The Lost Boy: The Tragedy of Peter Pan’s Bobby Driscoll

Anything Articles, history, research

Disney’s Peter Pan celebrates it’s 70th anniversary this year. But what many people don’t know is the tragic story of its lead actor…

The Lost Boy: The Tragedy of Peter Pan’s Bobby Driscoll

Find the second star from the right and fly straight on till morning. Those are the instructions given to Wendy Darling, Michael and John by Peter Pan as they fly off to Neverland, a place with no rules, no grown-ups, nothing but magical forests and endless adventures. Home to the boy who never wants to grow up.

This year, Disney’s Peter Pan is celebrating its 70th anniversary. It is one of Disney’s most successful animated movies of all time and has inspired different sorts of merchandise, amusement park rides and video games.

But what many people don’t know is the tragic story of Peter Pan’s voice actor, Bobby Driscoll. It’s a story that reflects on many child stars today. Child stars have great success in movies, tv shows and are recognised everywhere…until they grow up. And while there have been some who have successfully transitioned from child stars to adult roles, other have not been as fortunate. Bobby Driscoll’s story is only one of them.

Bobby Driscoll

Born an only child in 1937, Bobby Driscoll started his acting career at five with a small role in the family drama Lost Angel (1943). His role only lasted 2 minutes but it was enough for him to land the role of Al Sullivan in The Fighting Sullivans (1944).

Alongside Luana Patten, Driscoll was one of the first two actors placed under contract with Walt Disney, and quickly landed roles in Song of the South (1946) and So Dear to My Heart (1948). His success continued into 1950, starring in Treasure Island (1950). With a steady workload and recognizable talent, Driscoll received an Academy Juvenile Award in 1950 (which in an ironic twist of fate, was lost in a house fire years later).

Bobby Driscoll receiving his Academy Juvenile Award

Driscoll was on the rise when he landed the lead role in Disney’s latest animated movie Peter Pan. His co-star, Kathryn Beaumont (who voiced Wendy Darling) remembered him as ‘very lovely. went to his own public school when he was not working. He had normal experiences with his peer group—just as I did.’ By 16, Driscoll seemed to have it all – until he did the one thing that his character never wanted to do; he grew up.

Bobby Driscoll dressed as Peter Pan in Disney Studios

By the time, he had reached his teen years, Driscoll had grown from a cute little boy to a lanky teenager with bad acne – a precursor for child stars of today. By 1953, he had unexpectedly been dropped from Disney Studios, despite having signed a multiple-year contract. Overnight, he had gone from Disney’s Golden Child, to thrown out in the trash. As Hollywood biographer, Marc Eliot explains, ‘When Howard Hughes bought RKO, he, in effect, became the owner of the Disney studio. He controlled the money and he hated Bobby Driscoll. He hated Hollywood kids. He thought they were precocious, weren’t real, and were incredibly annoying. He didn’t want Bobby Driscoll to be with Disney anymore.’

Having been dropped by Disney, Driscoll was left wondering where to go. At 16, he moved to New York City hoping to study acting but ultimately dropping out of UCLA and Stanford. He found some happiness in TV work and tried to settle down with a young woman named Marilyn Jean Rush. They eloped to Mexico five months after meeting, but three years, three kids, two marriages, and two divorces later, their relationship was over.

Moving to Topanga Canyon, Driscoll befriended Beat Generation artist and photographer Wallace Bearman. Driscoll even dabbled in art himself with some his work surviving today. But then he began to dabble in drugs, ultimately getting arrested in 1961 and sent to California Institute for Men. This proved to be the final nail in the coffin for his acting career as he was unable to find any work after his release in 1962. “I had everything,” he said in an interview after his sentence. “Was earning $50,000 a year…working steadily with good parts. Then I started putting all my spare time in my arm. I’m not really sure why I started using narcotics. I was 17 when I first experimented with the stuff. In no time at all, I was using whatever was available…mostly heroin, because I had the money to pay for it.”

Bobby Driscoll under arrest for drug possession

Driscoll seemed to drift in his final years, unable to truly find a place where he belonged. Nobody knows how he ended up alone in a derelict apartment block in 1968 when two young boys discovered a body lying in a cot. Beer bottles and religious pamphlets were scattered around his body but investigators could not find any identification. With nothing to go on, the body was buried in a mass pauper’s grave on Hart Island.

In fact, the discovery of Driscoll’s death would not be discovered until a year later, when his mother, Isabelle, who had not seen her son in years, tried to get in contact. A fingerprint match at the New York City Police Department would reveal Bobby Driscoll’s death at just 31 years of age. News of his death would only come to light in the 1970s, due to the re-release of Song of the South. From one of the most recognized stars of his generation, to being just a brief news report, is a tragic fall for this young man who once had it all.

Bobby Driscoll in his final years

Bobby Driscoll is immortalized as one of the most tragic child stars in Hollywood history. He was truly a Lost Boy who after being cast aside by the movie industry, couldn’t find a place where he really belonged. Even now, he is still lost on Hart Island; the whereabouts of his grave are unknown as the burial records between 1961 and 1977 were lost in a fire.

