The ACTA DIURNA
Acta Diurna (latin: Daily Acts sometimes translated as Daily Public Records) were daily Roman official notices, a sort of daily gazette. They were carved on stone or metal and presented in message boards in public places like the Forum of Rome. They were also called simply Acta or Diurna or sometimes Acta Popidi or Acta Publica.
The first form of Acta appeared around 131 BCE during the Roman Republic. Their original content included results of legal proceedings and outcomes of trials. Later the content was expanded to public notices and announcements and other noteworthy information such as prominent births, marriages and deaths. After a couple of days the notices were taken down and archived (though no intact copy has survived to the present day).
Sometimes scribes made copies of the Acta and sent them to provincial governors for information. Later emperors used them to announce royal or senatorial decrees and events of the court.
Other forms of Acta were legal, municipal and military notices. Acta Senatus were originally kept secret, until then-consul Julius Caesar made them public in 59 BC. Later rulers, however, often censored them.
Publication of the Acta Diurna stopped when the seat of the emperor was moved to Constantinople.
The Acta Diurna to some extent filled the place of the modern newspaper and of the government gazette. Today, there are many academic periodicals with the word acta in their titles (the publisher Elsevier has 64 such titles).
Acta Diurna introduced the expression “publicare et propagare”, which means “make public and propagate.” This expression was set in the end of the texts and proclaimed a release to both Roman citizens and non-citizens.
KEY POINTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE NEWS PRE INTERNET
MAJOR HUMAN DESIRE ‘THE NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON’ TO BE INFORMED TO BE IN THE KNOW – survival strategy – smart decisons
1. IN ANCIENT HISTORICAL EMPIRES & IN DICTATORSHIPS TODAY – RULERS HAVE TOTAL CONTROL OF INFORMATION TO CITIZENS – NEWS AS PROPAGANDA –
2. AS FREEDOMS CAME TO CITIZENS THROUGH DEMOCRCIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD INDEPENDENT NEWS ORGANISATIONS AROSE FREE OF GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS – REFERED TO AS THE 4TH ESTATE OR ‘THE PRESS’ (medieval concept of rankings 1st Estate Clergy – 2nd Estate Nobility – 3rd Estate Commoners)
THE PRESS OWNED BY MEDIA OPGANISATIONS BECAME VERY POWERFUL IN DEMOCARATIC SOCIETIES AS THET BECAME THE NEW OWNERS OF ‘INFORMATION & THE NEWS’
3. FROM THE 4TH ESTATE EVOLVED THE IDEA OF JOURNALISM AS A SERVICE FOR THE PUBLICS RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON – IN THEORY THIS IS AN IMPORTANT SERVICE IN A CONSUMER SOCIETY
4. HOWEVER THIS HAS ALL CHANGED SINCE THE ARRIVAL OF THE INTERNET AS MANY ‘NEWS’ ORGANISATIONS IN PRINT & BROADCAST MEDIUMS HAVE FAILED TO REPORT ‘NEWS EVENTS’ IN AN OPEN HONEST AND ACCURATE WAY
But what is the news ?
– Essentially ‘information’ about our culture …
Let’s take a look at what the NEWS really is in a consumer society.
What is a JOURNALIST supposed to do?
What can News Reporters learn from Scientists?