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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 7 - Spring 2016 - Spring 2018

The Journalist in British Fiction

Sarah Lonsdale


This essay offers a look at the history of the British newspaper press, as told by its reporters. Focusing on fiction from 1900 through the present day, the author reveals what journalists had to say―through the novels they wrote―about the state of journalism at a particular point in time. Edwardian reporters saw themselves as truth-telling superheroes, while journalists writing about their profession in the 1960s and 1970s described reporters who were bewildered, cynical, and verging on nervous breakdowns. Novels by women revealed a double whammy for female reporters: being stereotyped as suitable only to cover domestic issues and having to disguise their femininity to be successful in a man’s world (whether in 1922 or 2011). In general, contemporary novels are more pessimistic than ones written in the early 20th century and construct a negative image of journalism in Great Britain.

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