The story of Bobby Driscoll has proven to be a cautionary tale for the child stars of Hollywood today. One minute you can be the most adored little star, then the next, you can be cast aside for the next big thing.

Perhaps Driscoll described his downfall best in his own words: “I was carried on a silver platter—and then dumped into the garbage.” But thanks to bringing Peter Pan onto our screens and into our childhood memories, many believe that Bobby Driscoll has emerged from the garbage heap. Hopefully now, he has finally found the second star to the right and has flown on to eternal peace.

To Die a Queen: The Downfall of Katherine Howard

history, research, study

She’s probably one of the least-known of Henry VIII’s six wives – but the downfall and death of young Katherine Howard leaves many people asking questions on who she was. A naive child? A common harlot? Or a young woman in love?

Katherine Howard as depicted by Hans the Younger (Credit: Wikipedia)

The day after All Saint’s Day of 1541 was normal for Katherine Howard. The weather was bright, if cold, music was playing and she and her ladies were dancing together. Suddenly, guards barged into her chambers, lances in hand and she was told that she would be confined to her apartments until further notice.

The young woman, probably not even out of her teens at that point, must have been terrified and confused. Her husband – King Henry VIII – had locked her away and was refusing to see her. What would happen to her? What was going to be her fate? What had brought her to this situation?

Katherine Howard, the tenth child of Joyce Culpepper and Edmund Howard was raised in the household of her step-grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. Described as flirty and vivacious, she was trained in the art of music and dance. Although she was not highly educated, her ability to read and write was impressive enough for that era. She received little discipline from the Dowager Duchess who paid hardly any attention to her wards and was encouraged by the older girls living with her who allowed men into their apartments at night. It was there that she came across her first love, Francis Derehem.

The details of their romance differ from sources. Many have alleged that they became lovers, calling each other ‘husband’ and ‘wife’. In 1539, they were parted when Derehem left for Ireland. They may have planned to marry when he came back, but by then, Katherine had been sent to court.

The young Howard’s date of birth cannot be verified, but it is said that by the time she came to court, she was about sixteen or seventeen years old. By then, Henry VIII was married to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Although he had already been displeased with Anne, the arrival of young, vivacious Katherine Howard fuelled Henry’s desire to get rid of his wife – not very unlike what happened when Katherine’s cousin, Anne Boleyn caught his eye many years before.

Thankfully for Henry, Anne of Cleves agreed to an annulment, and on 28 July 1540, he and Katherine were married. He was 49, and she probably wasn’t even 18.

To be married to a man old enough to be her father…how did Katherine really feel about this? The King of England was no longer the handsome boy he once was, in his youth. By the time he had come across Katherine, he was old, weighing in at around 300 lb. and he was suffering in serious pain from a leg wound from a jousting accident in 1536. The wound never healed and became ulcerated, having to be cleaned daily. It’s said that the young mistress Howard revived the king, allowed him to regain his lost youth.

The only surviving letter written by Katherine Howard to Culpepper. It is signed: ‘Yours as long as life endures, Katheryn’ (Credit: National Archives)

His young queen may have felt different about the marriage, understandably. All of a sudden, Katherine found herself married to a man old enough to be her father and basically rotting from the waist down. Although the king showered the young queen with jewels, gowns and gifts, was she really happy? Katherine knew how to entertain – she danced, played music and worked a charm. But to do so for such an old man? She could not have really enjoyed it.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the young queen sought happiness with another man. In spring 1541, she appeared to have become enamoured with a young man named Thomas Culpepper. Before her marriage to the king, it is said that Katherine had wanted to marry the courtier. To marry a man her own age against a man who was old and obese? Not surprising.

Was the young rose in love with Culpepper?  When the young man was arrested, an infamous letter was found, in the queen’s handwriting. It would be used as evidence that an affair was taking place and the two were lovers.

 It makes my heart die to think what fortune I have that I cannot be always in your company.

An extract from the surviving letter from Katherine Howard to Thomas Culpepper

It is possible, however, to put a different interpretation upon Katherine’s letter. It’s possible that it was written by the desperation of a young woman who was seeking to placate an aggressive, suitor, one who had close contact with the king. Culpepper, it may be suggested, had established some form of threatening control over the queen’s life, and although he-as he admitted under torture-was seeking sexual satisfaction with her, Katherine was trying to ensure his silence through a misguided attempt at appeasement. The letter makes it clear that she wished for his presence, but she never refers to him as her ‘lover‘ or ‘darling’, and expresses a desire for no more than verbal conversation with him. While he admitted that he wanted sexual satisfaction from Katherine, it must be noted that Culpepper (along with Derehem) was tortured into confession when they were both arrested in November 1541. Tortured like many others who had been sent to the Tower of London at that time.

Derehem most certainly had some aspect of control – it appears that he made confessions (under torture) that he and the queen had been betrothed when she was younger. At the request of her grandmother – or was it blackmail from Derehem? – the young queen took him into her royal household in late 1541. It is said that he boasted that he was ‘greatly favoured’ by the young queen in an apparent attempt to invoke jealousy in Culpepper.

