Cables and Empire

In the 19th century, competitive telegraph companies helped set the stage for the modern global media system.

“Eastern Telegraph Co.’s System and its General Connections” 1901

The global media system took shape in the last half of the 19th century as key players from the telegraph industry – for example John Pender, the world’s most important telegraph and cable mogul and long-reigning head of the Eastern Telegraph Company, from Britain, William Siemens from Germany, C.F. Tietgen and Henrik Erichsen of Denmark, Gordon Bennett and Jay Gould from the US, and a tight-knit coterie of other figures – parlayed their domestic experience into positions at the apex of the global media system. As they did, they also, at least initially, forged strong ties with news agencies and the press. Indeed, the global news agencies and commercial press relied heavily on the telegraphs and cables and were some of the earliest investors in them.

Robert Pike

Robert Pike is professor emeritus of sociology at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He was head of the Queen's Sociology Department from 1978 to 1989; and shortly thereafter Principal's colleague. His latest book is Communication and Empire co-authored with Dwayne Winseck in 2007-

Dwayne Winseck

Dwayne Winseck is professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, with a cross appointment at the Institute of Political Economy, at Carleton University, Ontario. He is also director of the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project and has been the lead Canadian researcher in the International Media Concentration Research Project since 2009.