Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The first instant book ...

... Daniel Defoe | The Storm | Writing Up a Storm | Masterpiece by John J. Miller - WSJ.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Defoe's eyewitness account is valuable, but his real innovation was to collect the observations of others. Journalism was then in its infancy, and there was nothing like systematic and objective reporting on contemporary events. Within a week of the storm's strike, however, Defoe was running newspaper ads that asked readers to submit stories. He and his publisher, John Nutt, must have regarded this invitation as an investment, knowing that they would absorb the cost of correspondence: In those days, the recipients of mail paid for postage.

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