We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spread rumours and reports of things . . . but such things as these were gathered from the letters of merchants and others who corresponded abroad, and from them was handed about by word of mouth only; so that things did not spread instantly over the whole nation, as they do now.
– A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe, 1722 (check it out on amazon.ca or amazon.com).
Emphasis mine – I dearly wish I could show this man the internet.