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War, Journalism and History

War Correspondents in the Two World Wars- With a foreword by Phillip Knightley

Edited By Yvonne McEwen and Fiona A. Fisken

War, Journalism and History is the first published work to examine an eclectic mix of correspondents during the two world wars who were prepared, often at great personal cost, to inform the public about the obscenity of warfare. Throughout both world wars the lack of credible information being dispatched from fighting fronts to the home front led to the creation of an information vacuum. The void was filled by war correspondents: the heroes, sometimes anti-heroes, of news reporting. This edited volume examines the lives and works of maverick war correspondents such as Richard Dimbleby, Vasilii Grossman, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, Albert Londres, Vera Brittain, and others who, whether through the use of pen or camera, typewriter or radio, tried to secure the integrity of wartime reporting and accurately record history in the making.


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Patrick S. Washburn George Padmore of the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender


: A Decidedly Dif ferent World War II Correspondent On 31 July 1943, the Pittsburgh Courier ran an eight-column feature story about George Padmore, the paper’s World War II London correspondent since 1941. Noting that readers were constantly asking about his back- ground, it said he had been ‘a colonial expert’ for the Communists in Moscow, where he knew Russian Premier Joseph Stalin; he had a world- wide reputation as ‘a racial zealot’ who vigorously fought imperialism; and he was in the ‘forefront’ of black journalists. ‘In his reporting for Courier readers of world events af fecting colored peoples, he has achieved almost complete objectivity’, the paper continued. ‘He has perfected the knack of embracing in paragraphs of interpretative background data, the significant currents in the advancing social, political and economic trends of colored peoples. He is reporter, writer, analyst and interpreter all heaped into one.’ It concluded by labelling him ‘one of the best informed writers of develop- ments in the present war as they af fect colored races’.1 Such ef fusive praise by the Courier was not surprising. Like all of the black newspapers in the United States, it ignored the white press’ reporto- rial goal of objectivity and instead practiced a powerful form of advocacy journalism, continually mixing straight, factual writing with editorialized comments in news stories. In doing so, it pushed hard for more equality for blacks and more recognition of what they were doing to help win the war, both of which were constant themes in...

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