The First World War in the press: Your Opinion.

 In General

The actual ‘centenary’ of the First World War is still some months off, but to many it seems like the nation’s press (both written and broadcast) has gone into overdrive already. It often feels like you cannot flick on the remote or turn the page of a newspaper (or click an online news page) without another ‘revelation’ pertaining the war and/or the centenary.

Is this a good thing or is it overkill? I would welcome your opinon…

To put this into context a little, the Daily Telegraph, since January 1st 2014 has run 32 seperate WW1/centenary related stories. At least, that is what I can find on their website. The Independant has run 20 and The Daily Mail has run 14 different stories that I can find and the other main nationals are running a similar amount of stories.

And that is just the printed press.

The BBC are planning over 18,000 hours of WW1 related broadcast over 4 years from January 1914 until November 1918 and have already wheeled out the big guns (if you pardon the pun) of Paxman and Portillio to front programmes already on-air. The BBC also have a full on microsite dedicated to the war  (which is very good by the way and well worth a visit).

Not to mention what is being planned over on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, ITV, C4 and C5.

For what it’s worth I think some of the programmes on the TV so far have been quite good, and also some of the stories in the press are genuinely interesting – however many of them – and I think this relates to the printed press more than broadcast at the moment at least – seem to be riding on a bandwagon and just filling in space in the paper. It seems the editors are asking their hacks ‘We need a WW1 piece for tomorrows paper as we haven’t had one for 3 days… go and get one!’ and their are writing any old drivel or re-hashing old stories or ‘discoveries’ and re-labelling them as ‘new’. This is a worrying trend.

So, my question to you all is this: Is there too much WW1 stuff in the papers and on TV at the moment? Are you fed up with it already or are you genuinly excited about all the stories being uncovered and the programmes being aired? I guess we are at the beginning of a four year avalanche – will we survive in one piece? Please let me know your opinion!


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Showing 4 comments
  • Phil

    The fear is that by August no one will manage to muster up the enthusiam to commemorate the anniversary. There should be a slow build up culminating in a major day of remembrance.

  • Amanda

    On the upside I think it’s really exciting that we’ll have the opportunity to examine new sources, or re-examine old ones in the light of new thinking, and maybe discuss issues that are rarely talked about in the ordinary course of our lives. Crucially if we can engage kids in really thinking about the period (using film as well as more established sources), then it can only be a bonus. Maybe the media coverage will encourage people to think of history as an important part of their lives.
    However the quantity of ‘stuff’ about WWI already risks being the biggest yawn in history. So at the moment it’s interesting, but I wonder how it will pan out over the 4+ years. I’d be interested in checking out viewing figures for the WWI TV progs at the end of 2014.

  • John Duncan

    What will put a lot of people off is the constant debating, some say bickering, about the cause of WW1 and who started it all. In reality most of ‘Joe Public’ have little interest in this as at the end of the day, it’s a hundred years ago and can’t be changed.

    They are however almost universally keen to hear of the experiences of family members or lads from their town or village, and this is where local historians rather than national network TV have their part to play.

    TV is important for mass dissemination of information, but there is only so many ways to show the major Western Front land battles before they start to blend together, and risk becoming samey and repetitive.

    So wherever you are, do your best to inform a new generation and preserve the memory of all these men.

  • margaret Hughes

    I don’t think its ever too early to pay tribute to the men who lost their lives fighting for us, not forgetting the soldiers who returned to their families you don’t have to die to be a hero. I have two journeys to make in August to my families graves both fought in that war but I guess I was lucky to grow up knowing them both

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