On the 2nd November 1541, the ‘rose without a thorn’ found herself barricaded into her chambers, without any clear explanation. Terrified for her life, she pleaded to be let see the king, to plead her case. But even in his old age, Henry VIII acted unfairly. He locked himself away in prayer and refused all attempts for Katherine to see him. Even when she briefly escaped her chambers and ran to the doors of the chapel, he would not let her speak.

Katherine never saw her husband again.

In November 1541, she was moved to Syon Abbey where she was again kept in solitary confinement, with only a few maids for company. She was ordered to return all of her jewels and gifts from the king. One jewel she had to return was a ring that belonged to the queen before her, Anne of Cleves. This ring was a symbol of Katherine’s lawful and regal rights. By returning the ring, Katherine was relinquishing her life.

Relinquishing her lawful rights meant that the young Howard had no right to a formal trial. She had no chance to defend her honour. All that she could do was wait and see what the King decided to do.

 Now, I refer the judgment of my offenses with my life and death wholly unto your most benign and merciful Grace, to be considered by no justice of your Majesty’s laws but only by your infinite goodness, pity, compassion and mercy, without which I acknowledge myself worthy of the most extreme punishment.

An extract from Katherine Howard’s letter to Henry VIII, pleading her innocence and begging for mercy. Sadly, the king was not in a forgiving mood – two months after this was written, she was escorted to the Tower.

Meanwhile, Derehem and Culpepper met their fates. On 10th December 1541, both men were dragged out of their prison cells and executed in front of a loud jeering crowd. Initally, both men were to be hanged, drawn and quartered. But due to his previous favoritism at court, Henry VIII commuted Culpepper’s sentence to a simple beheading. Derehem received no such mercy.

On 10th February 1542, Katherine Howard was informed that she was to be taken to the Tower. The young woman was terrified. Reports say that she screamed and tried to fight the guards as they took her from Syon Abbey, out onto the fortilla, that travelled to the Tower. No doubt, it passed under London Bridge where the heads of Derehem and Culpepper were displayed on pikes. Seeing the men that she loved, their heads cut off and left to be eaten by birds, brought her to hysterics.

Locked in a prison cell, it wasn’t too long for the young girl to learn her fate. The same fate that befell her cousin before her: Katherine was to be executed. The night before, something was brought to the cell – the executioner’s block. Now, this was not a psychological game inflicted by the guards or even the king – Katherine had requested it herself. All she asked was for the block to be brought to her so she ‘could place herself and make trial of it.’ If she was to die, Katherine wanted to die with dignity.

And die with dignity she did. 7am, 13th February 1542, Katherine Howard, along with her kinswoman, Jane Boleyn, were escorted from their cells and beheaded. The young girl was frightened, pale as a ghost and needed help to climb up to the scaffold, but she remained composed and calm, asking for mercy on her soul and forgiveness before placing her head on the block that she had spent hours practising with.

I die a Queen, but I would rather die the wife of Culpepper.

Katherine Howard’s alleged last words before she was executed. While it is highly unlikely that she actually used these words, they have gone down in legacy.

Henry VIII is infamous for his six wives and multiple lovers. There were no repercussions for a man who had affairs in those times. But when young Katherine Howard found another man, she found herself on the block. Not very fair for a Tudor woman.

Did Katherine Howard love Culpepper? It is known that she had slight happiness with him at the very least. To love another man her age in comparison to an old king does not come as a surprise. Katherine’s actions were unfairly criticized by the king’s government and saw her die at a young age.

In truth, all this young queen probably really wanted was for real love. She would never have found it in an old, fat man on the throne. While trapped to a cruel king, she sought and maybe even found love in the form of a young courtier. But that search and that love would ultimately send her and those that the young Katherine Howard loved, to death by the executioner’s axe.

A Comparison of the Media Systems of Ireland and Germany

history, research, Society, study

There is no doubt that media systems differ in nearly every single country around the world. It is important to understand how these systems differ and how they construct media research. In this essay, I will be comparing the media systems of Germany and Ireland (my homeland). I will be looking at the media systems of these countries and how they differ. It is important to point out their differences in constructing media and how they differ in using empirical media research. I will compare the media systems of Ireland and Germany using the methods of empirical media research and comparing the media structures in both Irish and German systems.

Before comparing systems, it’s important to know the definition of media. Media is the collective communication outlets or tools that are used to store and deliver information or data. The media industry is comprised of different structures. These structures include, the press, broadcasting (radio and television), online media and internet, journalism, public relations and dynamics (digitization, commercialization and internationalization). The Irish and German media systems differ in structures.

We also need to know the definition of empirical media research. Empirical research is defined as research using sensory experience. Empirical research is a way of achieving knowledge and information through means of both direct and indirect observation or experience. The goal of research in general, is to understand the reality of the society in the form of data and its statistical evaluation and to know how they can relate to each other and how they can be interpreted. Surveying and evaluation methods play a central role in research. This evidence is information that justifies the truth or myth of a claim. In scientific method, the word ‘empirical’ is used to refer to working hypothesis that can be tested using observation and experiment.

