Journalism of 'the Gentlemen's Club'. The Leeuwardian Newspaper and the town of Leeuwarden, 1879-1040During the nineteenth century the Leeuwarder Courant provided its distinguished, respectable bourgeois readers with an appropriate representation of society. The news selection and arrangement and its restrained and distant style offered them a daily ritual confirmation of the existence and status of the social group they belonged to. In 1914 changes both in society and in the newspaper business forced the paper to expand its readers public to shopkeepers and artisans. Consequently, in order to interest both the old and the newly reached readers, it had to give an account of the increasingly rapid change of city life in such a way as to please both readers groups, to reconcile them. The Leeuwarder Courant chose to uphold a remarkable continuity, the journalists were very prudent: the articles were most diverse, both in content and style. Instead of adapting itself to the petty bourgeoisie the medium chose to integrate this social group in an imaginary cultured bourgeois society. The newspaper resisted the tendency to exchange the common good for local or party interests. But in the end it seemed impossible to avoid this, so the medium tried to reunite the city's different social groups by its neutral style of coverage. Slowly the medium started to take an interest in the lower classes, as long as those who belonged to the latter behaved themselves, acted according to upper class rules, that is.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis

Broersma, Marcel. (2001). Journalistiek van de herensociëteit. De Leeuwarder Couranten de stad, 1879-1940. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 4(2), 67–89. doi:10.18146/tmg.510