How did newspapers in the 1700s-1800s get up-to-date stories from all over the world?


How could a newspaper in the Britain report on something that happened in the Americas?

In: 1

As soon as the telegraph came out they used it.

But before that they were never really up-to-date. News traveled at the speed people traveled, which meant that it often took months to know what was going on in other places.

>”Eventually telegraph lines spanned the entire globe, making the world a smaller place, and it transformed the news-gathering business, which, up to that point, confined itself mostly to hyperlocal coverage. Newspapers that did run national or foreign news did so days or even weeks after the events happened. According to Standage papers actually held stories, rather than print them, because they wanted to ensure they had enough material to fill the news hole the following week.”

The first transatlantic telegraph cable was completed in 1858, so you could actually get next-day news from Europe after that date.

Before then things came in on a delay.

The Battle of New Orleans was famously fought fifteen days *after* the war of 1812 had formally ended, because word hadn’t yet reached the armies.

Newspaper could only print news as fast as they could get it.

However since nobody else could hear about it before hand it was still “new” to the locals when it was published.

Once telegraphs were a thing news could spread faster than people could carry information, but before that news travels as letters and in the heads of people.

One weird thing about the situation in the Americas was that news didn’t spread evenly or linearly. Just because a place was closer to some event did not mean it happened about it first. Before the railroads the fastest wail to travel from the east coast to the west coast was by boat down the coast to panama, over land in a horse cart and back up the coast by ship again.

Apparently in 1841, the news of the death of President William Henry Harrison had taken 110 days to reach Los Angeles according to Wikipedia.

Also daily newspapers weren’t a thing for most of the 1700s. the first daily newspaper in the new world was published in 1783.

News were not quite as fresh as we are used to today.

By the time the transcontinental telegraph was completed in 1861 news could travel a lot faster and was a lot fresher when it reached its destination.

From newspapers in America that were shipped to Britain. Benjamin Franklin made a fortune with his newspapers partially because he was a deputy postmaster and got the British newspapers first and reprinted the UK news first in Philadelphia