Til bevillingsoversigt

Imagining Post-war Journalism: Reflections of Scandinavian Foreign Affairs Journalists, 1945-1948

Reintegration Fellowships


With the project, I examine how Scandinavian foreign affairs journalists reimagined their profession in the earliest post-war period 1945-1948. I capitalise on insights from my earlier work on the work and network of Danish journalists in war-exile in Britain (many such exile journalists became leading foreign affairs journalists in postwar Denmark), but I move into new ground by applying an intellectual history angle, and a cross-Scandinavian comparative approach in the post-war period. I turn the lens towards the practices (career trajectories, networking) and meta-reflections of foreign affairs-journalists themselves, as opposed to earlier scholarship which has predominantly focused on their interventions as opinion-makers or gatekeepers of public opinion.


The project pushes the boundaries of the history of journalism in Scandinavia by providing, for the first time, a comparative study of Scandinavian journalism's construction of its own significance in the post-war world. It seeks at one and the same time to bridge intellectual history and history of journalism, to combine a broad and a narrow methodology by delivering a comparative study of a small group of leading actors in three countries and to bring together empirical findings from journalism in three countries thus internationalising the often nationally confined press historiographies in Scandinavia.


The project analyses the ways in which journalists, in their writings and their practices, legitimised a vision for post-war journalism. Important sources include newspaper content, memoirs, pamphlets etc, published by leading foreign affairs journalists around a small selection of 'hotspots' between 1945 and 1948. I will concentrate on the earliest Cold War when the conflict was not entrenched so as to limit the retrospective glance of the actors. Collections of media content are accessible in Denmark through the Royal Library Mediestream project, in Sweden through the Svenska dagstidningar database, and in Norway at Natjonalbiblioteket. I will also work together with renowned colleagues, including in intellectual and transnational history at UCPH and media history at Lund University.


Although the world today is faced with challenges different from those of the postwar period, the origins of modern journalism as we understand it remain highly relevant. Since the post-war period, mainstream journalism has been challenged by the gradual emergence of so-called media convergence, the arrival of television, the internet and, since the turn of the millennium, social media. On the open-ended post war situation of Scandinavia in 1945-48, the project contextualises the challenges of journalism in today's multipolar and multi-medialized world by asking questions such as: What was the impact of the last global war on the self-image of journalists as "guardians of democracy"? How was the profession of journalism impacted by the fact that many had served state propaganda during the war years? And do journalists have special responsibilities when covering international politics whether in the unique situation of Cold War Scandinavia or today?