Empirical media research is used in nearly every country in the world, including both Ireland and Germany. In Irish media, it has been used when conducting research into the criminology of Ireland. Researcher Michael O’Connell conducted empirical research into the segment of crime in Irish media. He analysed over 2000 articles over two months and he concluded that extreme and unexpected crimes were more commonly reported and received greater coverage (for example, The Scissor Sisters murder in 2005, where two sisters, Linda and Charlotte Mulhall murdered their mother’s boyfriend, Farah Swaleh Noor and dismembered his body.) in terms of word count than other crimes. In Ireland, murder was reported in the media over 3,000 times the level of its actual incidence in official figures whereas robbery was only 176 times the proportion of robberies reported. In wordage of articles that related to Irish crime, 25.7% of words related to murder, while 13.24% were connected to the crime of rape. This shows that in Ireland, through empirical research, it has been proved that crimes that are the most dramatic and the most guaranteed to get attention are the most commonly reported in Irish newspapers.

In German media, empirical media research can be traced back to the beginning of German press. It can be used to study the means of communication in the media. The first example of media research was submitted to the University of Leipzig in the year 1690. The press and research became the focus of university lectures from the eighteenth century onwards. In 1916, the Institut für Zeitungskunde at Leipzig was established and the studies of the role and function of the press were studied more seriously. The word was directed by economist Karl Bücher. His interest in the press effects, its influence on public opinion and the role as an economic force in German society led to the development of a new study called the Zeitungswissenschaft (science of the newspaper).

Several years after this establishment, other German universities followed in Bücher’s example and established institutes to teach Zeitungskunde. Between 1885 and 1923, 221 university articles were completed – according to Hardt, this was perceived as an indication of the general interest in the research of media. At the same time, Karl Jaegar and other researchers demanded an expansion of the field of Zetiungskunde to include other media, which marked the beginning of Publizistikwissenschaft which allowed for the study of communication media.

It was not until after the Second World War in 1945 that a new definition for the study and empirical research of mass communication as offered by Walter Hagemann at Münster. It was a revival of Publikzistikwissenschaft which in this case focused more on the study of social communication. According to Hagemann, this study was to emphasize an examination of media content rather than the technological means of communication. In his continuation of Hagemann’s work, Henk Prakke differentiated between systematic and functional approaches to empirical science. The systematic approach consisted of the study of information, opinion and entertainment and their effects in society. The functional approach included a study of interpersonal communication in its public aspects as a means of providing companionship and regulation human behaviour in and by society. Today in Germany, the study of Publizistikwissenschaft is studied in universities in Berlin, Göttingen, Mainz, München, Münster and Nürnberg. Students may enrol in programs leading to M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

Media systems are dependent on politics, law, economy and culture for a circulation press. There are both dependent and independent systems in the world of media.

Researchers Paolo Mancini and Daniel C. Hallin propose four major dimensions in which media systems can be compared: the development of media markets; political parallelism; the development of journalistic professionalism and the degree and nature of state intervention in the media system.

They state that each of these dimensions is complex in every media system worldwide – in this case, the Irish and the German media systems. Before any systems can be compared, it is important to define the four dimensions, along with concepts related to them to understand some of the kinds of variation that can be found among media systems.

A media market is a region where the population can receive the same (or similar) television and radio station offerings, and also include other types of media including newspapers and Internet content. They can coincide or overlap with one or more metropolitan areas, though rural regions with few significant population centres with less access to media can also be designated as markets.

Media markets are usually identified by the largest city which is normally located in the centre of the market region. However, geography and the fact that some metropolitan areas have large cities separated by some distance can make markets have larger shapes and result in two, three, or more names being used to identify a single region. For example, the three largest cities in Ireland are Dublin, Cork and Galway. As the largest cities, their names are often used to identify a single region in the Irish media industry.

In some countries, some media structures can be generally larger than others. For example, in Ireland the print media market is significantly larger than the film industry. The print media is divided into daily national newspapers and weekly regional newspapers along with national Sunday newspapers. In Germany, the print media market is also bigger than the radio broadcasting industry. This is possibly due to the fact, that the print media market has been in mass circulation longer than any other media structure.

Mass circulation is the wide spread of a certain subject or object – in this case, the wide spread of the press, whether it be written, verbal, in radio or television broadcasting or on the Internet. The earliest example of the mass circulation of press is the newspaper.

The printing press was invented in the Holy Roman Empire by a German goldsmith, Johannes Gutenberg around the year 1440. Gutenberg developed a printing system, by adapting existing technologies to printing purposes, as well as adding inventions of his own. He made type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, which was critical for producing durable type that produced high-quality printed books. Gutenberg created this type by inventing a special matrix enabling the quick and precise moulding of new type blocks from a uniform template. He is also credited with the introduction of ink made from oil. As printing material, he used both paper and parchment of very good quality.

