My research would have been impossible without the internet, not just because the digitisation of so many archives allows me to research from home while bringing up my family but also because of the connexions that I manage to make with friends and fellow scholars all over the world. Some of my best friends never seem to be in the same place for more than a week at a time; we keep in touch by skype, apple’s instant messaging service, text messages and email so following a single conversation can require several different platforms! I have seen my PhD colleagues at Manchester less and less over the course of the two and a half years of my study, but we keep in touch via facebook. So I was very pleased to get an email from the US this week, from another PhD student who has similar research interests to my own.

This week I have written and re-written a draft of my final chapter but I’m still working through the ideas, so I’m not happy with it yet. It’s already been through two paper copies that have been cut up and stuck back together, but there’s going to be a lot more cutting and pasting before anyone else gets to see it. The biggest problem has been to define the word ‘news’, which even specialists in the development of early modern news don’t seem to have done. There is a problem in that there are two different types of news: one is the abstract idea of news new information, the other is the way in which this news is presented – the ‘material’ item, if you like. It’s been a heavy week of thinking, with more to come.