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The number of words on the average newspaper page decreased over the nineteenth century, partly owing to changes in the law; in the UK, for example, the removal of Stamp Duty, previously applied to any page containing printed news, led to advertising becoming increasingly integrated into the standard newspaper page. More generally, lower printing costs led to newspapers having more pages while decreasing in price. The rise of New Journalism in the UK led to the use of larger headlines and more subheadings, further reducing the space on the page for articles, though some broadsheets, such as The Times and the Daily News, retained their dense columns of text. Long leader articles, common at mid-century, were replaced with much shorter front-page articles. The Victorian newspaper reader would not have been aware of the exact number of words on the page and traditional press historians have referred instead to “column inches”; the word count is now available through OCR.
“The newspapers linked to the New Journalism which emerged towards the end of the century tended to cut the leading article to a short pithy paragraph or two, more easily digested by the speed reader.” [DNCJ, JRW, 352]
“A rough estimation shows that the number of distinguishable content pieces within one newspaper issue increases dramatically over the years. In a newspaper of the 18th century some dozens of articles and advertisements can be found, already in the 19th century hundreds of single news can be found and at the heyday of newspapers in the 20th century even some thousand news are included in one issue. This development goes along with an enlargement of the paper size and a reduction of the font size so that more and more text can be delivered to the reader.” [Europeana Newspapers 2015, 19]