The Printing Revolution occurred when the spread of the printing press facilitated the wide circulation of information and ideas. In 1480, there were printers active in 110 different places in Europe including Germany. By the year 1500, printing presses that were working throughout Europe had printed more than twenty million copies of books. By the seventeenth century, the printing press’s output rose to over 150 million.

The oldest newspaper published in Europe was the Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien in Germany in the year 1605. This is recognised by the World Association of Newspapers as the world’s first newspaper. The Relation was published by Johann Carolus (1575-1634) in Strasbourg as this city had the status of a free imperial city in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The newspaper did not arrive in Ireland until the late-nineteenth century. The oldest newspaper in Ireland is the Limerick Chronicle first published in 1889. It is still in circulation as the Limerick Leader but the German Relation is no longer in publication.

According to Hallin and Mancini, one of the most obvious differences among media systems has to do with the development of the mass circulation press. In some countries, mass circulation newspapers developed in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, in others, they did not. That difference is reflected today in different rates of newspaper circulation from a high of 367,924 (Germany) to a low of 90,052 (Ireland).

The distinction shown here, is not only one of longevity of the printing of newspaper in both Ireland and Germany. It is also a distinction in the nature of the newspaper, its relation to its audience and its role in the wider process of social and political communication. Newspapers in Northern Europe tend to be addressed to a mass public that are not necessarily engaged in the political world. They are in a vertical process of communication, mediating between political elites and the ordinary citizen, though they may at the same time, play a role in the horizontal process (communication with more sophisticated and politicized content).

The differential development of mass circulation newspapers is naturally accompanied by differences in the relative points of print and electronic media. In countries where mass circulation newspapers are absent, the mass public relies heavily on electronic media for information about political affairs. The presence or absence of a mass circulation press has deep implications for the development of the media as political institutions.

However, there are other aspects of the structure of media market that are of significant importance. One of these is the distinction between media systems characterized by a clear separation between a sensationalist mass press and ‘quality’ papers addressed to an elite readership (a very strong example is Britain) and those where the newspaper market, either because they lack a mass communication press in general or because they are dominated by newspapers that serve elite and mass readerships simultaneously i.e. newspapers that have a higher subscription and readership than others.

Newspaper markets also vary in the balance of local, regional and national newspapers. Ireland is dominated by national press, Germany is dominated by local and some countries have a combination of both. Some media markets are simply bigger than others – this can have important implications for the number of media outlets, hence the reason for state regulation of media and the relation of media outlets with political actors. Language factors are considered important. Although newspapers are sold daily in every country’s native language (e.g. Germany), English language newspapers are also sold to a high standard in nearly every country.

Political parallelism is defined as the degree and nature of the links between the media and political parties, or more broadly, the extent to which the media system reflects the major political divisions in society. It refers to the character of links between political actors and the media and more generally the extent to which media reflects political divisions. Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini defined political parallelism in that it refers to media content and the extent to which different media reflect distinct political orientations in their output.

In history, political advocacy was seen as an important function of the print media emerging in the late 18th to early 19th century. Political parties and politicians established newspapers and supported them as a means of promoting themselves and their political messages. The newspaper only began to emerge as a force in the political world in the early 19th century. Newspapers would eventually become the political world’s main function in every country.

A factor that played a large part of political parallelism is journalism. Journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast. Journalism provides information for people about what is happening in the world such as wars and political debates or technological innovations that might affect their interests. It provides entertainment in the form of human interest stories (also known as celebrity news and scandals) and the print equivalent of gossip. Journalism exists in a very huge way in both Ireland and Germany.  It has many functions in the world of media.

The political journalist was seen as a publicist who saw it as their role to influence public opinion in the name of a political cause. In many cases, newspapers were established on the initiative of political parties or supported by them. These newspapers are often referred to as ‘broadsheets’. Such an example can be seen in the establishment of ‘Der Angriff’ by the Nazi Minister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. This newspaper was used as a way to influence readers and promote the message of the Nazi Political Party. Ireland also has several political party newspapers, including ‘Saoirse Irish Freedom, a newspaper that is politically aligned to the Republican Sinn Fein and promotes that ideas of this political party.

But by the end of the nineteenth century, a contrast in political journalism began to emerge – in the contrast, the journalist was seen as a ‘neutral arbiter’ of political communication i.e. standing apart from particular high cases of interest and causes and instead, providing information and analysis that were ‘uncoloured’ by partisanship. This journalism contrast has been connected with the development of the commercial press. Their purpose was more intended to make money, rather than to serve a political cause and were financed by money rather than to serve a political cause. This type of newspaper is known as a ‘tabloid.’

