Essay on The Effect of the Wapping Revolution on British Journalism

Essay on The Effect of the Wapping Revolution on British Journalism

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The Effect of the Wapping Revolution on British Journalism

In 1986, when Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News International, moved
production of his major titles (The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun
and The News of the World) from Fleet Street to Wapping, he set about
an irreversible chain reaction in the structure of journalism in the

Although I believe that some kind of major political and technological
change in the press was inevitable and arguably overdue by 1986, this
essay will argue that the Wapping Revolution itself was bad for
British journalism.

Rupert Murdoch began monopolizing the UK news market when he bought
The News of the World in 1968, followed soon after by The Sun, now the
UK's highest circulating tabloid with over 3.5m copies. By 1981 he
also owned The Times and The Sunday Times, giving him a substantial
grip on the quality newspapers, as well as the popular market.

This period in UK press history (1974 to 1989) was one of rocketing
competition and commercialization, as papers began 'spicing up' their
image and content in order to attract and retain readership and to
remain competitive.

The middle ground between tabloids and broadsheets was disappearing as
papers resorted to sex, scandal and shock tactics to make money. As a
result, standards in journalism were slipping before the Wapping
revolution, as price wars raged between newspapers. The process of
quality papers resembling their tabloid counterparts in both layout
and content is often described as tabloidization (Conboy, 2004).

A good example of declining standards in journalism prior to the
Wapping Revolution is the birth of Murdoch's T...

... middle of paper ...

...the Conflict &
Its Impact on the National Newspaper Industry", Avebury, 1992

· Conboy, "Journalism: A critical History" Sage, 2004

· Wintour, "The Rise & Fall of Fleet Street", Hutchinson, 1991

· Koss, "The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain" London,

Websites Visited:

· "British Journalism Review", 1999-2004, Article by Roy Greenslade.


· "Rupert Murdoch & his papers", Extracts from the Guardian, The
Independent, Socialist Worker and Socialist Review.


· "Trashy Tabloids", Investigations into the declining standards of
British Newspapers.


· "The Free Dictionary", Sources of Farlex circulation figures.


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