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W. T. SteadNonconformist and Newspaper Prophet$
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Stewart J. Brown

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198832539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198832539.001.0001

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To Be a Christ

To Be a Christ

Striving for Righteousness at the Pall Mall Gazette, 1880–8

(p.41) 2 To Be a Christ
W. T. Stead

Stewart J. Brown

Oxford University Press

As assistant editor, then editor of the Pall Mall Gazette from 1880 to 1888, W. T. Stead pioneered what became known as the ‘New Journalism’, or journalism with a mission. The chapter considers Stead’s three major newspaper campaigns of the 1880s—for improved working-class housing, for sending General Gordon to the Sudan to achieve a just peace, and for exposing and ending child prostitution—with the latter ‘Maiden Tribute’ campaign leading to the ‘martyrdom’ of his trial and imprisonment. It also explores Stead’s involvement in the Irish land war and the ‘Bloody Sunday’ riots at London’s Trafalgar Square, and his friendship with Annie Besant. Underlying his crusading journalism were Stead’s religious beliefs, his sense of the editor’s desk as his pulpit, and of the editor as preacher and prophet, calling on people to follow the example of Christ in sacrificing self-interest and actively working for social reform and social justice.

Keywords:   W. T. Stead, Pall Mall Gazette, Salvation Army, General Charles Gordon, Khartoum, prostitution, Maiden Tribute, Criminal Law Amendment Act, Irish land war, Annie Besant

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