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Reporting 1916 in the North of Ireland: a study in the political equivalent of the Doppler effect.
Horgan, John
In physics, the Doppler effect describes how the properties of waves - as in sound waves - change in frequency as an observer, or listener, moves in relation to their source. This study of the modalities of reporting and commenting on the events of 1916 in Dublin across both the Unionist and Nationalist newspapers in what was to become Northern Ireland after 1922 offers new perspectives on the way in which both physical distance and embedded political positions will influence the selection and the presentation of news. While it demonstrates – as might have been expected - that intra-communitarian and sectarian tensions are echoed in the reports concerned, it also reveals sometimes unexpected distortions and adds several layers of complexity to the study of both Unionist and Nationalist media in this period. It also indicates the weakness of the traditional Orange/Green dichotomy as an explanatory paradigm of the complexity of Northern Ireland at this time. The ways in which 1916 in Dublin is reported in Northern Ireland is, in this sense, therefore also a finely-tuned instrument for analysing the vagaries of the relationships there between Nationalists and Unionists, and within Nationalism, on the eve of one of the most profound shifts in Irish political history. Finally, it is a unique guide to how not only journalists but public figures, often with a confidence that was to be belied by subsequent events, interpreted or mis-interpreted the Rising and its potential consequences. It is worth remembering, especially by historians, that judging public figures by the effects of their actions sometimes ignores a possibly vital factor: these public figures – unlike the historians who comment on them - were not in a position to know what happened next. This is why the journalistic evidence of their mind-sets, properly understood, can and indeed should form a vital part of the interpretative framework.
Keyword(s): Journalism; History; Mass media
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): Horgan, John (2015) Reporting 1916 in the North of Ireland: a study in the political equivalent of the Doppler effect. In: Newspaper & Periodical History Forum of Ireland Conference 2015, 13 -14 Nov 2015, Dublin, Ireland.
File Format(s): application/pdf
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First Indexed: 2017-01-13 05:11:47 Last Updated: 2019-02-09 06:13:25