Irish journalism before independence

More a disease than a profession

Kevin Rafter
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This book illuminates the history of Irish journalism and enhances the idea of journalism as a scholarly exercise rooted in the historical evolution of the profession. The most curious episodes in the history of Irish journalism was the world-wide fame attained by the Skibbereen Eagle, a small provincial newspaper which declared that it was keeping an eye on the Tsar of Russia. William Howard Russell is probably the best known of the Irish-born correspondents who captured dramatic events from far-flung locations for newspaper readers. The book then examines the careers of four prominent Irish or Irish-American journalists, editors and newspaper proprietors based in Chicago, who struggled to tread the fine line between assimilation and identity. The four Chicago journalists previously mentioned are listed here: Melville E. Stone, John F. Finerty, Margaret Sullivan and Finley Peter Dunne. The book further focuses on Sinn Fein and its influence in altering the vision for Ireland's future. It considers the role of Irish newspapers in the peace process which ended the Irish War of Independence and led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921. The book concentrates on the three most popular Irish daily newspapers at the time, the Freeman's Journal, Irish Independent and The Irish Times. Finally, the book explores the work of Irish journalists abroad and shows how the great political debates about Ireland's place in the United Kingdom served as a backdrop to newspaper publication in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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