Studies in Newspaper and Periodical History: 1995 Annual

By Michael Harris ; Tom O'Malley | Go to book overview

that the article itself is quite a different matter. In the April number, Anne Applebaum's piece on the damaging absence of history in Eastern Europe appears on the cover drenched in sexual innuendo as "PostCommunist Blues." The male culture of journalism is so pervasive in Prospect that it is almost certainly invisible to the journalists who produce it. But just as in the nineteenth century it became clear that women made up a large proportion of the market potential, so it should be clear to the editors of Prospect that to configure news in such a way that excludes or trivializes women as contributors and readers is counterproductive.

This example of the unconscious replication of gendered categories of journalism does I think make the argument for the study of journalism, both in the academy and outside, to include the history of the press. What is normalized and ideological in Prospect is clearly discernible in the history of the nineteenth-century press. But the case of Prospect does present a challenge to all of us: What would constitute emblems or codes of female address in a middle-class periodical in the present day? And in what ways can "news" be configured differently so as to free it from the constraints of the narrow definitions of the "political," and from the male networks, values and discourses that still dominate the cultural formation of journalism?


NOTES
1
Anon., "When Mourning Breaks," Guardian ( 20 May 1996), 3 (tabloid).
3
The point was made orally at a media history seminar in March 1996 at the Institute of Historical Research, London.
4
For a recent discussion of this antipathy see Ian Christie, "Lights, Cameras . . . No Action," Times Higher Education Supplement ( 24 May 1996), 16.
5
Examples include Engel own Tickle the Public ( London, 1996) and Jeremy Black The English Press in the Eighteenth Century ( London, 1987). An exception is Aled Jones' Press, Politics and Society ( Cardiff, 1995).
6
Examples are Francis Mulhearn The Moment of Scrutiny ( London, 1979), Jon Klancher The Making of English Reading Audiences, 1790-1832 ( Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), Kathryn Shevelow Women and Print Culture ( London, 1989) and Margaret Beetham A Magazine of their Own? ( London, 1996). But English in the past has produced a number of monographs focused on allegedly literary newspapers and periodicals that have otherwise foregrounded evidence in much the same way as historians; these include important monographs such as Katherine Mix A Study in Yellow ( Lawrence, Kans., 1960).
7
These include the invaluable Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, edited by Walter and Esther Houghton, and latterly Jean Slingerland, Alvin Sullivan's British Literary Magazines and John North Waterloo Directory, as well as Rosemary VanArsdel's and J. Don Vann's guides to the Victorian

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