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Fetherling, Douglas
Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1990. 140pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-19-540707-5. (Perspectives on Canadian Culture series). CIP

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Thomas F. Chambers

Volume 18 Number 5
1990 September

Douglas Fetherling is the literary editor of the Kingston Whig-Standard. He has written a factual account of the history of newspapers in Canada from the early days of Canadian history up to the development of corporate journalism, when large chains began to control most daily papers. The Rise of the Canadian Newspaper will prove useful to students who have assignments on this topic. It contains interesting stories that young people will enjoy.

The Rise of the Canadian Newspaper barely touches on the role of the press during significant periods in Canadian history. Some of Fetherling's comments are, as a result, quite superficial. For example, when discussing changes in newspapers at the end of the Victorian era, when many papers began and many died, he writes "newer cities... without Montreal's momentum, also became newspaper graveyards through the inexorable progress of mercantilism and laissez-faire economics." These reasons for the death of newspapers do not allow for poor quality in reporting, writing or editing, which must have been partly responsible.

Some important technological changes are mentioned. Two examples are the introduction of the steam press and the use of the telegraph. Prior to use of a steam press in Halifax in 1840, presses were run by hand. Before the telegraph, editors would have to await the arrival of newspapers from abroad to learn of important international events. Fetherling barely mentions the introduction of computers, which have changed newspaper production more than any other technological change.

Thomas F. Chambers, Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology, North Bay, Ont.

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