The departure of the Agence France-Presse bureau from Fleet Street on Sunday, the last international desk remaining on the strip, is a further reminder that home of British journalism is now history and shorthand.
The image of Fleet Street today, filled with investment bankers and lawyers, is radically to different to that of thirty years ago, when the street was bustling with British and international newspaper hacks moving in and out of their headquaters. As of Sunday, Scottish publishers D. C. Thomson's London bureau will be the only newsroom left standing in the street, laments the South Africa's The Times.
The migration away from the historic centre is a tangible representation of the evolution of
print journalism. The transition was sparked in 1986, when media mogul Rupert Murdoch made the controversial decision to move his papers, The Times, The Sun, The Sunday Times and the News of the World to modern, purpose-built offices in Wapping, East London. This set the trend, with other publishers seeking to modernise their production and distribution methods by transferring their titles to offices further east in the city. These buildings offered lower rent and had greater capacities for further development of computer technologies.
Journalism professor and former editor of the British tabloid, The Daily Mirror, Roy Greenslade, described how "Fleet Street represents the past in every way: the way we produce newspapers and the way we produce journalism".
"Clattering typewriters, hot metal, the smell of ink, the thunder of the lorries delivering the rolls of newsprint and the more-or-less 24-hour drinking".
The term "Fleet Street" evokes the vibrancy of the British press and its international counterparts. Even though there is now no equivalent physical hub of the industry, the continued use of the term as shorthand suggests that the dynamism that it represents lives on in the city's bigger and arguably, better, newsrooms.
Source: The Times