In Ireland, before the advent of television in the 1950s, the newsreels were the only visual news medium available to all sections of the Irish public. They provided important records of what audiences were shown about 20th – century historical events, figures, and politics.
Constantly seeking to avoid censorship and controversy, the newsreels sought to perpetuate social norms and satisfy public taste.
This book tells the story of how the newsreels depicted the Irish as violent, insular, and backward, as well as enterprising, plucky, and an asset to Britain, depending on the political climate. The book also recounts how governments, north and south, manipulated newsreel producers in order to pursue a particular agenda, often at odds with local perspectives.
The issues covered also contextualize the birth and development of onscreen news, engaging with the problematic nature of media production and its relationship with audiences. This exploration has particular relevance in relation to the storms of controversy still associated with media power, political institutions, and the release of information to the general public.