Journalism Beyond Orwell  book cover
1st Edition

Journalism Beyond Orwell

ISBN 9780367333553
Published February 13, 2020 by Routledge
206 Pages

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Book Description

Journalism Beyond Orwell adapts and updates pioneering work by Richard Lance Keeble to explore George Orwell’s legacy as a journalist in original, critical – and often controversial – ways.

Though best known as the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell was, throughout his career, a journalist. The essays in this collection explore Orwell’s important legacy: as a practising activist journalist critical of the dominant media; as a polemicist, essayist and novelist constantly concerned with issues relating to war and peace; as a literary journalist determined to make ‘political writing an art’; and as a writer who warned of the growing powers of the secret state. Through this highly individualistic essay collection that connects Orwellian themes to modern journalism, Richard Lance Keeble explores key topics, including:

  • Orwell the ‘proto-blogger’
  • How Orwell put his political economy critique of the corporate press into practice
  • Information warfare in an age of hyper-militarism
  • The manufacture of the myth of heroic warfare in the reporting of the Afghan conflict
  • The debates over the theory and practice of peace journalism
  • The ethical challenges for journalists reporting on conflict
  • The crucial role of the alternative media
  • The pleasures and pitfalls of the celebrity profile

This collection will be of particular interest to students and researchers in journalism studies, English literature, media, intelligence studies and international relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Why Journalism and Orwell Matter

Part I. George Orwell: The Activist Journalist

Chapter 1. The Myth of Freedom: Orwell and the Press

Chapter 2. The Lasting in the Ephemeral: Assessing George Orwell’s ‘As I Please’ Columns

Chapter 3. George Orwell as War Correspondent: A Re-assessment

Part II. Making Journalism an Art: Literary Journalism Today

Chapter 4. Lynn (Demon) Barber: The Pleasures and Pitfalls of the Celebrity Profile

Chapter 5. Lara Pawson’s Genre-Busting Memoir – Gravitas and the Celebration of Unique Cultural Space

Chapter 6. John Tulloch: On the Importance of Mischief-Making

Part III. War, Peace and the Press: Yesterday and Today

Chapter 7. Information Warfare in an Age of Hyper-Militarism

Chapter 8. Operation Moshtarak and the Manufacture of Credible, 'Heroic' Warfare

Chapter 9. Giving Peace Journalism a Chance

Part IV. Scoops and Spooks: Journalism in an Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Chapter 10. Journalists and the Secret State

Chapter 11. Targeting Gaddafi: Secret Warfare and the Media

Chapter 12. Secrets and Lies: On the Ethics of Conflict Coverage

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Richard Lance Keeble is Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln and Honorary Professor at Liverpool Hope University. Chair of the Orwell Society, he has written and edited 40 books. In addition, he has written more than 50 book chapters and over 30 academic journal articles.


"Richard Keeble is unusual among journalism academics. He thinks like that rare breed of journalist whose work is not subverted by corporatism. With Orwell as a guide, this imaginative, refreshing book illuminates why we should protect the best of our craft." - John Pilger

"Keeble offers a refreshing change to the extended monograph. By eschewing an overly rigid structure he also provides space for reflection, embellishing the relationship between Orwell’s own career and the journalistic problems which have persisted long after his death. On the whole, this is an important contribution to the study of British journalism." - Luke Young, Oriel College, Oxford University

"Richard Lance Keeble has over the years made an enormous contribution to Orwell Studies and more generally to the appreciation of the man’s involvement in British political and cultural life. He is, of course, the founder and joint editor of the journal George Orwell Studies, but as well as that he has made important interventions in our developing understanding of Orwell and his world. Only three of the essays in this collection deal with Orwell directly, although the rest of the volume is of considerable interest. The essays ‘John Tulloch: On the importance of mischief making’, ‘Information warfare in an age of hyper-militarism’, ‘Journalism and the secret state’ and ‘Targeting Gaddafi’ in particular are worth reading by anyone who regards Orwell’s concerns as having contemporary relevance. What of his three Orwell essays on ‘The Myth of Freedom’, on Orwell’s ‘As I Please’ columns and on ‘Orwell as war correspondent’. They are all required reading by anyone interested in the man and his work." - Professor John Newsinger, Bath Spa University