This study suggests a time frame for the emergence of a modern news writing style in a mass-market English provincial newspaper. A qualitative analysis of a sample of the Midland Daily Telegraph between 1895 and 1905 demonstrates the process by which news becomes increasingly presented according to the conventions of the inverted pyramid by identifying key shifts in writing style. This methodology draws on the research carried out by Pottker (2003). At the same time elements of editorial innovation (namely developments in the labelling and organisation of content, an increased emphasis on sport, the organisation and presentation of advertisements and the paper's promotion of itself as an advertising medium) are identified to demonstrate that this evening paper is developing rapidly as a commercial product. As such it supports Pottker's (2003, 501) suggestion that news writing is one method by which a paper improves its "communicative quality" with its readers in order to improve its commercial impact.
Bibliographical noteThe journal homepage can be found at: http://www.jbe-platform.com/content/journals/15699854. The publisher John Benjamins should be contacted for permission to re-use or reprint the material in any form.
- English provincial newspaper
- inverted pyramid
- new journalism
- newspaper practice