The Star

The Star was founded by the radical journalist and Irish Nationalist MP, T. P. O'Connor, in 1887. O'Connor was the editor but much of the work was done by his assistant, H. W. Massingham. Other radicals who worked for The Star included George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Belfort Bax, William Clarke, H. N. Brailsford and Ernest Parke.

Ernest Parke's reporting on the Jack the Ripper case increased the circulation of the newspaper. One important innovation introduced by The Star was the regular political cartoon. The Star was the first newspaper to employ David Low when they brought him over from Australia in 1919.

The Star ceased publication in 1960.

Primary Sources

(1) Thomas Power O'Connor, Memoirs of an Old Parliamentarian (1928)

I made an excellent choice of an assistant editor of The star in the late Mr. H. W. Massingham, who was then in the obscurity of a syndicate agency of small importance; and for the first time his brilliant pen got a real scope. He used to talk with rapture of a gentleman whose name neither I nor, indeed, anybody else had ever heard before; his name was George Bernard Shaw; he was appointed as one of the assistant leader-writers.

I was recommended by Sir John Robinson, of the Daily News, to a young man named Ernest Parke, then working in the office of a City newspaper. Ernest Parke was then a young, flossy-haired man, with a keen face, a lithe and agile body, a tremendous flair for news, and capable of twenty-four hours' work, if necessary, in a single day. He was, as he is, a singular mixture of shrewdness and ideals; and intense Radical, and at the same time a thoroughly practical journalist. He might be trusted to work up any sensational news of the day, and helped, with Jack the Ripper, to make gigantic circulations hitherto unparalleled in evening journalism.

(2) Henry Hamilton Fyfe was a reporter on The Times when he read the first edition of The Star.

I recollect very well reading the first number of T. P. O'Connor's Star (that was in 1888). I read it over my cocoa and aerated bread lunch - with excited enjoyment. T. P. O'Connor, a journalist of genius, really was the founder of the New Journalism which ousted those dull morning papers ten years afterwards. His Star offered good reading from many pens, some already famous, some to be. He was bold enough also to declare a policy of justice for the under dogs. "The rich, the privileged, the prosperous," he wrote, "need no guardian or advocate; the poor, the weak, the beaten require the work and word of every humane man and woman to stand between them and the world."