Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Michael S. Sweeney
War correspondence emerged in Europe during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars (1789–1815) as British newspapers sought to speed information from the continent to growing lists of subscribers. The identity of the first war journalists is subject to debate, in part because questions have been raised since. Were they true reporters? Were they hired specifically to write about war? Journalists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries rarely acted as field correspondents, relying instead on letters from soldiers, gossip, and other newspapers as means of collecting information. Furthermore, “war correspondence” implies a measure of substantial, purposeful coverage, yet early chroniclers included amateurs and victims of circumstance. Some historians nominate John Bell (1745–1831) of London' s Oracle and Public Advertiser , who witnessed cannonading from a Flemish tower in 1794, as the first war journalist. However, Bell was visiting the Continent intending to round up letter writers for the Oracle; ...