The Fourth Estate

Journalism in twentieth-century Ireland

Author: Mark O’Brien

This book examines the history of journalists and journalism in twentieth century Ireland. While many media institutions have been subjected to historical scrutiny, the professional and organisational development of journalists, the changing practices of journalism, and the contribution of journalists and journalism to the evolution of modern Ireland have not. This book rectifies this deficit by mapping the development of journalism in Ireland from the late 1880s to today. Beginning with the premise that the position of journalists and the power of journalism are products of their time and are shaped by ever-shifting political, economic, technological, and cultural forces it examines the background and values of those who worked as journalists, how they viewed and understood their role over the decades, how they organised and what they stood for as a professional body, how the prevailing political and social atmosphere facilitated or constrained their work, and, crucially, how their work impacted on social change and contributed to the development of modern Ireland. Placing the experiences of journalists and the practice of journalism at the heart of its analysis it examines, for the first time, the work of journalists within the ever-changing context of Irish society. Based on strong primary research – including the previously un-consulted journals and records produced by the many journalistic representative organisations that came and went over the decades – and written in an accessible and engaging style, this book will appeal to anyone interested in journalism, history, the media, and the development of Ireland as a modern nation.

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‘Mark O'Brien is an academic at Dublin City University. This book is well researched and welcome for reminding us of the evils of the State's past.'
Eamon Dunphy is a journalist, broadcaster and podcaster
The Irish Times
May 2017

‘O'Brien's work is descriptive. Rows within and between journalist organisations are detailed. Major sto­ries and how they were covered or missed are chronicled comprehensively…This book is welcome. It is well written and offers students a great introduction to Ireland and its journal­ism and suggests a wealth of ideas for further research.'
Michael Foley
Journalism Education Volume 6, number 2

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