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Defining Objectivity within Journalism
An Overview

Abstract

The article seeks the roots of the journalistic concept of objectivity in various theoretical schools. It argues that the concept of objectivity in journalism originates in the positivistic tradition and, furthermore, that it is strongly related to tan earlier theoretical school within historiography. Journalism has made several attempts have been made by journalism to break free of the positivistic objectivity paradigm, none of them very successful, however. The paper discusses each of these attempts. Finally, using the concept of objectivity as a prism, the paper sketches out what might be termed a landscape of journalism theory.

Open access
Pictorial Real, Historical Intermedial. Digital Aesthetics and the Representation of History in Eric Rohmer’s The Lady and the Duke

Abstract

In The Lady and the Duke (2001), Eric Rohmer provides an unusual and “conservative” account of the French Revolution by recurring to classical and yet “revolutionary” means. The interpolation between painting and film produces a visual surface which pursues a paradoxical effect of immediacy and verisimilitude. At the same time though, it underscores the represented nature of the images in a complex dynamic of “reality effect” and critical meta-discourse. The aim of this paper is the analysis of the main discursive strategies deployed by the film to disclose an intermedial effectiveness in the light of its original digital aesthetics. Furthermore, it focuses on the problematic relationship between image and reality, deliberately addressed by Rohmer through the dichotomy simulation/illusion. Finally, drawing on the works of Louis Marin, it deals with the representation of history and the related ideology, in order to point out the film’s paradoxical nature, caught in an undecidability between past and present.

Open access
Proximity and Distance
Time and Space in Norwegian Newspaper Articles about the World 1880-1930

Abstract

This article shows the great interest in foreign affairs and other international influences in three Norwegian newspapers between 1880 and 1930. International coverage has received relatively little interest in Norwegian press history, but should be considered a vital element in creating a national imagery in a young state which gained its independence in 1905. The article shows how proximity and distance are political as well as geographical concepts, contributing to our notions about social dynamics in other societies. The article is based on a pilot study conducted on behalf of the Norwegian Press History project.

Open access
New Narrative Depths?
Spectacle and Narrative in Blockbuster Cinema Revisited

Abstract

The article aims to tease out an implicit, possibly even instinctive, assumption about why big-budget blockbuster storylines come up short compared to other kinds of culturally sanctioned narratives. Briefly, the assumption is that there is a distinct difference between stories that are simply a pretext for a series of isolated attractions and stories that are guided by some greater predefined purpose or guiding idea. If we look more closely at it, this presumption throws up some surprising and paradoxical findings. My hypothesis is that this line of reasoning has tended to seep into the debate about classical and postclassical Hollywood cinema. The article argues that we should not take this assumption for granted, and that it has confused the debate about historical changes in Hollywood films. However, by restating the opposition between blockbuster narratives and more prestigious story-types in different terms, we can study blockbuster cinema from a more productive perspective than has been the case so far.

Open access
Spectacular Attractions: Museums, Audio-Visuals and the Ghosts of Memory

Abstract

In the last decades, moving images have become a common feature not only in art museums, but also in a wide range of institutions devoted to the conservation and transmission of memory. This paper focuses on the role of audio-visuals in the exhibition design of history and memory museums, arguing that they are privileged means to achieve the spectacular effects and the visitors’ emotional and “experiential” engagement that constitute the main objective of contemporary museums. I will discuss this topic through the concept of “cinematic attraction,” claiming that when embedded in displays, films and moving images often produce spectacular mises en scène with immersive effects, creating wonder and astonishment, and involving visitors on an emotional, visceral and physical level. Moreover, I will consider the diffusion of audio-visual witnesses of real or imaginary historical characters, presented in Phantasmagoria-like displays that simulate ghostly and uncanny apparitions, creating an ambiguous and often problematic coexistence of truth and illusion, subjectivity and objectivity, facts and imagination.

