The movement of print information across space and time

Michael Palmer
University de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris

This paper presents work on international news-agencies, including a review of archival material in Paris, London and new York concerning exchanges, rivalries and cooperations between nascent news-agencies in the mid-I9th century: Reuters and the Press Association in Britain, Havas in France, The A P in New York, with (lesser) attention pad to Wolff in Germany, Stefani in Italy and Fabra in Spain.

What was the nature of the “international” news-flow in mid-century? What was the status of these early news-agencies? The French agency, Havas (1835) rapidly focused on the collection and transmission of national and international news.; The London-based agency Reuters (1851), largely eschewed British “domestic” news. The New-York agency, The AP (1848) was, initially, primarily concerned with The German and Viennese agencies, (Wolff, the ‘Corrbureau’) were primarily initially concerned with “domestic news”. What do these different strategies reveal? And what do “house-histories” of these agencies indicate? As to means of transmission, the homing pigeon and ‘pony express’ were – slowly – supplemented by the nascent electric telegraph network; is this period of ‘hybrid transmission techniques” a salient factor in the movement of print information across space and time? What do we know about early news-agency personnel?

Newspapers and Periodicals in Britain and Ireland from 1800 to 1900