Collective silence: the Australian press reporting of suffering during the World Wars

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Abstract

This article examines how Australian war correspondents reported on, and experienced, psychological trauma in World War I and II. While the cultural representations of trauma, or shell shock as it was referred to, came from the works of poets and novelists in Britain, the main narrators in Australia were the journalists who were effectively silenced by the censors, the military, and the press organizations. The military and the press culture espoused similar ideals about empire, nationhood, masculine stoicism, and emotional detachment. Consequently, the narrative and the lexicon did not allow any recognition of the soldiers or the correspondents psychological distress. This article considers the relationship between witnessing violence and correspondents reporting and how the correspondents wrote about suffering when their own press culture negated it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148 - 157
Number of pages10
JournalJournalism History
Volume40
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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