The J.K. Rowling Index

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Daily Prophet

Index ID: PMDPR — Publication date: February 16th, 2014

There is only one wizarding newspaper in Britain, discounting such small circulation publications such as The Quibbler. The Daily Prophet, whose headquarters are in Diagon Alley, is delivered by owl on a daily basis to nearly every wizarding household in Britain. Payment is effected by placing coins in the pouch tied to the paper-owl’s leg. Occasionally (when something particularly interesting or exciting happens, such as the illegal flight of a Ford Anglia the length of Britain) an Evening Prophet edition will be rushed out.

The Prophet is not an entirely unbiased source of news, and sometimes displays unfortunately sensationalist tendency best epitomised by star reporter Rita Skeeter. Ostensibly an independent news source, it has more than once been influenced by the Ministry (or ruling power) of the day to hush up certain stories. A clue to its overriding motivation may be found in its name, ‘prophet’ being a homonym of ‘profit’ (although I was also taken with the idea of a wizarding newspaper claiming foreknowledge of news to come.)

Wizardkind tends not to require alternative political flavours in its news coverage (which is not to say, however, that the Prophet does not have a political agenda). As a small, outsider and occasionally beleaguered community, wizards are, by and large, interested in the same kinds of stories: the Quidditch League results, whether anyone is in trouble for infractions of the International Statute of Secrecy, what irritating legislation the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office has come up with now, and when the next Celestina Warbeck/Weird Sisters concert will take place.

It seems likely that wizards will continue to favour old-fashioned newsprint, even while the Muggle world resorts increasingly to the internet. If Muggle newspapers had moving photographs, their circulation might be similarly buoyant.

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