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The news is awfully new

GK Chesterton makes an observation in his biography of St Francis that explained something I think we've all noticed. He remarked that "Newspapers not only deal with news, they deal with everything as if it were entirely new." Journalists, says Chesterton, are in the habit of printing the endings of stories without ever giving us the beginning.

I think that is often true, but not always. Celebrities, for instance, receive detailed accounts of their lives. It does seem to be true about the story of the economic crisis or the story of global warming, recently renamed climate change.

But slowly, the first acts of these dramas are seeping out, thanks to Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web, which celebrated its 20th birthday this year.

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