The committee on public information : a transmedia war propaganda campaign

Benson, Krystina Lee (2012) The committee on public information : a transmedia war propaganda campaign. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis develops an understanding of how propaganda entered the realm of journalism and popular culture in the United States during World War I through an examination of materials created by the Committee on Public Information (CPI). The CPI was a US governmental propaganda organisation created during World War I to persuade the nation to mobilise for war. Three of its divisions were chosen for this study: the Division of News (DoN), the Division of Four Minute Men (FMM) and the Division of Pictorial Publicity (DPP). Chapter 1 provides a general context for the thesis, outlines the research questions and details previous research on the CPI. Chapter 2 outlines the methods of analysis for interpreting the case study chapters and provides contextual information.

The case studies are presented in Chapters 3, 4 and 5. These chapters are structured in the order of context, medium and content, and contain historical contextual information about each particular division, medialogical aspects of its propagated form and thematic groupings created from close reading of CPI materials. A semiotic analysis in the Peircian tradition is also performed on visual forms of propaganda in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 discusses how the expectations of persuasion, truth and amusement relate to each other when mediated in culture, using Lotman’s concept of the semiosphere. This further develops an understanding of propaganda as a cultural system in relation to other cultural systems – in this case, journalism and popular culture. Chapter 7 provides conclusions about the study, outlines relative strengths and weaknesses regarding the selection and deployment of methods, makes recommendations for future research, and summarises the key contributions of the thesis.

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ID Code: 53820
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Hartley, John & Graham, Philip
Keywords: Committee on Public Information, CPI, Creel Committee, cultural studies, cultural science, journalism, media and communication, media studies, popular culture, propaganda, public opinion, public relations, PR, semiosphere, transmedia, World War I
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 25 Sep 2012 03:33
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 01:50

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