The time lag in news reporting, 1776…

June 18, 2009 by  
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Communication throughout the colonies in the 18th century was a slow process, particularly in winter. It took postriders a week to journey from New York to Boston, at least two days from Philadelphia to New York, and two weeks or more to the Southern states. connecticut-journal_july_10A good example of the slowness of mail delivery is revealed by an analysis of the printing of the Declaration of Independence in the various colonial newspapers. The first printing was in the Pennsylvania Evening Post of July 6. Three days later it appeared in Baltimore, and four days later in New York. The list below gives some indication of the time lag distances required, but it should be remembered that the printing often had to await the proper day of the newspaper's publications as many were just weekly while others were bi-weekly or tri-weekly, although a few of the papers published "extraordinary" issues. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE NEWSPAPER PRINTINGS July 6  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Evening Post July 8  Philadelphia, Dunlap's Pennsylvania Packet July 9  Philadelphia, Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote July 9  Baltimore, Dunlap's Maryland Gazette July 10  Baltimore, Maryland Journal July 10  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Gazette July 10  New York, Constitutional Gazette July 11  New York Packet July 11  New York Journal July 11  Annap0lis, Maryland Gazette July 12  New London, Connecticut Gazette July 13  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ledger July 13  Providence Gazette July 15  New York Gazette July 15  Hartford, Connecticut Courant July 15  Norwich Packet July 16  Exeter, New Hampshire Gazette, Extraordinary July 16  Salem, American Gazette July 17  Worcester, Massachusetts Spy July 17  New Haven, Connecticut Journal July 18  Boston, Continental Journal July 18  Boston, New England Chronicle July 18  Newport Mercury, Extraordinary July 19  Newburyport, Essex Journal July 19  Williamsburg, Virginia Gazette by Purdie (extract; in full July 26) July 20  Williamsburg, Virginia Gazette by Dixon & Hunter July 20  Portsmouth, Freeman's Journal July 22  Watertown, Boston Gazette Aug. 2  Charleston, South Carolina & American General Gazette Aug. 17  London, The London Chronicle
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2 Responses to “The time lag in news reporting, 1776…”

  1. BloggerDude on October 8th, 2009 7:24 pm

    I don’t know If I said it already but …I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks, :)

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  2. The Greatest Scoop of All Time? - Journal of the American Revolution | Journal of the American Revolution on January 24th, 2013 6:22 am

    […] The full text of the Declaration of Independence is first found in the British Chronicle for August 16, 1776, according to The Nation on February 17, 1898. While I haven’t seen the original British Chronicle, I have seen the August 17 issue of the London Chronicle, which features the full text of the Declaration, a full 10 days before the Belfast News Letter. The Edinburgh Advertiser printed the full text of the Declaration on August 20, as did the Edinburgh Evening Courant on August 21. Also, keep in mind that before word of the Declaration arrived in London on August 10, it had been printed in at least 29 American newspapers. […]

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