Journalism and History

This month we are focusing on Journalism and History. Read the Editor's Introduction and access the articles below for free via this page until the end of August 2016.



I have been rather surprised, but very much delighted, while compiling this Virtual Special Issue, by the range and quality of contributions by journalism historians and about journalism history which have been published in Digital Journalism, Journalism Practice and Journalism Studies across the last two decades. The journals, of course, have published special issues devoted to journalism history – Martin Conboy’s fascinating collection about ‘How Journalism Uses History’ in Journalism Practice 5(5), Adrian Bingham’s group of papers titled ‘Writing the First World War after 1918’ in Journalism Studies 17(4) and Jürgen Wilke’s collection on The Changing European Newsroom Since the 18th Century in Journalism Studies 4(4). A paper from each of these special issues is included here.

But what has been especially rewarding in curating this collection for the Resource Centre is the sheer amount of scholarly work about journalism history which has been published in the journals’ pages beyond the special issue format, the remarkable range of subject matter which these articles have addressed, as well as the central significance of the issues and concerns raised for the scholarly field of journalism studies. Perhaps by default rather than design, the collection below illustrates the cross disciplinary character of journalism studies and reminds us how valuable it can be to consider issues from a different scholarly perspective and myriad ways of working.

Even among historians, debate seems endemic. The issue opens with Martin Conboy and Mark Hampton considering the best ways to research and write journalism history, followed by: Allissa Richardson’s study of Pullman Porters as an early example of Black networked journalism; Elizabeth Gray’s account of newspapers’ uses of poetry in reports of Mill Strikes in the 18th century; Atwood and de Beer’s brilliant and fascinating assessment of the first Journalism PhD thesis (about news values) submitted to the University of Leipzig in 1690; Sarah Lonsdale’s research about the response of 20th Century novelists to the arrival of growing numbers of women journalists in newsrooms; John Nerone and Kevin Barnhurst’s seminal account of the history of newswork in the broader context of a history of newspapers; Horst Pöttker’s assessment of a number of divergent accounts of the emergence of the inverted pyramid at the end of the 19th Century; Steven Maras and Joyce Nip’s intriguing study of Xu Baohuang’s 1919 textbook Xin wen xue with its discussion of a norm of objectivity in the Republican era in China; Murray Dick’s paper which discusses the uses of infographics as propaganda at the Daily Express from 1956 to 1959, and finally; Andie Tucher’s study of teaching journalism history to journalists in the context of a Journalism school with a one year programme ‘jam packed’ with skill based professional courses.

This is an absolutely cracking collection of papers, brimming over with argument and evidence; and yours for free for one month. Enjoy!!!

Bob Franklin