Basically, there are newspapers (in particular, tabloids) that do print what is happening in the world of politics, but are more interested in any scandal behind the political person, rather than their campaign. In Ireland, the most famous tabloid newspaper is ‘The Irish Sun’ with a circulation of over 56,000 per day. This newspaper usually promotes scandal rather than a political message on their front pages, in order to sell their newspapers. In Germany, the tabloid newspaper is slightly different to the Irish, in the fact that they sell Boulevardzeitungen – a style of newspapers that are characterised by big, colourful headlines, pictures and scandalous stories, similar to Irish tabloids but they are different in paper format. The most widespread boulevard paper in Germany – the Bild or Bildzeitung has a broadsheet format. The Bild has a circulation of over 2 million a day (except Sundays and public holidays). Similarly, to Irish tabloids, the Bild sells political stories inside the paper rather than on the front page, preferring to focus on scandal, rather than truth. In 2006, the German weekly magazine, Der Spiegel wrote that the newspaper is ‘a daily dose of high-resolution soft porn.’ For 28 years (from 1984 to 2012), it was noted that the Bild had topless women featured in the first page – this can be seen as a way to sell their paper. In the Irish tabloid, similar methods were used to sell newspapers. The women who posed for Irish papers were known as ‘Page 3 Girls.’ Irish papers dropped the ‘Page 3’ in August 2013.

In comparison to German newspapers, most Irish papers were derived from British publications. While Ireland does have its own original newspapers (e.g. Irish Independent and Sunday Business Post), many papers are derived from papers already in publication in Britain e.g. Irish Sun, Irish Mirror, Irish Daily Star. The Irish versions of British papers also copy the British style – the addition of ‘Page 3’ in the Irish Sun was derived from the addition of ‘Page 3’ in the British version.

Historically, another important part of political parallelism is organizational connections between the media and political parties. In the twentieth century, many media organizations were connected through institutions such as churches and trade unions which helped distribute political newspapers and raising funds. Though these organizational connections have since died out, their influence can still be seen in the media institutions of countries where they used to be strong. In the early days of Irish media, the Catholic church had a strong influence on journalism and would publicly denounce publications dealt with issues that were forbidden in the eyes of the church – issues such as illegitimacy, abortion and divorce.

Political parallelism is used in the partisanship of media audiences with supporters of certain political parties buying newspapers or watching television programs that are related to an opposing political party. It is also used in journalistic role orientations and practices. In some systems in the world, some journalists retain a more ‘publicist’ role i.e. acting as a promotor and protector of politicians – this is influencing public opinion. This is not seen in either Irish or German journalism. In both countries, journalists see themselves as providers of neutral information and entertainment – this is a low level of political parallelism. From studying both Irish and German newspapers, it is evident that while news from the political world is promoted in the media, at the same time, nobody takes any sides in any political party while writing stories. In both Irish and German newspapers, journalists write about what is happening in every political party, but they don’t write about how great such-and-such a politician is. They remain neutral to political parties and elections.

Moving on to journalism professionalism, we need to know the definition of ‘professionalism’ before considering the segment. Professionalism is defined as the competence or skill expected of a professional. Hallin and Mancini points out that the concepts of ‘professionalism’ have always been subject to sharp debate. The core definition of professionalism has been the subject to repeated research and study. According to Hallin and Mancini, the ideal type of professionalism is based on the history of the ‘classic liberal’ professions, particularly medicine and law. Journalism is not part of the ideal type of professionalism as it has not systematic body of knowledge. While ‘professional training’ has become common and ‘needed’ in the occupation of journalism, it is not essential to the practice of the career.

Up until 1982, there were few professional training opportunities for journalism in Ireland. Naturally, the situation has changed since then, with apprenticeships and work experience being offered with newspapers such as Irish Independent and Irish Examiner. All universities in Ireland offer degrees, not just in Journalism, but also Broadcasting, Communications, Creative Writing etc.

Not all journalists in Ireland choose to study journalism in university. One example is Veronica Guerin (1958-1996) who studied accountancy at Trinity College in Dublin before beginning work as a reporter for the Sunday Business Post and Sunday Independent from 1990 until her death in 1996. Throughout her journalism career, she used her accountancy knowledge to trace the proceeds of illegal activity throughout Ireland. In 1996, Guerin was murdered by drug gang members after she began to report on their activities across Ireland.

In Germany, degrees in journalism and media existed in universities long before they did in Ireland. As mentioned previously, it was in Germany that printing was invented and the first newspapers were produced. Degrees in journalism have existed in German universities since the 17th century. However, like Ireland, not all journalists in Germany study journalism. An example is the podcaster, Larissa Vassilian (stage name, Annik Rubens) who studied American cultural history, political science and ethnology at the Ludwig-Maximillians University in Munich before becoming a podcaster on YouTube.

Also like Ireland, German journalists have been murdered either in location or because of the subjects of their reports. In 2006, journalists Karen Fischer and Christian Struwe were shot in Afghanistan while they were doing research for a documentary. They were also the first foreign journalists killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

State intervention (also known as governmental intervention) is regulatory actions taken by a government in order to affect or interfere with decisions made by individuals, groups, or organizations regarding social and economic matters. There are different types of society in the world and each of them has a different structure and way of ruling the country.

State intervention is involved in the media industry in both Ireland and Germany. There are different reasons why the government interfere in the media industry. One reason for governmental intervention is the development of the economy. The government must look after their people – in order to do so, they have to provide the needs of the people and of the country. They also have the duty to encourage people to purchase different types of media; in order to do this, they need to provide a good image to the public so they can persuade the public to purchase media in their country.

