You gotta be authorized!

Newspapers provided news, information and opinion at a reasonable cost. As we saw in past cultures, the big-shots in charge like to exercise tight control on news, information and opinion. The early newspapers of the 1600s & 1700s had to be ‘authorized.’ Authorized newspaper printers were given permission to publish by the government. Maybe the government covered some of the costs of running an authorized newspaper. Running an unauthorized newspaper had some downsides. In England and her colonies, unauthorized newspaper printers were shut down by government officials, all copies destroyed and everybody who worked there arrested.

This happened to America’s very first newspaper publisher in Boston on September 25, 1690. Today, only one copy of that first newspaper—Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick—exists.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

2 responses to “You gotta be authorized!

  1. My great great grandfather was put in jail for a couple of years for his satirical magazine that had a poke at some of the big wigs here in Sydney Australia. It was the mid 1800’s. He was a colonial doctor so I was surprised to find this news out. Wonder if it was associated with what you mention.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Good on your granddad! A 2-year stretch seems cruel & unusual for publishing satire. I hope he bore it proudly—as a badge of honor. My post is about the late 1600s but, as we’ve been learning, governments throughout history don’t like it when they don’t control what people write and read.


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