Module Identifier HYM8130  
Module Title WAR AND THE MEDIA  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Sian H Nicholas  
Semester Semester 2  
Co-Requisite HYM0130 , HYM1030  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   15 Hours Introduction and 6 x 2 hour seminars, plus tutorials  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 1 X UNASSESSED ESSAY 4,000 WORDS & 1 X 6,000 WORDS ASSESSE  100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Identify and critically analyse the primary historical sources relevant to the mass media and war in the modern period.

Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant historiography, its evolution and the key problems currently addressed by historians in this field.

Discuss with others the interpretative problems and prospects associated with this topic.

Illustrate, analyse and evaluate both primary sources and the associated historiography in an extended written discussion.

Brief description

This module is designed to enable students to study in depth the role of the mass media in wartime from the mid nineteenth century to the present. The module will highlight two aspects of this subject in particular. First, the development of war reportage from the pioneering newspaper reports of the Crimean war though to the twenty-four-hour `instant? news of recent wars: the technical, logistical, military and political constraints on the media?s coverage of wars during this period, and how the mass media have sought to challenge or accommodate them. Second, the role of the media as, more generally, a propagandist for (or against) war; here particular attention will be paid to the effects of war coverage on home audience(s), and how the mass media have shaped attitudes to warfare in general and specific conflicts in particular. The principal case studies will be drawn from the British experience, although American and German examples will also be studied. Underlying all these points is the fundamental question: how effectively?but also how accurately ? have the mass media reported war to their audiences, and with what wider historical consequences?


This module equips students to investigate an aspect of the history of the mass media in depth, through a wide-ranging historical analysis in combination with the study of a range of contemporary historical sources.


1. Introduction: war, society and the mass media
2. The birth of the war correspondent: the Crimean War and the American Civil War
3. Patriotism and war: the Boer War
4. Censorship and control: the First World War
5. Total war and the mass media: the Second World War
6. The media as the `enemy within?? Vietnam and the Falklands War
7   Twenty-four-hour-news wars: the Gulf Wars

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
P. Knightley The First Casualty: from the Crimea to the Gulf War, the War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth-Maker
S Carruthers The Media in Wartime
D Welch and M Connolly (2004) The Media at War
G Boyce, J Curran, P Wingate, eds. (1978) Newspaper History from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day
GW Steevens (1900) From Cape Town to Ladysmith
M Sanders and PM Taylor (1982) British Propaganda during the First World War
G Malins (1920) How I Filmed the War
M Balfour (1979) Propaganda in War 1939-45
S Nicholas (1996) The Echo of War: Home Front Propaganda and the Wartime BBC
N Pronay and DW Spring eds (1982) Propaganda, Politics and Film 1918-45
J Mueller (1973) War, Presidents and Public Opinion
R Harris (1983) Gotcha! The Media, the Government and the Falklands Crisis
PM Taylor (1992) War and the Media; Propaganda and Persuasion in the Gulf War


This module is at CQFW Level 7