In Ireland, RTE (Radió Telefís Éireann) is the only media company that is state controlled. The company was founded on 1st June 1960. It is financed by television licence fee and advertising. RTÉ is run by a board appointed by the Irish government. General management of the company is controlled by the RTÉ Executive Board and is regulated by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Its television stations include RTÉ One, RTEjr (a channel for children) and RTE News Now. Radio stations include RTÉ 2FM and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta (an Irish-language radio broadcaster.)

All other radio and television stations in Ireland are independently owned. Radio stations such as Today FM and Newstalk are part of an independent media holding company called Communicorp. It was established in 1989 by Denis O’Brien, the richest native-born citizen in Ireland. The company owns a majority of Ireland’s radio stations (apart from those run by RTÉ). In 2015, it was reported that Communicorp as a 20% share of the Irish radio market.

O’Brien also is the largest shareholder in the Independent News & Media (INM) which publishes Ireland’s two best-selling newspapers (Irish Independent and Irish Times). INM’s newspaper dominance along with Communicorp’s radio assets anchors Denis O’Brien as Ireland’s major private and independent media mogul.

Another independent television station in Ireland is TG4 which was launched on 31st October 1996. It is the only broadcaster in Ireland that produces programs in the Irish language. All programs on TG4 are in Irish but they have English subtitles. Apart from TG4 and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, all radio and television broadcasters are in English.

In Germany, the Grundgesetz guarantees freedom of press, speech and opinion, unless it is determined to be hate speech i.e. speech that is considered sexist or racist. There is no doubt that there has been quite a lot of state intervention in the German media industry, particularly during the Second World War. In the times of Nazism, Adolf Hitler, elected Joseph Goebbels as Minister for Propaganda. It was his duty to promote the message of Nazism through the usage of posters, newspapers, radio and education. Throughout the Second World War, Germany had no freedom in the media industry. All Jewish and non-Nazi supporting newspapers and radio stations were banned and any book that did meet the right status of Nazism was burned in various book-burnings all over Germany in the year 1934.

In the Second World War, Hitler and the Nazis had almost complete control over the media industry. Radio stations played music only approved by the Nazi government and played Hitler’s speeches to its listeners. German journalists had to be approved by the Nazi party and the newspapers only promoted the good side of the German government. Education was also controlled by the government – schoolbooks had to be approved and carried out quotes and questions diminishing Jews.

Although the Second World War ended in 1945, and the Nazi government collapsed, state intervention continued in Germany. Germany was separated into two countries in 1961 after the erection of the Berlin. From 1961 until 1989, the countries were known as East and West Germany. The East German government (or DDR) was instituted based on the Soviet Union in Russia, following the ideas of communism. The government controlled the media of East Germany completely and were determined that the public would not be influenced by the media of the West Side or the rest of the world. Every journalist had to be approved by the government and people who owned typewriters had their names taken down. If they wrote any article that was deemed inappropriate by the East German government, their typewriter could be confiscated and possibly destroyed and the owner could even be arrested. Journalists and writers did not have freedom of expression in East Germany during the reign of communism. This was greatly shown in the 2006 German film ,Im Leben des Anderens’ (The Lives of Others) – this film covered how the East Berlin government controlled not just the media but the whole community. One scene in the film shows how the East German government workers open all the letters of the residents. It was not until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of communism in Germany that governmental control over the media industry began to lessen. However the strong influence of the government in German media still remained for many years.

In both Ireland and Germany today, state intervention still exists in the form of censorship. Censorship is defined as the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films etc. that are considered too controversial, politically unacceptable or a threat to security.

The government of Ireland still retain certain laws that allow for censorship of films, newspapers, magazines and pornography. In the early years of the Irish government, censorship was strongly enforced across the country, particularly in areas that were considered to be in contradiction of the Catholic religion, for example, abortion and homosexuality. The Irish Film Classification Offices has the power to heavily cut films and videos for rental release or place high age ratings on them or ban them in the country completely. In 2000, the Irish Film Classification Office gave the film The Cider House Rules a certificate of 18 in the Republic of Ireland, due to its themes of incest and abortion. In 1997, the IFCO banned the film Natural Born Killers due its high level of violence and association with various shootings in America (in particular, the Columbine Massacre of 1999). In DVD shops in Ireland such as HMV, employees are not allowed to sell DVDs that have an 18+ rating to customers without legal identification.

Advertisements are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI). Advertisements must be factually accurate and truthful and adverts for illegal services are not allowed. Some advertisements on television are shown after a certain time in the evening as they can deemed controversial or too upsetting. An example is the advertisements of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). These advertisements often involve graphic scenes of car crashes and deaths; though they do carry a strong message, these scenes are usually considered too frightening and disturbing for viewers, particularly young children hence, they are shown on television at a time when most children have gone to bed. This is known as the watershed.

