Art & Design

A History of Journalism: then, now and hereafter

12 May 2017, London

The second seminar in our Annual Seminar Series will focus on the history of journalism. In the era of digital news, social media and the arrival of the concepts of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, is mainstream journalism facing insurmountable challenges? What can today’s journalists learn from the past?


Throughout history, powerful authorities have put pressure on the media to espouse certain doctrines or convey specific information. During the Second World War, Japanese newspapers acted as a mouthpiece of the Imperial government, whipping up militaristic fervour through patriotic columns and cartoons. In January 2016, hard-hitting NHK journalist Hiroko Kuniya was ousted from news analysis programme ‘Close-up Gendai’ following alleged pressure from the Abe Administration. In the UK, media barons from Lord Rothermere in the early 20th Century to Rupert Murdoch in the early 21st Century have been some of the most powerful figures in modern British history, being courted by politicians and even Prime Ministers to ensure their newspapers’ support. Professor Jeremy Black will discuss the history of newspapers and the media and consider the role they may or may not hold in influencing the world today.


In his book On Liberty (1859) John Stuart Mill famously justified the articulation of even ‘false’ opinions on the basis that these opinions, if freely aired in the marketplace of ideas, will be subject to scrutiny, exposed as false and thus rejected by society at large. The notion that bad ideas should be tested in open debate has proved resilient as a basis for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Dr John Steel will examine this principle as a foundation for freedom of speech in the light of developments in journalism and politics – particularly the advent of the so-called ‘post-truth’ era in which ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ have become part of public and political discourse.


Admission Free but booking is essential at:

12 May 2017, 6.00pm
Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13 - 14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP. Nearest tube: Baker Street

Tel:020 7486 4348

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation