News and Journalism in the UK

By Brian McNair | Go to book overview

7

BEFORE AND AFTER WAPPING

The changing political economy of the British press
This chapter contains:
• A brief history of the British press
• A review of the events leading up to, and the effects on the press of, the Wapping revolution
• Discussion of the changing editorial allegiances of the British press and the extent of editorial diversity.

It has been argued that Fleet Street, the historic centre, physically and figuratively, of the British newspaper industry - ceased to exist on 26 January 1986, ‘the day on which Rupert Murdoch proved that it was possible to produce two mass-circulation newspapers without a single member of his existing print force, without using the railways and with roughly one-fifth of the numbers that he had been employing before’. 1 The flight of News International’s newspaper production from buildings in the City of London to a custom-built, high-technology ‘fortress’ at Wapping in London’s Docklands was, on one level, the entirely rational and, as it turned out, highly profitable act of a ruthless and hard-headed publisher. But it also, in combination with the actions of another media entrepreneur, Eddie Shah, set in motion processes which, according to one viewpoint, revitalised a moribund, loss-making industry and created the conditions for its profitable expansion. An opposing view asserts that the ‘Wapping revolution’ has in fact done nothing to address the long-standing problems of the British press, particularly those of concentration of ownership, right-wing political bias and deteriorating editorial standards.

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News and Journalism in the UK
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Figure and Tables xi
  • Preface to the Fourth Edition xii
  • Part I - The View from the Academy 1
  • 1 - Why Journalism Matters 3
  • 2 - Journalism and Its Critics 30
  • 3 - Explaining Content 54
  • Part II - Issues 79
  • 4 - Broadcast Journalism 81
  • 5 - Television Journalism: 104
  • Further Reading 140
  • 6 - Radio 141
  • 7 - Before and After Wapping 153
  • Further Reading 176
  • 8 - Competition, Content and Calcutt 177
  • 9 - The Regional Story 198
  • 10 - Conclusion 219
  • Notes 226
  • Bibliography 235
  • Index 241
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