Lonsdale, S. (2014). ROAST SEAGULL AND OTHER QUAINT BIRD DISHES. Journalism Studies, doi: 10.1080/1461670X.2014.950474

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The accepted narrative of British press conduct during the First World War is highly negative. Commentators overwhelmingly agree that newspapers downplayed the horror of life in the trenches and afterwards were found to have published fabricated atrocity stories to encourage hatred of “the Hun” on a grand scale. Scholarly assessment of news coverage of women’s involvement in war work is also predominantly negative, highlighting patronising and unrealistic portrayals of munitions workers and others. These narratives, however compelling, ignore sections of newspapers and other current affairs journals devoted to helping readers trying to feed families on restricted budgets with scant food, who were grieving for or caring for sons and husbands and who were adjusting to bewildering disruptions to family life. The dominant historical narratives ignore the development of a previously unexamined form of “lifestyle” journalism and a genre of vivid features journalism focussing on lives on the “Home Front” and which helped undermine traditional boundaries between the domestic and public realms. This article asks whether “soft” genres of journalism actually better reflected the realities of Wartime readers’ lives, and better satisfied their need for information than propaganda-driven news pages. Assessing readers’ responses to these different genres of journalism helps explain why readers can simultaneously mistrust and also enjoy their news media.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in JOURNALISM STUDIES on 2nd September 2014, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: British press; First World War; Home Front; lifestyle journalism; newspapers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: School of Arts > Department of Journalism

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