A picture and a hundred thousand words: the Vietnam War’s influence on the rise of long-form journalism
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelBachelors with Honours
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
Journalists played an important role in the Vietnam War through their critique and analysis of how the war progressed. Their writing in newspapers and magazines influenced public and government opinion about the war. Journalists did not just write newspaper or magazine articles, or record interviews for television, they wrote books about their experiences, interviews and research. These books, long-form journalism, explored many aspects of the Vietnam War, analytically and critically. The Vietnam War influenced the rise of this type of journalism through the detail and context that journalists were able to provide about a war that lasted nineteen years and would see America unable to prevent the fall of South Vietnam to communism. The historiography of the media and the Vietnam War overwhelmingly focuses on information and analysis that appeared in newspapers, magazines and on television. There is a distinct lack of analysis on long-form works as a medium in the Vietnam War. This research shows that the Vietnam War created a situation whereby traditional mediums were insufficient to fully explain the Vietnam War. The war necessitated journalistic investigation and criticism. This led to the writing of many popular and successful long-form works that presented, examined and criticised the Vietnam War. Journalists examined in long-form the secrecy inherent in the war such as the control of information and perception of how the war progressed. They also examined in detail the failure of policy and military strategy in South Vietnam which led to the withdrawal of America and to victory for North Vietnam.