CATS- Lesson 1

History of Journalism

Journalism is the business or practice of writing and producing newspapers.

Referenced as “the press” since the late 18th century, and known as “the forth estate” in the United States.


1041, Moveable type was invented.

1436, to 1450, German Johannes Gutenberg, metal moveable printing press invented, spreads across Europe.

1476, William Caxton in Westminster Modern Factory- produced moveable type, available in the late 19th century.

Early 16th century, First newspapers in Britain.

1702, launch of the first daily newspaper.

1709, Barrow’s Worcester Journal, considered the oldest surviving English newspaper. and the first copyright act went into effect.

1718, Leeds Mercury first appears.

1785, The Daily Universal launched (then became The Times and The Sunday Times).

1791, The Observer is first published.

1835, Libel Act is put into place, which is the first defamation law in Britain in the 13 century.

1855, Daily Telegraph started.

1868, Press Association set up as a national news agency.

1903, First tabloid style newspaper, The Daily Mirror, launches.

1907, National Union of Journalists founded.

1910, News reel launched.

1916, The British Government decide they need an official newsreel.

1920’s, Cinema popularity increases.

1920, Radio broadcasting in the UK.

1922, BBC formed – Government grant license to operate.

1923, John Reith is appointed managing director of the BBC. Declares it should be the best.

1925, Government recommend BBC should be replaced with a pubic authority.

Late 1920’s, BBC still not allowed to transmit news until after 7pm.

1929, First British newsreel launched.

1932, BBC acquires a newsman to present.

1936, No BBC produced TV news- TV ended after 9pm news.

1939, to 1945, BBC news bulletin fundamental to morale.

1955, ITV launches.

1959, The Guardian starts.

1964, The Sun launches.

1967, Newspapers use digital production (computers) for the first time.

1969, News International acquire The Sun and News of the World.

1971, Use of cost effective offset printing presses, they become common.

1986, News International move titles to a new plant in Wapping. Today, the first colour national daily launched.

1980, CNN launches.

1982, C4 launches, 55mins long news program.

1989, Sky News launches. WWW starts- Tim Berners-Lee.

1991, First website built goes online.

1994, 5 Live launches.

1995, Talk Radio UK launches.

1997, Channel 5 launches Informal news- Newsreaders perched on desk by ITN.

2000, ITN news radio, TV, online channel launched (closes in 2005). 9pm news scrapped, rescheduled to 10pm.

2004, The Times switches to tabloid size.

2005, The Guardian moves to Berliner format, with an £80 million investment in the printing press.

2006, ITN news for mobile launched.

2010, News International place pay-wall around online content. iPad launches.

The History of Journalism shows the timeline of journalism through from the invention of movable print to the invention of the iPad. This is a useful bit of information as I can use this as a source of information for future work if it requires me to cover significant periods in journalism’s history.