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Media History in Canada Database

Author: Koerber, Duncan
Title: The Role of the Agent in Partisan Communication Networks of Upper Canadian Newspapers
Year: 2011
Publication: Journal of Canadian Studies
Volume: 45
Issue: 3
Pages: 137-165
Abstract: The early newspaper in Upper Canada is often portrayed as a product controlled and operated solely by a partisan editor who sent newspapers to subscribers. The agent, who provided distribution and political feedback to partisan editors, is a rarely examined participant in the partisan newspaper of early Canada. This study examines the letters and biographies of agents to understand agents’ contributions to the early press. Biographies and letters of Reform agents reveal their partisan character and the practical work they did in collecting subscription money. Biographies of Conservative agents reveal extensive networks of relationships between agents who worked for multiple newspapers and the post office. A picture develops of the early partisan newspaper as a collective effort by hundreds of Upper Canadians to influence and circulate newspapers in a burgeoning public sphere. – by Duncan Koerber