Irishman was prototype for war correspondents


AN IRISH journalist in the Napoleonic era may have been the prototype war correspondent, the Newspaper Periodical History Forum of Ireland conference in Dublin heard at the weekend.

Peter Finnerty, an Irish-born reporter for the Morning Chroniclenewspaper during the Napoleonic era, may have been the pioneer war correspondent, Prof Brian Cathcart of Kingston University London told the conference.

WH Russell, an Irish reporter covering the Crimean War in the 1850s, is often credited as being one of the earliest war correspondents, the conference heard.

The forum also heard evidence that Ireland had lost much of the sympathy it had in Italy when the Civil War began in 1922.

Dr Chiara Chini of the University of Florence traced the coverage of the Irish War of Independence and Civil War in some of the Italian newspapers.

A study of the way the ESB’s newspaper campaign to promote the Shannon hydroelectric scheme to women was presented by McKaylea Sutton of Marquette University in Wisconsin.

The unspoken gender assumptions of the 1920s were evident in the campaign such as appealing to women that electricity could help them to run a more efficient house, the conference heard.

Prof Chris Morash of NUI Maynooth gave the keynote address on thinking spatially about newspaper history.

He spoke about newspapers through the centuries giving people a sense of where people were living, whether that be in Ireland, the British empire or Dublin.

The conference aimed to help people working on history in print media to exchange views and the forum aims to encourage the study of print journalism, chairman and historian Felix Larkin said.

It was the fourth year of the event which had gone “from strength to strength” in a short period of time with many international speakers, he said.