This featured in the series Sixty Years Ago in June/July 1980.
The first London newspaper to receive news by wireless was the Daily Mail, taking a message from Marconis at Chelmsford, on May 28, 1920. The June issue of Wireless World carried an article on the Mails station and took the opportunity to do a bit of crystal-gazing.
The Daily Mail installation consists. chiefly of a six-foot frame aerial of the solenoid type, wound with 48 turns of wire, used in conjunction with Marconi 7-valve high frequency amplifiers, and detectors, Types 55A and 55D, which have been previously described in our pages and are familiar to most of our readers. Type 55 is one of the most sensitive receivers in existence and is particularly suitable for use with a loop aerial. The tuning arrangements permit of reception on wavelengths of from 600 metres to 18,000 metres. Damped and undamped waves and wireless speech can be equally well received on this apparatus, which is no amateur set but an instrument which has been thoroughly proven both in war and commerce, and is capable of detecting signals from any high-power station within a radius of 3,000 miles. In a vision of the future one sees the inside of a newspaper office, where reporters are busy receiving 'copy' from their colleagues in provincial towns, whilst automatic receivers click out tape records of news messages sent at 100 words a minute from the worlds high-power news-distributing stations. From this to direct type-setting by wireless is, maybe, not so far a cry as from Marconis early experiments to his first great achievement, transatlantic wireless telegraphy!
If, in addition, this future newspaper draws its electrical power from some huge Wireless Power Station, why then - then we shall have really begun in earnest to use that incomparable, universal medium, the aether.
A visit to Carmelite House and a conversation with Daily Mail officials revealed that the latter intend to lose no time in assisting wireless and journalism to join hands. They look forward to the time when a reporter shall start for the scene of his 'story' in an aeroplane - 'and arrive', one of them humorously interpolates - and deliver his 'copy' to headquarters by a system of linked wired and wireless telephony, the message being received at the papers own wireless-station. They intend to make as much use of wireless as possible and entertain no doubt but that present day apparatus can fulfill all the demands likely to be laid upon it by Fleet Street in general. The idea of an 'exclusive' message being flung out on an indiscriminating, generous aether, and intercepted by rival papers, created a disturbing ripple in the flow of conversation. Knowing that a similar objection has been levelled at wireless telegraphy for twenty years we do not view this question in quite such a serious light. There is this point, too, which must be taken into account - directive wireless is probably not far distant.