Had university schools of journalism existed in the 1850s they might have convened conferences to discuss the consequences for newspapers of the abolition of stamp duty. Papers on the potential impact of the electronic telegraph, the rotary press and uniform railway gauges might have contemplated the future of print as a medium for mass education. It is less likely that they would have foreseen the advent of the New Journalism or that Alfred Harmsworth’s populist Daily Mail would rapidly make itself more politically powerful than titles created to influence politics. Such analysis emerges from instant assessment and risk-taking. It thrives on public debate promoted by publication in mainstream media.

Leader: Times Educational Supplement