Monday, December 29, 2008

What Can Renaissance Journalism Tell Us Today?

So at long last, my piece on an exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library -- "Breaking News: Renaissance Journalism and the Birth of the Newspaper" -- has been published by The Nation in its latest issue. (You can see it online here.)

The good news is that though it took awhile to get it published (I wrote it back in November), the exhibit itself continues until the end of January, which gives you plenty of time to go see it yourself. (Details and opening hours are here.)

In all the clatter and cacophony of debate about how the newspaper is dying, it is useful at times to have a look back at history and see what it tells us about the seeding and blossoming of an industry. Christopher Kyle (a historian as Syracuse University) and Jason Peacey (a historian at University College in London) did a masterful job of doing that.

I hope you'll read the whole article -- and particularly if you're in journalism -- take a quick trip over to the Folger and have a look around. It's the sort of exhibit that will inform -- in a subtle but powerful manner -- the decline and transformation of the print news industry.

Image of the front page of the "Mercurius Rusticus" courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library

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