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Italian Newspapers

With the rise of the bourgeoisie in Italy during the XVIIIth cent., new spaces were created for literary activities and this resulted in the birth of the newspaper as we know it today. The first news sheets were an instant success as they were written in a simple, colloquial language style, were humourous and also contributed to the creation of modern public opinion, more open and informed than before. People read not only in private but also in squares and cafès which nurtured a desire for debate and discussion. Intellectuals collaborated by gathering into associations and clubs and this paved the way for the pamphlet, a journalistic article; for an increasingly demanding bourgeoisie these pamphlets provided a fast means of spreading information, which was also highly effective for reaching the greatest numbers possible of a non-specialist public. Pamphlets were short essays expounding theories on aspects of politics or current affairs; they were deliberately controversial, written in highly opinionated styles using rhetorical techniques taht were full of satire and paradox. Opinion sheets were compiled either by a single person ( La Frusta by Baretti ) or by a group ( Il Caffè by the Verri brothers, 1764-1766 ), whereas current affairs, politics, local news and business advertisements circulated by means of gazzettes, initially in weekly editions and then as daily publications.

In the XIXth cent., with the need to re-establish culture as a means of providing universal education, newspapers came again to the forefront as the most effective means of orienting public opinion and of efficiently guiding political affairs, though censorship brought in under Napoleonic meant that many newspapers had to circulate in secret or closed down for good. As well, from the mid-XIXth cent. on, the spread of photography with new techniques of reproduction and the invention of the printing press meant that newspapers could be printed in very large numbers in reponse to increasing public demand.

In Italy daily newspapers play a major role in the spread of information. Today as many as three papers still deal only with sport and average circulation figures are still high: for example, at a time of no particularly unusual events and on any other day than Monday – when circulation almost doubles – the most widely read daily sports paper comes out in about 57,000 copies, almost as many as for the most widely circulating daily newspaper in the whole of Italy (87,000 copies).

Depending on their content, daily papers in Italy are classified as ordinary news papers or information papers, sports newspapers or financial newspapers, in addition of course to special party and independent newspapers.







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