With the rise of print as a medium of distribution, resources to share information such as newspapers, pamphlets and books became much easier to access. This change not only began to keep the public more informed on current events, but also prominent individuals who were involved in them. Prior to this shift, the only household names were those of royalty or leaders in the church.
Peter Ernst, Count von Mansfeld, better known as Count Ernst Mansfeld, was a German mercenary who was a leader of the Protestant side of the Thirty Years War. Although defeated early in his efforts in 1619 at the Battle of Sablat, he continued to push for the cause and would eventually lead his troops to victory. The events of the Thirty Years War were covered extensively in English newsbooks, and between 1622 and early 1624, Count Ernst Mansfeld was mentioned in nearly two thirds of their titles.
With this emphasis on Count Ernst Mansfeld in the news coverage of the War, it comes as no surprise that he was well known among members of the public. When he visited London in 1624, he was hailed as a hero. As he walked through the streets, he was followed by cheering crowds.
The increase in the velocity of news being shared during this time period allowed for names like Count Ernst Mansfeld to be brought to the public’s attention. He would be one of the first of many names that would become prominent in the public eye because of this change.
Its effects can still be seen today in our news coverage, with names such as Casey Anthony, Bill Gates and Kim Kardashian, who bring up instant feelings, thoughts and opinions for each of us. Though some find the spotlight more reluctantly than others, news has a funny way of creating celebrities through its stories that has lasted to the present day.