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Language Variants

Titel der Zeitung; Krantentitel; (Sanoma)lehden nimi; Título del periódico.

Usage Notes

The term newspaper title is consistently applied across contemporary and academic literature. It is sometimes also used metonymically to refer to the newspaper or periodical as a whole. In the nineteenth century, the term “title” was used to refer to the title printed on the masthead for newspapers, magazines and other periodicals as well as for articles in reference to the printed title. Newspaper titles appear in the masthead on the front page (or title page) of a newspaper and in the folio, a line at the top of each subsequent page that also includes the date, the page number, and often a section title. The title at the top of the page could also be referred to as a running title. In the nineteenth century, mastheads could also graphically represent the geographic coverage of the publication, definitions of audience and the themes and topics of the publication. In the British Library collections, each title and title change is given a unique ID number, which is included in the metadata for scanned newspapers.

During the nineteenth century, commentators might drop the article (‘the’) when referring to newspaper titles but, as several newspapers might have similar titles (e.g. The Guardian, Preston Guardian, Poor Man’s Guardian, The Guardian of Education), the entire title was generally used – or a standardised shortened version (e.g. The Times as compared to The Times of London).


Referring to the name of the newspaper

Fig. 1

Masthead of the British Herald, 1 January 1861. Wikimedia Commons.

“A common feature of many Victorian periodicals and newspapers, mastheads, along with the title pages of volume reissues and part-issue wrappers and covers, sought to establish an instant ‘brand image’ for the journals they represented.” [DNCJ, BM/AGJ, 401]

Masthead: the title of the newspaper at the top of the front page.” [Franklin, 201]

Folio: a line at the top of a page featuring the dateline, page number, the name of the newspaper and often a simple title indicating content, such as ‘news’, ‘comment’ or ‘sport’.” [Franklin, 201]

Fig. 2

Example of a folio from The Argus, 17 January 1865: 4. Trove.

“From that point the newspaper’s title, which in previous issues appeared as it had since its inception, the Watchman, and Jamaica Free Press, ran simply as the Jamaica Watchman, dropping ‘Free Press.’” [Ward, 2018]

“The masthead includes the newspaper title statement found on the first, or front page. The masthead may also be called the nameplate, flag, or banner […] In addition to naming the newspaper, the masthead may also state the edition, place of publication, designation, day of publication, the newspaper’s motto or philosophy, and the price. If the newspaper lacks a masthead, take the title from any source within the issue, and note the source from which the title was taken.” [Sagendorf and Moore, 9]

“The title of the paper, Illustrated London News, had already been settled […] the title heading to the paper engraved” [Vizetelly, 1.226-27]

“Within every newspaper issue some elements can be found which are not directly part of the content but are only included for providing some basic information to the user. These elements are mainly the title section, the running title and the imprint.” [Europeana Newspapers 2015, 13]

“Sometimes known as the masthead, the titlepiece is the most fiercely protected element of any newspaper.” [Keeble and Reeves, 29]

“The source of the title is the masthead of the first or earliest available issue.” [Sagendorf and Moore, 9]

“Åbo Tidningarin, joksi Suomen ensimmäisen lehden nimi lyheni, …”

Referring to the newspaper or periodical as a whole

“Happily, more titles have since appeared; while the number of pages across these platforms seems prodigious, the number of titles, as Leary noted, is only a tiny proportion of the ‘offline penumbra.’” [Brake, 2015a, 249]

“Some of the newspaper press directories—notably Mitchell’s and May’s—provided their readers with a huge, spectacular annual “Newspaper Map of the United Kingdom” showing the density of titles in given geographical centres…” [Brake, 2015b, 570]

“In 1861, one writer estimated that the number of newspapers in England had doubled from 562 to 1,102, although it was acknowledged that many of these titles were short lived.” [O’Malley, 592]

“This fluid network of print, in which titles change, merge, discontinue and spawn ever more titles, challenges us to think more critically about the coherence of any single serial title amid the stuttering rhythms of the marketplace.” [Turner, 121]