of average national newspaper costs. In addition to sales, many newspapers and periodicals derive considerable earnings from their advertising. Ownership of the national, London and regional newspapers is concentrated in the hands of a number of large press publishing groups. Most people usually read the Leader (or editorial); it helps them form opinions on things. Although national newspapers give you all the important news, if you want to sell your car or smth, the classified ads is the best place.

Most British Sunday papers have supplements with articles on food, travel and fashion. These supplements often contain features on new technology. One thing people always read in the paper is the obituaries’. Teenagers prefer magazines, especially the ‘agony columns’. It is amazing how people are prepared to discuss their most intimate problems publicly with an ‘agony aunt’. A newspaper story has evolved to meet the requirements of everyday life as lived by everyday readers. It relies on the lements of novelty, directness, pace and variety and it strives to convey its information in the form most in keeping with the tempo of our times.

We can divide the newspapers story as it strikes our eye on the newspaper page into 3 parts: 1) The Headline 2) The first paragraph 3) The remainder of the story The headline first attracts us. Its message is terse, abrupt and often startling. It tells us quickly what the story covers. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of opening paragraph or lead. Always this lead remains the primary concern of the newspaper writer.

Because the present-day reader resembles the man who both runs and reads, present-day newspapers seek to facilitate him getting the information quickly. The convention has developed of telling the main facts of the news story in its first lead paragraph. This convention requires that in the lead the reporter answers the questions which would occur to any normal person when confronted with the announcement of an event. These questions, called the five W’s, are: Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How? The best-written lead not only satisfies the reader’s initial curiosity, but whets his appetite to read more.

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British Press. (2016, Sep 28). Retrieved from

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