Global News Broadcasting in the Pre-Television Era: A Cross-National Comparative Analysis of World War II Newsreel Coverage

This study examines historical newsreels:

Although largely forgotten, the newsreel industry was the first news broadcasting system to convey visual news reports to a worldwide audience. This study presents the first systematic, cross-national comparison of the news content delivered through this broadcasting system. Our analysis confirms that similar news content was internationally distributed and editorially “glocalized” to fit local audience tastes. Contrary to their reputation for being light and frivolous, newsreels during World War II were usually descriptive and straightforward. We conclude that the global newsreel system should be seen as a rudimentary precursor to today’s satellite news channels.

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