Government by Journalism

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Government by Journalism was a form of journalism[1] pioneered by William Thomas Stead in which he began to think of journalism as more than just a position to report information, but through the paper the journalist or editor could become ruler.[2][3]

Lord Cromer and Government by Journalism

In 1883, Stead launched a crusade which resulted in Charles George Gordon being sent to Sudan, where he was killed.[4] According to Stead's biographer Grace Eckley, this was an exhibit of Stead's "journalistic prowess".[5] Stead would publish an article titled "Lord Cromer and Government by Journalism"[6] detailing his viewpoint of the affair.[7]

The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon

The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon is an example of 'Government by Journalism', since it led to the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885,[8] also known as the 'Stead Act' or 'Stead's Act'.[9]

W. T. Stead wrote of the connection between the 'Tribute' series and his 'Government by Journalism' in his publication The Review of Reviews: "The Pall Mall Gazette, however, held its hand. Its object being to pass a new law, and not to pillory individuals, there was no need to mention names." [10]

Quotes

They(journalists) decide what their readers shall know, or what they shall not know.[3]
The very conception of journalism as an instrument of government is foreign to the mind of most journalists. Yet, if they could but think of it, the editorial pen is a sceptre of power, compared with which the sceptre of many a monarch is but a gilded lath.[3]
In a democratic age, in the midst of a population which is able to read, no position is comparable for permanent influence and far-reaching power to that of an editor who understands his vocation. In him are vested almost all the attributes of real sovereignty.[3]
A journalist can not only exercise an almost absolute power of closure both upon individuals and upon causes, he has also the power of declaring urgency for subjects on which he is interested. He can excite interest, or allay it; he can provoke public impatience, or convince people that no one need worry themselves about the matter.[3]
Not only can he generate driving force to force measures, and force them through obstacles otherwise insuperable - the journalist can also decide upon the priority of those measures.[3]

See also

References

  1. Baylen, J.O. (December 1972). "The 'New Journalism' in Late Victorian Britain". Australian Journal of Politics & History 18: 367–385. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8497.1972.tb00602.x/abstract. 
  2. (Jun 3, 2013) Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism, 1885-1917. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226021676. “Stead had always been attracted to the idea of the journalist as preacher, but while serving his sentence in Holloway Prison, he began to think about the idea of the journalist as ruler.” 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Stead, William (1886). Government by Journalism. The Contemporary Review. “The very conception of journalism as an instrument of government is foreign to the mind of most journalists. Yet, if they could but think of it, the editorial pen is a sceptre of power, compared with which the sceptre of many a monarch is but a gilded lath.”
  4. (Dec 1, 2003) The General: William Booth, Volume 2. Xulon Press. ISBN 978-1287730040. 
  5. (Mar 8, 2007) Maiden Tribute: A Life of W.T. Stead. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 978-1425727086. 
  6. Stead, William (1908). Lord Cromer and Government by Journalism. The Contemporary Review.
  7. (May 12, 2012) Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of W. T. Stead, Britain's First Investigative Journalist. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 978-1849545853. 
  8. (Sep 10, 2009) Young People and Sexual Exploitation: 'It's Not Hidden, You Just Aren't Looking'. Routledge. ISBN 0415407168. “...contributed to the drive for changes within The Criminal Law amendment Act of 1885, commonly known as Stead's Act...” 
  9. (1912) Some Observations in Europe. 
  10. Stead, William (1908). W. Randolf Hearst. The Review of Reviews.

External links