Travelling Chronicles: News and Newspapers from the Early Modern Period to the Eighteenth Century. 2018, 299-320
In this chapter, I aim to show that concerns beyond the political were involved in the sharp distinction between news and opinion that was articulated in the censorship instruction. I will argue that the structure of the media landscape in eighteenth-century Denmark-Norway was shaped by the controlling state which based its conception of news – as distinct from opinion – also on epistemological worries concerning the reliability of truth claims which haunted all of Europe at the time. I will raise the question of whether this distinction had only repressive effects and will try to show how the ‘censorship rescript’ of 1701 can be said to have contributed productively to shaping not only the book market, but the entire media landscape in eighteenth-century Denmark-Norway. My contention is that the sharp distinction between news and opinion opened a favourable space for the medium of the journals, turning the craze for news into what was referred to at the time as a fast-spreading ‘writing disease’, an urge to express one’s own knowledge and opinion on a variety of matters. As a consequence, the journals, rather than the news press, became the vehicle for the phenomenon that we can call the ‘Northern Enlightenment’.
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