Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Late News

This happened a while ago.
In reading nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century newspapers (disclosure: many of the articles I've discussed are from the Chronicling America site of the Library of Congress, which covers American newspapers from 1836-1922), I've often been surprised how fast news travels. Of course, there was that wonder of modern technology, the telegraph to consider. Often I will see that newspapers are reporting on stories within a day or two of when the events happened.

And sometimes it's slower. I found an short item that was printed in various newspapers on June 19, 1895:
The application for the release of Oscar Wilde pending steps for a new trial has been refused.
This seems to be in reference to the judge refusing bail for Wilde after his arrest subsequent to his failed lawsuit against the Marquis of Queensberry. But that happened in April 1895. The news is a little stale. Since that happened, the second trial (the first criminal trial) had ended in a mistrial with no verdict from the jury. A third trial was conducted on the criminal charges. Between the second and third trials, Wilde was actually released on bail. But even that was old news by June 1895. The third trial had ended.

The *Abbeville Press and Banner* of Abbeville, South Carolina, reported on June 19, 1895 that
At London a verdict of guilty was returned against Oscar Wilde and he and Taylor, an accomplice, were each sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labor. Oscar Wilde's hair was cropped and he was put in stripes.
Old news too. That had happened on May 25, though you wouldn't know from the item. (When I started this blog, I should have thought of following the Oscar Wilde trials in the news—next year!). This was front-page news for the *Evening Star* on May 25, with an evening newspaper in D.C. able to report on events that happened earlier that day in London. This even reached the *Capital Journal* in Salem, Oregon.

Given that some newspapers had reported that he had been convicted nearly a month before, it seems strange that some newspapers were reporting this somewhat stale news.
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1 comment:

  1. #Esperanto : Multajn dankojn pro via afiŝo. Ja estas interesa kiom longe estas bezonata por novaĵo transiri. Sed por mi, la plejgrava ero estas via ligo al , Chronicling America. Jaŭ. Tuj mi eltrovis >4000 citojn por la vorto "Esperanto"! Kia trezoraĵo. Dankon, denove.

    English: Many thanks for your post. It is interesting how long it takes for the transmission of news. But for me, the most interesting part is the link to (Library of Congress), Chronicling America. Yow. Immediately i found more than 4000 cites for the word "Esperanto"! What a treasure trove. Thank you, again.


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