In the eighth year of Trinity’s reign, there was an invention that would change the course of history for the better. The invention of print.
A system that allowed the mass-production of books, art and the subject of this essay, newspapers.
This was considered a great invention, a huge technological advancement that would improve the life of our citizens. It’s what would lead to wide-spread affordable and later even free education through books. It’s what would lead to history being recorded.
It was big. And one of the most noticeable changes, was the appearance of newspapers. Before newspapers, news was spread by word of mouth, it was unreliable and not always trusted. Newspapers changed that, by swapping out kids shouting for the written word, no longer was any of the information reliant on the memory of its bearer. Instead, as long as the original writer knew of which they spoke, it was trustworthy.
Now, it is true that not every writer knew what they were talking about when they wrote these articles and several false narratives were spread during this time. But these cases were few and far between, the damage minor in comparison to the good newspapers bought.
Yet despite this, Queen Maria who came after Trinity was scared of the press. She viewed them as a threat to her reign. Every mistake she made would be heard and talked about by everybody in the kingdom, it would be recorded on paper for future historians to read.
How could she allow this? The answer was, she would not.
Maria went out of her way to make the press look evil, she told her people, her kingdom of the dangers they posed. And when that didn’t work, she took a much more… manipulative stance.
She hired several of her men to create a newspaper company, at the time it was called ‘Legacy’, and it came out every day, everywhere in the kingdom, it was cheaper and more competitive than any other newspaper. Selling at a major loss. Because of this, major press companies began closing, incapable of competing.
People didn’t really have a preference back then.
It was year nine of Maria’s reign when the newspaper started. It was year fifteen when there were only three major newspapers left. Two holding on for dear life.
Here is where Queen Maria made a mistake. Thinking this battle was won, she fired a lot of her reporters, she had just enough to keep the newspaper going for a couple more years.
Out of the dozens of reporters who were fired, a small group banded together to get back at the queen. Jerome Trill, Melba Merkle and Holly Kellom. If any of these names ring a bell, well they should, after this they would all go on to be very famous reporters and activists for freedom of speech. Holly Kellom even died for her freedom, kidnapped and executed by a neighbouring kingdom.
Needless to say, these three reporters put all their own money into printing one last newspaper, one that would be spread through out the entire kingdom and handed it out for free. The front cover, the headliner, ‘Monarch censors press through unfair competition’.
The rest of the stories in that edition were every single-story Maria had ordered they keep quiet on. Mostly small blunders that, had they been talked about in the instance, would not have been considered too big of a deal, but given the context and all at once. There were outcries.
After that the ‘Legacy’ was renamed ‘Royal Bulletin’, it was rebranded, re-hired many of it’s employees, increased its price so it would no longer be unfair competition, and still exists today, reporting on official stances and agreements from the monarchy.
Maria never got the respect of her people back. Year 28 of Maria´s Reign was her last year, she stepped down and handed the throne of to King Peter. A choice most believe was motivated by her inability to regain her credibility.
This article was written by Itazu Warren as part of a school project.