“At the corner of the bridge, too, I saw one of the common contrasts of that grotesque time–a sheet of paper flaunting against a thicket of the red weed, transfixed by a stick that kept it in place. It was the placard of the first newspaper to resume publication–the Daily Mail. I bought a copy for a blackened shilling I found in my pocket. Most of it was in blank, but the solitary compositor who did the thing had amused himself by making a grotesque scheme of advertisement stereo on the back page.”
In the weeks following invasion, the news organisations of the world were quick to find their feet. Not only are stalwarts like The Times, The Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail recovering but there are a plethora of independent news-sheets making their rounds in London. Most of them carry sensationalist headlines and in many cases can be obtained for free from their various hawkers.
Telegrams, of course, provide our international news. While the Martians had decimated the telegraphic communication infrastructure in England, they had not seriously damaged the links across the Channel or the Irish Sea. News from Paris flooded in about their own invasion and soon after we heard reports from Dublin, Berlin, Geneva. It seems odd now to think that it was easier to get news to Paris than it was to get news from Manchester or Edinburgh, but that was the way it was until the lines were again restored, a process which would take months and not weeks.
In every town and district, you will find notice boards with entreaties, offers, wishes and promises. Everyone needs some sort of help, be it help to find someone, needing help to rebuild, not wanting to travel alone in these dark days. There is certainly no reason to be idle and perhaps even less so now than before – I wonder at the actual worth of my savings considering the world came so close to ruin. How much is this paper worth?
All said, a good wage can be had for a fast runner in these times. Better still if he had a bicycle, can handle a horse or has an encylcopaedic knowledge of the train timetables. Information now, much more than before the invasion, is a valuable commodity and with millions of people worldwide displaced or missing family members, News has become the new currency.