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Berlin Wall in the news: mass media and the fall of the Eastern Bloc in Europe, 1989

Duffield, Lee R. (2009) Berlin Wall in the news: mass media and the fall of the Eastern Bloc in Europe, 1989. VDM Verlag, Saarbrucken, Germany.

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Abstract

"Berlin Wall in the News" is the first-hand account of a media correspondent involved in one of the shock events in history, the fall of the Berlin Wall. Lee Duffield’s book is about the way that the news media of the world saw what was happening, but in the author's words "could not believe it themselves". It reviews news media of the time and matches that with what has been written since, in history books and reminiscences of some of the leading political figures, like Mikhail Gorbachev or Helmut Kohl. It comes to the conclusion that piece by piece, the media succeeded in getting that "unbelievable" story right, if you were able to keep up with all the news. Most importantly for its subject matter this book reports on interviews with thirty correspondents from the Western news media – from America, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom – who go back over their experience of the break-down of the communist system in Europe. We are constantly reminded of those events by television images of the Wall coming down, and the street celebrations that went on night after night. It can be a surprise then to realise that this year it will be twenty years since it all happened. "Berlin Wall in the News" devotes much space to telling the story of the massive crowds of people who followed the lead of a brave few, and stood up for their human rights. Their rolling demonstrations in Eastern Germany, Prague, Romania and elsewhere brought down the Wall and ended the Cold War. Lee Duffield as a member of the media "pack" was European Correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and today teaches Journalism at the Queensland University of Technology in his home country.

Jacket copy: The 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the shocks of history, heralded at the time the almost unimaginable fall of communism and end of the Cold War. The dramatic "Wall" events are replayed as landmarks in television histories today; a reminder that they were media events -- on a grand scale. This book tells the story of the collapse of the Eastern bloc from the perspective of the mass media; the journalists who reported and documented what they saw but could hardly themselves believe. The author was there as one of the international correspondents. His book records interviews with leading reporters and editors who took part; revisits the actual coverage from six major Western media organisations, and checks those accounts against histories being written ten years later. It considers also the perspectives of political leaders of the era, and especially the gigantic crowds in the streets demanding freedom. To understand those crowds, well tested theories of mass social movements, and their use of media, are consulted in the book; and in the end an argument is made, that in this new Century, history can be understood very accurately from the news media, just as it happens.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 18233
Item Type: Book
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Keywords: Berlin Wall, Journalism, Correspondents, Communism, Europe, Cold War, Gorbachev, Kohl
ISBN: 9783639121339
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > JOURNALISM AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING (190300) > Journalism Studies (190301)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 VDM Verlag and Lee R. Duffield
Deposited On: 24 Feb 2009 15:37
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:04

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