July 22, 2015:
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles
“A.D. 793. Here terrible portents came about over the land of Northumbria, and miserably frightened the people: these were immense flashes of lightning,and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air. A great famine immediately followed these signs; and a little after that in the same year on 8 January the raiding of heathen men miserably devastated God’s church in Lindisfarne island by looting and slaughter. And Sicga passed away on 22 February.”
How would you write a report of a year in three sentences? Perhaps, for a year like 2001, you might be able to narrow it down to one event, particularly if you are American. The three sentences above are the entire record for the year 793, the year the Northmen (Vikings) appeared again on the shores of the British Islands in what would be a complicated and historic relationship spanning the next couple hundred years.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles have many years for which the record is only one sentence long.
“A.D. 814 . This year died Leo, the noble and holy pope; and Stephen succeeded him in the papal government.”
Although based on previous annals, the first contemporary reports come from around 892:
“A.D. 891 . This year went the army eastward; and [Eastern French] King Arnulf fought with the land-force, ere the ships arrived, in conjunction with the eastern Franks, and Saxons, and Bavarians, and put them to flight. And three Scots came to [English] King Alfred in a boat without any oars from Ireland; whence they stole away, because they would live in a state of pilgrimage, for the love of God, they recked not where. The boat in which they came was made of two hides and a half; and they took with them provisions for seven nights; and within seven nights they came to land in Cornwall, and soon after went to King Alfred. They were thus named: Dubslane, and Macbeth, and Maelinmun. And Swinney, the best teacher that was among the Scots, departed this life. And the same year after Easter, about the gang-days or before, appeared the star that men in book-Latin call “cometa”: some men say that in English it may be termed “hairy star”; for that there standeth off from it a long gleam of light, whilom on one side, whilom on each.
“A.D. 893 . This year went the large army, that we before spoke about, back from the eastern district westward to Bologne; and there were shipped; so that they transported themselves over at one time with their horses withal. And they came up with two hundred and fifty ships into the mouth of the Limne, which is in East-Kent, at the east end of the vast wood that we call Andred. This wood is in length, east and west, one hundred and twenty miles, or longer, and thirty miles broad. The river that we before spoke about lieth out of the weald. On this river they towed up their ships as far as the weald, four miles from the mouth outwards; and there destroyed a fort within the fen, whereon sat a few churls, and which was hastily wrought. Soon after this came Hasten up with eighty ships into the mouth of the Thames, and wrought him there a work at Milton, and the other army at Appledore.”
From these entries the scope of information available to the journalist, or chronicler, is apparent, as is, from the wealth of chronicles available during this time, the conducive environment for chronicling and other intellectual/scholarly work under king Alfred, who conscientiously caused the humanities to flourish — something that can be compared to media situations in various parts of the world today.
– Day Blakely Donaldson, Publisher
January, 2021 The Speaker has begun publishing articles again in a wading-in way. A lot of the initial work is platform and systems work. Getting the website how it should be, setting up new social media channels, setting up sources and ways to view sources.
We started sharing a couple of articles to the CSISN page. One was President Trump silenced on top social media platforms after mob storms Capitol. Quite a few of the comments were about how ‘this site is from Columbia [sic] and everyone should block it’ because ‘it’s stirring up trouble.’ Of course The Speaker isn’t based in Colombia, but we have staff there. What’s happening is that the CSISN Facebook page is mostly published to by the social media person who is in Colombia. (CSISN is also not based in Colombia). One day, if you do this, Facebook will send a message saying the country origin of your page has been changed to Colombia (or whatever country). You can’t edit it, even if it’s misleading.
We also lost our original The Speaker News Journal Facebook page, it seems, because the account that Admin’ed seems to have been deleted or blocked at some point. I tried for several days to find another person or account that might have Admin access to it. Although the site only had 800 likes, those were The Speaker likes, and while we have pages that are much bigger, those people came to like the Facebook page through our articles mostly. I don’t even remember how that got built up, but I think most of it was just organically through people going to either the old thespeaker website or thespeakernewsjournal.blogspot.com site that I started up for a month or so (and has been left as it was left for a few years). Also, the first likes for a page are the hardest. Getting 10 likes without inviting anyone is hard. Getting 10 more when you have 10,000 likes is easy. Anyway, we created a new TSNJ Facebook page. Today it has 6 likes, without any direct invites.