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CFP: The News of the World in History (11/15/2011; 2/24/2012)

The News of the World in History
King’s College London
24 February 2012

Founded in 1843, The News of the World was one of the UK’s longest-running Sunday newspapers when it came to its inauspicious end in the summer of 2011. Gone, but not forgotten, the NOTW continues to be of interest as the full ‘story’ of the hacking scandal is revealed in the wake of parliamentary and other investigations. The NOTW will continue to make the news for some time to come.

Initially a broadsheet transformed into a tabloid by News International only in 1984, the NOTW  has always been one of the most read newspapers in Britain. During the Victorian period, it had one of the largest circulations, catering in particular for the working classes, and at the time of its closing, it was the highest selling newspaper of any kind in the UK. Its history has always been lively and controversial, with sensational and investigative journalism a mainstay of its news. As one media historian has claimed, the NOTW always had something of the ‘saucy seaside postcard’ about it, and as such, it may have had a unique place within British news culture.

Throughout media coverage of the paper’s demise in 2011, there were surprisingly few discussions that took a historical view or sought to understand the title within the framework of media history. This day conference seeks to redress that, while considering a range of issues related specifically to the title, since the mid-19th century.

We seek papers that take a historically informed view of any relevant topic, including the following:

  • The closing of the NOTW
  • ‘Sensation’ journalism
  • Sunday papers, in the 19th, 20th or 21st century
  • Illustration/graphics in NOTW
  • Investigative journalism
  • The history of ‘hacking’
  • Circulation and mass readership
  • Proprietors, press barons and corporate power
  • Globalization and media structures
  • Celebrities, now and then
  • Newspapers and the law (libel etc?)

Other topics are welcome.

The conference is organized by Laurel Brake (Birkbeck) and Mark W. Turner (King’s College London), in conjunction with the journals Media History and Victorian Periodicals Review.

Please send proposals (not more than 250 words) for papers to Mark W. Turner by 15 November 2011mark.2.turner@kcl.ac.uk

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