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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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Brian P. D. Hannon Richard Dimbleby: The BBC’s Original War Reporter


Television viewers from the late 1940s to the 1960s knew him as an elec- tion-night anchorman, commentator at state events and the host of the acclaimed news programme Panorama. Yet before becoming a regular presence on the small screen, Richard Dimbleby was the ‘original’ war reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and one of the most prominent voices to bring the Second World War to millions of radio listeners. Dimbleby was the first BBC journalist to cover conf lict in the field and continued to be the first to report many of its most important stories throughout the war. He was also original in the sense of being an innovator who helped to usher in a new era of radio journalism at the BBC, bringing war news to people in a more direct and emotive manner than ever before experienced. Yet his career was not f lawless and his work raises questions about Second World War reporting in terms of journalistic objectivity and propaganda. A pioneer A one-page internal BBC document, dated 12 January 1946, sums up the basics of Dimbleby’s career with the Corporation – date of joining, date of leaving, positions held, salary grade – and carries a single-paragraph assess- ment by administrator A. E. Barker stating that Dimbleby’s work with the News Services was ‘a field in which he was really a pioneer’. Barker notes 154 Brian P. D. Hannon that there were also ‘little weaknesses’. It was a combination of pioneering and weaknesses that marked Dimbleby’s career,...

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