By Stephan PigeonIn the nineteenth-century newspaper marketplace, journalists and editors prized access to the latest news. Consistently delivering desirable correspondence and the most up-to-date information meant a dedicated readership. An edge on competitors meant greater sales and profits.
While many British newspapers paid for updates and intelligence through a news agency or supplied their own correspondents, some papers relied on reprinting news from articles that had already been published. Without an effective copyright in news, texts regularly circulated throughout the press. While cutting out an article and reprinting it – known as ‘scissors-and-paste’ journalism – was a handy method to deliver the latest information, it still meant waiting for another paper to publish the news first. For some newspaper proprietors, this was not sufficient.