Conditions of Acceptance: The United States Military, the Press, and the Woman War Correspondent, 1846-1945 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Edy, Carolyn Martindale
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • This dissertation chronicles the history of American women who worked as war correspondents through the end of World War II, demonstrating the ways the military, the press, and women themselves constructed categories for war reporting that promoted and prevented women's access to war: the war correspondent, who covered war-related news, and the woman war correspondent, who covered the woman's angle of war. As the first study to examine these concepts, from their emergence in the press through their use in military directives, this dissertation relies upon a variety of sources to consider the roles and influences, not only of the women who worked as war correspondents but of the individuals and institutions surrounding their work. Nineteenth and early 20th century newspapers continually featured the woman war correspondent--often as the first or only of her kind, even as they wrote about more than sixty such women by 1914. Despite the continued presence of women war correspondents in news accounts, if not always in war zones, it was not until 1944 that United States military considered sex among its conditions of acceptance for accrediting correspondents. In 1943, to publicize women's war-related work abroad, the military began accrediting women war correspondents, in addition to those women who had gained accreditation on the basis of their military or foreign relations expertise. The presence and visibility of women war correspondents not only meant that newcomers competed for facilities, stories, and access but also threatened the public's perception of war correspondent--as not necessarily a man's job--and woman war correspondent--as not necessarily a war correspondent. The military's 1944 directives for women war correspondents considered sex the unifying factor, discounting any differences in expertise or experience and revoking the exceptional status some women had long taken for granted. Ultimately, these directives caused more problems for the military than they resolved. By making barriers visible and placing them in the way of all women accredited as war correspondents, they led women who previously worked as exceptions alongside men to fight the directives on behalf of all women, even as they found ways around these directives.
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  • In Copyright
  • Folkerts, Jean
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2012

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