Open access
Parent-Pressure
A History of Parents as Co-consumers of Children’s Media

Abstract

In this article, I examine change and continuity in conceptions of parental agency in public debates about children’s media consumption in Scandinavia, 1945-1975. During this period, public debates about the various kinds of media products children consumed were dominated by different groups of professionals: first, by teachers and librarians in the mid-fifties and, then, by intellectuals and performing artists in the late sixties. With a radically changed professional hegemony and a shifting media landscape, the role of media in children’s lives was described very differently during the period. However, a strong continuity in the debates was the negative influence parents were seen as having on children’s media consumption due to their lack of insight and interest in the topic. Drawing upon recent works on children’s media, consumption and enculturation, I analyse why the negative description of parents as co-consumers prevailed despite radical changes in views on children’s media consumption. In particular, I examine the shared inter-Scandinavian socio-cultural contexts that structured the changing professional and political groups’ pressure on parents to perform according to their norms and values.

Open access
The Archived Website and Website Philology
A New Type of Historical Document?

Abstract

Website history can be considered an emerging discipline at the intersection between media history and Internet history. In this discipline, the individual website is regarded as the unifying entity of the historical analysis rather than the Internet or the Web. Writing the history of a website involves using many sources and methods similar to those used in writing the history of any other media type. But one document type requires special attention: the archived website. This is so because the problems involved in finding, collecting and preserving the website are different from those characterizing the archiving of other types of traces of human activity, including other media types. The primary problem is that the actual act of finding, collecting and preserving changes the website that was on the live web in a number of ways, thus creating a unique version of it and not simply a copy. The present article sets out, first, to discuss to what extent the archived website can be considered a new type of historical document and how its characteristics affect the task of the website historian who must later use it; second, the article discusses and attempts to formulate some methodological principles, rules and recommendations for a future critical textual philology of the website.

Open access
The Formation of the Genre System on Norwegian Broadcast Radio

Abstract

This article deals with the formation and first development of the radio genre system in Norway in the interwar years (1925-1940). It is shown that the programmes of the 1920s were mostly imperfect reproductions of existent cultural forms. Yet, a beginning modernization of the genre repertoire took place in the 1930s. Whereas the rudimentary genre repertoire of the 1920s was built up through a plain copying from other domains in society, the latter half of the 1930s saw the introduction of a more advanced genre-generating process whereby new genres were formed through a mixing of two or more existing norms. This article also identifies a number of developmental trends that had their slow start in the 1920s and would mark the evolution of Norwegian radio’s registers and genres ever since.

Open access
The Visual Form of Estonian Newspapers from 1806 to 1940 and the Appearance Spiral Model

Abstract

Changes in the visual form of newspapers are considered to be connected to changes in society, technologies, and aesthetic ideals. The present chapter explores the changes in the visual form of Estonia’s major newspapers between 1806 and 1940, and whether Mervola’s model of visual changes, in Finnish newspapers, is applicable to Estonia’s newspapers. Content analysis is used to analyse the data. The analysis shows that Estonian newspapers considerably changed their visual form twice during this period. These changes in visual form were linked to social and economic factors, and three specific influencers were present prior to both instances of change. At first, rapid social changes caused a volume-jump in the newspaper issue (1.5 times in five years), and then competition and journalistic professionalization were needed to trigger the changes in the visual form. Technical evolution did not force newspapers to change, but was instrumental only when social factors demanded changes.

Open access
When the Copywriter is the Protagonist. History and Intermediality in Pablo Larraín’s No (2012)

Abstract

Through films such as Tony Manero (2008), Santiago 73, Post Mortem (2010), and No (2012), the productions of Chilean director Pablo Larraín have focused on the historical and political themes that marked the last decades in the life of his country: the putsch against Salvador Allende and Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. This paper analyses the last film of the trilogy, dedicated to the 1988 Chilean national plebiscite and the communication battle between supporters of the “Yes” and “No” sides. Why does Larraín identify the copywriter René Saavedra as the main character of the film? And why does the film accord such importance to the advertising campaign in recounting the historical reality of democratic transition? How does the fictional film remediate the archival footage of the 1988 campaign? To answer these questions, this paper investigates the film as an audiovisual form of interpretation of historical events and film montage as an intermedial “authentication” of the archival documents relating to this traumatic past.

Open access