Journalism during This Era
Newspapers become information enterprises
At the dawn of the 20th Century, the industrial and economic boom in Canada led to changes in the newspaper business. Most newspapers distanced themselves from political parties, reporting more on current events. Progressively, the opinion-oriented press yielded to an information press.
Daily newspapers with the greatest circulation were the Star (1869-1979) and La Presse (1884-), both based in Montréal. They focused on public journalism, reporting on local events affecting the ordinary man and campaigns in favour of the working class. Thus, these newspapers targeted the growing working population in an industrial city like Montréal. Because increasing numbers of people now knew how to read, the number of potential readers also increased.
|Evolution of the circulation of the Star and La Presse (1885-1920)|
|1885||23 803||9 852|
|1890||30 563||16 898|
|1895||38 603||34 346|
|1900||50 941||66 147|
|1905||56 674||85 440|
|1910||68 850||97 050|
|1915||109 429||138 229|
|1920||105 032||141 573|
Improved methods of transportation and telecommunications
Technical progress in transportation and telecommunications facilitated news gathering. The railway and electric tramway allowed reporters to converge quickly on the locations of events. The telephone provided fast access to sources of information. Telephone lines linked the entire continent. Radiotelegraphy (wireless telegraph) transmitted news from many international press agencies, generally in under 24 hours.
Canada was a vast, sparsely populated country. In 1917, to facilitate the exchange of news across the country, a group of newspaper editors created The Canadian Press (La Presse Canadienne). This was the country's first national press agency to produce its own dispatches and reports. Service in French at this agency began in 1951.
Specialized journalism and changes in page make-up
The work of the journalist was becoming specialized. Reporters collected information on events in the field while writers worked at publishing the newspaper. Some journalists (reporters or writers) were assigned sources or particular subjects, for example City Hall to cover municipal politics. Journalists (reporters, writers and news agency correspondents) prepared almost all newspaper articles.
Parallel to this, other types of journalism were emerging: reporting, interviewing, etc. News and reporting were taking on new forms and specific styles.
Journalism was becoming a trade unto itself, but working conditions remained difficult: many hours per day and week and low-paying wages. Some women joined the ranks of daily newspapers.
Some significant facts related to the press as an industry
|1869||The Evening Star|
|1919||La Revue moderne (merged with Châtelaine in 1960)|
|1930||Ancestor of the Montréal Matin: Illustration from 1930 to 1936; Illustration Nouvelle from 1936 to 1941|
|1860-1880||Wood pulp replaced cotton fibre in the production of newspaper.|
|1870-1880||Newspapers and magazines introduced illustrations.
The rotary press came into use.