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Why do we read about accidents? Lessons from 18th-century English newspapers

By Leslie Ritchie, Professor of English Literature, Queen's University, Ontario
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“If it bleeds, it leads” is a well-known maxim associated with journalism. Accident reports often attract readers, even when their headlines give away the plot. This has been true for over three hundred years, since reading the news became part of daily life in 18th-century Britain.

Just four pages long, British newspapers of the 1700s had few images, no headlines and little separation between articles. Their random arrangement of news paragraphs is…The Conversation

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