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History and Journalism

18 October 2022 - 17:30 pm - 19:00 pm

Online-via Zoom


This event will take the form of an online round-table discussion focusing on the connections between History and print Journalism and how each field can benefit from collaborating with the other. The event aims to bring together practitioners from both fields, especially those with experience of bridging the divide. Our distinguished panellists aim to address the following questions:  

  1. Philip L. Graham, former President and Publisher of the Washington Post said, “Journalism is the first rough draft of history.” What does this mean in practice and what similarities and differences are there between the work of the historian and the journalist? 
  2. History-making is a recurrent theme in today’s journalism, with frequent resort to words like ‘historic’ and ‘unprecedented’. To what extent does this suggest a genuine interaction with History, and does it risk distorting our understanding of the past? 
  3. Could both journalists and historians benefit from acquiring some of each other’s professional skills? 
  4. Journalists are increasingly drawn to so-called 'culture war' topics - legacies of slavery, statues, national memory/ identity, gender/ sexual identities etc: how should historians engage with this and what are the dangers of being drawn into polarised or stereotyped positions, or even becoming the target of attacks?


Chair: Philip Murphy (Director of History & Policy).

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Alan Rusbridger (Formerly editor-in-chief of The Guardian and Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, he currently serves on Meta’s Oversight Board).
  • Anna Whitelock (Historian. Executive Dean of the School of Communication and Creativity, and Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy, City University of London)
  • Adrian Bingham (Director of Sheffield University’s Centre for the Study of Journalism and History).
  • Simon Heffer (Historian, journalist, author and political commentator).

All welcome

This event is free to attend, but booking is required. It will be held online with details about how to join the virtual event being circulated via email to registered attendees 24 hours in advance.

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History & Policy

Alan Rusbridger , Adrian Bingham , Simon Heffer  and Philip Murphy


17:30 pm - 19:00 pm

Online-via Zoom
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H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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