The Routledge Companion to British Media History  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to British Media History

ISBN 9780415537186
Published September 23, 2014 by Routledge
628 Pages

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Book Description

The Routledge Companion to British Media History provides a comprehensive exploration of how different media have evolved within social, regional and national contexts.

The 50 chapters in this volume, written by an outstanding team of internationally respected scholars, bring together current debates and issues within media history in this era of rapid change, and also provide students and researchers with an essential collection of comparable media histories.

The first two parts of the Companion comprise a series of thematic chapters reflecting broadly on historiography, providing historical context for discussions of the power of the media and their social importance, arranged in the following sections:

  • Media history debates
  • Media and society

The subsequent parts are made up of in-depth sections on different media formats, exploring various approaches to historicizing media futures, divided as follows:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Radio
  • Film
  • Television
  • Digital media

The Routledge Companion to British Media History provides an essential guide to key ideas, issues, concepts and debates in the field.

Chapter 40 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I - Media History Debates 1. The Devaluation of History in Media Studies  2. Media as historical artefacts  3. Doing Media History: The Mass Media, Historical Analysis and the 1930s 4. Media Studies in Question: The Making of a Contested Formation  5. Media archaeology: From Turing to Abbey Road, Kentish Radar Stations to Bletchley Park  Part II - Media and Society 6. The political economy of media  7. Media effects  8. Citizen or Consumer? Representations of class in post-war media  9. Inscriptions and depictions of ‘Race’  10. Home Comforts? Media and the Family  11. Sex and sexuality in British Media  12. This Sporting ‘life-world’: Mediating Sport in Britain 13. Social Conflict and the Media: Contesting definitional power 14. The media and armed conflict  Part III – Newspapers 15. Ballads and the Development of the English Newsbook 16. Eighteenth century newspapers and public opinion 17. The nineteenth century and the emergence of a mass circulation press 18. Tabloid Culture: The Political Economy of a Newspaper Style  19. The Regulation of the Press  20. The Provincial Press in England: An Overview 21. Online and on Death Row: Historicizing newspapers in crisis  Part IV – Magazines 22. The role of the literary and cultural periodical  23. Specialist magazines as communities of taste  24. Contexts and developments in women’s magazines 25. Mapping the male in magazines  26. Magazine Pioneers: form and content in 1960s and 1970s radicalism  Part V – Radio 27. The Reithian legacy and contemporary public service ethos  28. Pirates, popularity and the rise of the DJ  29. The long and winding road: histories and practices of women´s radio 30. Radio drama  31. Radio Sports News: The Longevity and Influence of Sports Report 32. Radio’s Audiences  Part VI – Film 33. The British Cinema: Eras of film 34. British Cinema and History  35. The Horror!  36. The Documentary Tradition  37. The Censor’s Tools  Part VII – Television 38. The Television Sitcom  39. Drama on the Box  40. The Origins and Practice of Science on British Television  41. History on television  42. Reality TV  43. Journalism and Current Affairs  Part VIII - Digital Media 44. Technology’s false dawns: the past of media futures  45. Change and continuity: Historicizing the emergence of online media  46. Personal Listening Pleasures  47. Futures of television  48. Video games and gaming – the audience fights back  49. From letters to tweeters: media communities of opinion  50. Digital memories and media of the future

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Martin Conboy is Professor of Journalism History in the Department of Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield and co-director of the Centre for the Study of Journalism and History. He is the author of seven single-authored books on the language and history of journalism. He is on the editorial boards of Journalism Studies: Media History; Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism; and Memory Studies.

John Steel teaches in the Department of Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of Journalism and Free Speech (Routledge, 2012) and co-editor, with Marcel Broersma, of Redefining Journalism in the Era of the Mass Press 1880-1920 (Routledge, 2016). With over thirty publications, his teaching and research span the areas of political communication, media history and journalism studies.


"This will be the first port of call for students and lecturers around the world wanting to understand British media history. It covers a wide spectrum, summarises existing research, and breaks new ground. It is a landmark book."

- James Curran, Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

"This impressively comprehensive compilation of essays on British media history comprises 50 essays by a wide range of scholars from universities throughout the UK.  More than a typical historical analysis, the book problematizes (in Karen Weekes's definition) media history in considering whether media are a cause or a symptom of a larger cultural phenomenon.  This cultural contextualization and interdisciplinary approach to media history offers an invaluable contrast to the more economically induced pressures of time and space created by the diverse digital media market environment.  Another strength of the book is that the editors... planned it to reach “the widest possible range of readers”; at that, the book is a brilliant success... This volume is an invaluable resource for the study of British media history... Summing Up: Highly recommended."

- M. R. Grant, emerita, Wheaton College, USA, in CHOICE