The Newsroom blog

24 March 2021

Researching short-lived newspapers

We're delighted to be announcing with Edge Hill University  the availability of a fully funded Collaborative Doctoral Studentship from 1 October 2021 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

A selection of short-lived British nineteenth-century newspaper titles

A selection of short-lived British nineteenth-century newspaper titles

The theme is entitled Short-lived Newspapers: Reassessing Success and Failure in the 19th Century Press, and the studentship will focus on a significant but largely neglected part of nineteenth-century British newspaper history - the newspaper that did not last very long. History tends to be written by the winners, and newspaper history tends to focus on those newspaper that lasted for a good period of time and had a significant. This in tur influences decisions on what gets studied, digitised and made most readily available.

At times as much as half of British newspaper titles 1800-1900 lasted for less than five years, and they weren't all 'failures'. Some covered niche topics and were not intended to last long; some were part of a particular business strategy in which a publisher might produce several titles and see which one succeeded; some merged with other titles; some are just mysteries. Even when they were judged failures, that is interesting, because no newspaper ever set out  with the expectation of failing. The failures look so much like the successes, bar their duration. Whatever the reasons, this is a history ripe for investigation.

The project will have at its core around 200 newspaper titles that we have been digitising as part of the British  Library's Heritage Made Digital programme. It will be jointly supervised by Dr Bob Nicholson and Dr Andrew McInnes at Edge Hill University and by Dr Luke McKernan and Dr Elizabeth Gaskell at the British Library.  The student will spend time with both Edge Hill University and the British Library, where there will be the opportunity to gain a deep knowledge of the Library's newspaper collections, both their physical care and digitisation procedures.

Information on the project and an application form can be found on the Edge Hill University site. The deadline for applications is 1 June 2021 at 13:00.

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