Checking Financial Power: Newspaper Coverage of the New York Stock Exchange's Bid to Control the Ticker, June 1889

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date

Winter 2010


In the late nineteenth century—a time when there was no government agency to act as an overseer on the actions and power of the New York Stock Exchange—the press took on this role instead. This article examines New York's five largest daily newspapers for their coverage of the week in 1889 when the NYSE cut off all ticker service from its floor, forcing brokers and members to employ messenger boys to transmit prices. It was the most public and dramatic maneuver in the NYSE's two-decades-long fight to gain complete control over who could receive its valuable information and how. Of 51 news stories and 11 editorials, only two gave sympathetic treatment to the NYSE's stance, and both appeared on the first day. After that, not a single news story nor editorial backed the NYSE's move as a wise one, and many of the news stories were chock full of critical editorial comments.


This article was originally published in American Journalism. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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American Journalism


Copyright © 2010, American Journalism Historians Association