Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Newspapers have always been a crucial component of British news media, informing the public sphere, articulating the public interest, and instigating and conducting significant debates on issues vital to democracy. Writers as diverse as Edmund Burke and Richard Carlyle have claimed newspapers as a fourth estate of the realm, a vigilant watchdog holding the powerful to account on behalf of the public. More prosaically, newspapers have also been the archivists and chroniclers of the local, regional, and national communities in which they have circulated, recording the various rites of passage (births, marriages, and deaths) of those communities, as well as the activities of judicial and political elites and institutions, manifest in court reports and publication of the proceedings of parish councils and Parliament. But newspapers have increasingly tried to entertain as well as inform their readers, and to report the social and cultural life of communities. These accounts published in ...