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Understanding News by John Hartley

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8  PRODUCING THE NEWS: FOR OURSELVES

The first freedom of the press consists in its not being a trade.

Karl Marx (cited in Harrison 1974, p. 237)

Producing the audience

News is largely a product of history. And the history of news since the nineteenth century has been the history of a translation from popular defined as ‘for the people’, to popular as ‘for the market’. Hence the way news is produced resembles in many respects the way commodities are produced. And one of the commodities newspapers like to produce is readers. Unable to survive at a price people can afford to pay without including advertising (see Dyer 1982), newspapers deliver readers to advertisers. And not just any readers. The Daily Herald, last of the radical popular dailies, ...

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