Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Making a Difference for 182 Years - and Counting; This Week Is Local Newspaper Week. It's the Chance for Us to Blow Our Own Trumpet Just a Little Bit, Especially as This Year's Theme - Making A Difference - Is Something That We Are Very Proud of. GRAEME WHITFIELD Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Making a Difference for 182 Years - and Counting; This Week Is Local Newspaper Week. It's the Chance for Us to Blow Our Own Trumpet Just a Little Bit, Especially as This Year's Theme - Making A Difference - Is Something That We Are Very Proud of. GRAEME WHITFIELD Reports

Article excerpt

HAPPY birthday to us. The Journal is today 182 years old and, as coincidence would have it, it is also the start of Local Newspaper Week.

A celebration of the best of local newspapers was not exactly on the minds of The Journal's founders on May 12, 1832, when they published our first edition. Instead, they had no less an aim than the overthrow of the Government of the day with what is, in hindsight, the rather regrettable aim of opposing Earl Grey's Reform Act.

"We have to commence our editorial labours by proclaiming the momentous intelligence of the defeat and dissolution of the Grey administration!" thundered The Journal's first editorial. "The immediate causes of this great, and, we will add, most gratifying event, are fully developed in other divisions of our Journal."

Opposing the father of British democracy - and a North East landowner to boot - were Tyneside businessmen John Hernaman and Robert Perring, backed by a group of prominent Tories. The first edition of the paper cost seven pence, around 7% of an average Tyneside worker's weekly wage and the equivalent of PS35 in today's money.

Our original publishers might have been on the wrong side of history and, frankly, charging through the nose, but at least they were brave. Two months after publication of the first issue, half a dozen men in the pay of Lord Lambton, Earl of Durham, burst into John Hernaman's office to attack him. ("With stick and whip they fell upon the proprietor of this journal and perpetrated an assault the result of which is considerable personal injuries," it was reported.) A fortnight after this, the son of one of the attackers grabbed Hernaman by the throat and called him a scoundrel who should be booted out of town and threatened to black his eye. Hernaman was attacked again in 1844 by a disgruntled reader who waved an issue of the paper in his face and then "inflicted a series of heavy blows on his head and other parts of his body".

From those inauspicious and surprisingly violent beginnings has sprung a fixture in North East life. Enlarged in 1841 and becoming a daily publication in December 1860, it was re-launched as the Newcastle Daily Journal in January 1861. Ownership passed six years later to the hands of the Northern Counties Conservative Newspaper Company (theirs for the princely sum of PS2,357.15s). We absorbed the Newcastle Courant and merged with the North Star and then were bought first by Allied Newspapers in 1937 and later by Kemsley Newspapers.

The North Mail was amalgamated into The Newcastle Journal in 1939 and the paper changed its name to Turn to Page 16 the simple The Journal in 1956. Ownership changed again in 1960 when Kemsley was bought by The Thomson Organisation, colour pages were introduced in 1984 and the paper went tabloid in 1992. …

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