The ASAI does not have the power to remove an advertisement from circulation. That power belongs to the Censorship of Publications Board in Ireland, a company that also reviews newspapers and magazines that are referenced to by the Customs and Excise and members of the public. In Ireland, up until the 1980s, a large amount of mainly foreign newspapers and magazines were banned in Ireland, including Playboy and News of the World (which in 2011, ceased publication completely after its phone-hacking scandal).

In contrast, Ireland does not have a large censorship of music and video games. Games in Ireland may only be banned if the Film Censor decrees that it is unsuitable for viewing. This has only happened once, with the banning of the video game Manhunt 2, two weeks before its launch date 2007. The ban of music refers to one or more radio stations simply refusing to play a song rather than a legislative ban. However the Irish courts did become involved with the banning of the song ‘They Never Came Home’ by Christy Moore due its strong association with the Stardust nightclub fire in 1981 which claimed the lives of 48 young people.

In Germany, censorship has taken many forms during the history of the country. Today it is mostly exerted in the form of restriction of access to certain media (for example movies and video games that are considered too violent, frightening or controversial for younger audiences) to older teenagers or adults. However, censorship in Germany has taken many forms throughout the country’s history. It was at its strongest during the Nazi era.

Many media were under Imperial control during the German Empire (1871-1918). The Imperial Press Law (1874) ended the government’s right to censor materials before they were published, while also removing the need for a license to publish from the government. However the German government still had the right to be notified of publications when printing began. When the First World War broke out in 1914, the German military began control over censorship and restrictions on material became much harsher – they could be banned in Germany because of association with an enemy person or country or even because the censor felt the piece in question was a waste of time. When the Weimar Republic took control of the German government, they banned censorship completely apart from the censorship of film. Film censorship was overseen by the Film Assessment Headquarters – their purpose was to censor films that were related to pornography and other indecent content.

Censorship in Germany reached its strongest point with the rise of the Nazi party (1933-1945). All media in Germany was censored by order of the Minister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. The aim of censorship under Nazi rule was simple: to reinforce Nazi power and to suppress opposing viewpoints and information. Censorship was used to create the image that the Nazi party was the most powerful governmental party in the world.

After the end of the war and the separation of Germany into East and West, censorship changed. It was strongly implemented in East Germany by the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. The primary goal of East German censorship was to protect the interests of communism and its implementation. Works critical of the East German or Soviet governments were forbidden, as were any works which seemed sympathetic to fascism. In West Germany, media was censored by the Allies. Over 30,000 books were banned and destroyed similarly the book burnings of the Nazi era. However, this measure ordered by the Allies was seen as part of the denazification program of Germany.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, censorship was relaxed a great deal. The new German government, the Bundesrepublik Deutschland guaranteed the freedom of press, speech and opinion. However, publication laws still exist. Publications that violate laws such has promoting slander can still be censored with the authors and publishers liable to penalties. Subjects such as public Holocaust denial can lead to authors spending at least five years in prison.

The Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefahrdende Medien (Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors) is one of Germany’s official censoring company. Media listed by this company may be purchased only by adults for example adult magazines such as Playboy. Similar to Ireland, censorship in Germany can also still exist in the form of the banning or censoring of violent video games. An example is seen in the video game Wolfenstein in 1994 – the violence was toned down and Nazi symbolism was removed from the SNES game.

One area where Ireland and Germany share similarities is social media. There is no doubt that social media has become a total phenomenon all over the world. With the rise of popularity of websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it is now rare to find anybody that doesn’t have links to social media.

Facebook is the most used social media website in both countries. 74% of people in Ireland use Facebook daily and there are over 27 million users in Germany. Sites such as Instagram and Twitter are also extremely popular in both countries. Twitter in Germany is considered unique due to the descriptive German language and the limitation of the characters that one can use in a tweet (140 characters).

Websites and applications such as Snapchat and Instagram where you can share photographs with friends online have also become extremely popular in both countries. In some reports, Instagram has become more popular than Twitter in Germany. In Ireland, 48% of people use Instagram.

Both Ireland and Germany also have their own social network sites. The largest home-grown social media platform in Germany is Study VZ, while in Ireland, a popular social media site for jobseekers is

However, both countries are also aware of the risks associated with social media such as child exploitation and cyber-bullying. There is a high trend among people in Germany to use false names online in order to protect their identities. In Ireland, there are websites that offer support for young people who have experienced problems online due to bullying and peer pressure.


As outlined, there are both similarities and differences between the media systems in Ireland and Germany. Some can argue that media actually began in Germany, with the invention of the printing press and the production of newspapers.

Since the invention of the printing press, media has expanded in both countries through radio, television, social media etc. Ireland and Germany differ in languages, publications and productions. This is partly down to the historical influences in both countries.

Ireland and Germany are similar in how their respective governments have a hold on media and censorship. They also both have high usages of social media through the forms of Facebook and Twitter. But the main similarity between both countries’ media systems is their strong influence and high usages nearly every day. There have been many advancements in the media in both countries with the arrival of social media and the internet. No doubt that the media systems in both countries will change in the future with further advancements in the areas of social media and technology, but there is no denying that users in both countries will continue to be intrigued by whatever is produced by the media.