A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 22, 2012
“Journalism is literature in a hurry”

"Journalism is literature in a hurry” has been credited (since at least 1973) to British poet and cultural critic Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), but there’s no evidence that he said it. “Journalism is literature in a hurry” was said in 1894 by Sir Francis Jeune, president of the Probate and Admiralty Court, in a talk about English journalism.

Lord Morley (1838-1923), a British Liberal statesman and newspaper editor, spoke about the saying in 1909 and denied it was his; Morley probably would have credited Matthew Arnold had Arnold been known for the saying at that time. “Journalism is literature in a hurry” has been included in many collections of quotations about journalism.


Chronicling America
6 May 1894, New-York (NY) Daily Tribune, pg. 22, col. 5:
ENGLISH JOURNALISM.
ITS RELATION TO JOURNALISM—THE
PROFESSION AND ITS PROFESSORS
-- THE NEW DEPARTURE OF
“THE DAILY NEWS.”
London, April 17.
A rather remarkable thing ha s happened. A toast to “Literature” has been proposed at a public dinner—that is not remarkable—it has been replied to by an eminent judge, and the eminent judge has spoken with civility and interest of journalism. That would not, I suppose, strike you as remarkable in America. It is remarkable here, where journalism, for all its lofty tone in print, holds a personal and social position below that of America, and very much below that of France. The judge was Sir Francis Jeune, president of the Probate and Admiralty Court; one of the three or four great positions on the Bench. Sir Francis said that literature had now taken journalism into partnership. If it were necessary to admit that journalism was literature in a hurry, it was literature still, and some of it of a high order, though perhaps ephemeral. It was, moreover, responsible for a great deal of the welfare of the nation.

Google Books
1 June 1895, The Author, pg. 19:
THE RIGHT HON. SIR FRANCIS H. JEUNE, P.C.
(...)
Therefore I decline the white sheet, I am not prepared to do penance for the observation, and I still venture to maintain that journalism is literature in a hurry. (Laughter.)

26 June 1909, New York (NY) Times, “Lord Morley’s Address,” Saturday Review of Books, pg. 404, col. 1:
What is literature and what is journalism, and to journalism, “literature in a hurry?” Apparently these questions are not so simple as they seem.
(...)
Is journalism literature in a hurry? It was when Lord Morley came to a consideration of this phase of writing, the connection, or the relation between literature and journalism, that he became most interesting. He said that he had been accused of the saying, “Journalism is literature in a hurry.” This he denied, adding:

“You have to go a great deal deeper than that.”

23 August 1973, Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville, AR), pg. 7, col. 1:.
“Journalism is literature in a hurry.”—Matthew Arnold

Google Books
Peter’s Quotations:
Ideas for Our Time

By Dr. Laurence J. Peter
New York, NY: Quill
1993
Pg. 325:
Journalism is literature in a hurry. —Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of Zingers, Quips, and One-Liners:
Over 10,000 Gems of Wit and Wisdom, One-liners and Wisecracks

By Geoff Tibballs
New York, NY: Carroll & Graff
2004
Pg. 294:
Journalism is literature in a hurry. MATTHEW ARNOLD

New York (NY) Times
Rules of Engagement
By TOM BISSELL
Published: November 13, 2005
(...)
Matthew Arnold famously said that journalism was “literature in a hurry.” The analytic content of these Iraq documentaries sometimes feels like journalism in a hurry. These are partial maps drawn while still within the maze of war.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Saturday, December 22, 2012 • Permalink