Early sports journalism

Huggins, Mike ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2789-4756 (2023) Early sports journalism. British Newsreels, 1911-1930: Culture and Society on Film [online] . (Unpublished)

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Mike Huggins writes about early sports journalism and the Topical Budget newsreels on the 2023 website 'British Newsreels, 1911-1930: Culture and Society on Film'.

Topical Budget covered sport regularly, recognising its importance to British culture. Sport was a key social institution, followed by players and spectators, read about in newspapers and magazines, discussed in public houses and gentlemen’s clubs, at work and in the street. The ‘shorts’, brief bi-weekly newsreels often lasting only a minute or so, with their multiple possible sporting meanings, were understood alongside these other forms of information, diversion, and entertainment. The Topical Budget newsreels were simple and uncontroversial, with easy-to-follow stories and representations, exploiting popular sensibilities, but also helped shape attitudes towards sport more generally. Topical Budget’s newsreel coverage, like that of other newsreel companies such as Pathé News, was shaped in part around regular annual ‘topical’ key sporting events seen by its editors as representing their view of Britain, from the Epsom Derby and the F.A. Cup Final to Henley Regatta. This allowed audiences to look forward to these yearly events and feel part of wider popular culture, even when they were shown some days afterwards. Editors also then exercised their intuition and commercial judgement, drawing on newspaper and magazine lists, to select further sporting topical events for filming. In total over forty separate sports were covered, from mountaineering in the Rockies or angling at Richmond to swimmers crossing the Channel. In a period before sound, the brief text of the opening frame was usually written by the editor, leading to occasional errors. The newsreel covering Grasmere Games, which showed regional sports such as pole leaping, wrestling, and hound trailing across the fells, for example, was described as ‘in the famous Cumberland arena’, when it was in fact in the historical county of Westmorland.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: British Newsreels, 1911-1930: Culture and Society on Film [online]
Publisher: Adam Matthew Digital Ltd.
Departments: Institute of Arts > Humanities
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2023 12:11
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 14:30
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/7299


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