The truth about George Orwell

IF YOU believe everything you read, then you will know that journalists are considered to be the third least trusted and admired individuals by the Great British public.  Perhaps Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell is as much to blame for this element of mistrust as that sustained by today’s ‘red top’ and ‘quality’ newspaper journalists.

George Orwell IllustrationPeople would argue that in their restless pursuit of securing an ‘exclusive’ story, reporters, journalists and hacks adopt an approach that is virtually sensationalist and worded with falsehood.  It’s a matter of opinion, and the same can be said for who readers consider to be the greatest British journalist of all time.

It’s a discussion that has raged on for many years amongst media commentators, university academics, and the general public, all of whom rely on journalism for their daily dose of information, whether true or shrouded in falsehood and distortion.

Many would say George Orwell, but reservations have been cast, especially with claims and counter claims plaguing his working life as a journalist.  Many emphasise his involvement with, and the views he held towards world politics.

By allowing this to become public knowledge, it immediately called into question Orwell’s objectivity as a journalist, a professional trait that needs to be preserved and upheld at all cost.

On January 25th, Prof. Keeble will be the guest speaker at the media lecture, and as he has written a number of journalism articles on George Orwell, he is best placed to answer such questions.

A ‘controversial’ Coventry Conversations will seek to find out Professor Richard Keeble’s views on the famous novels written by Orwell – ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ – and how he intended these to narrate his views on the rise and dangers of Fascisms of the Left and Right in the world throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

He will also be discussing the evidence released in 2007 by Britain’s secret services that suggest Orwell was not a communist as was first thought.  A file on Orwell was first opened in 1929, which then concluded in 1950 when he died.

The most significant entries were made in 1936 and again six years later in 1942 when he attracted the interests of the police for alleged communist activities and spying on fellow comrades.  The file’s last entry stated that Orwell ‘eked out a precarious living’ as a journalist.

A Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln, Keeble has written a plethora of books on journalism, many of which is concerned with ethics in the media profession.  His current news interest is the media coverage that surrounds the mainstream press’ reporting of UK and US military assignments.

Keeble is also a director of the Institute of Communication Ethics and co-edits their quarterly journal, ‘Ethical Space’.  He is also a member of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, contributing regularly to its journal, ‘Free Press’.

John Mair, inventor of the Coventry Conversations said: “There is no better man to examine the record of Orwell than Richard Keeble.  His finely tuned academic mind will be able to sort the wheat from the chaff of the Orwell legacy and myth. It will be fascinating.”

  • The talk will be held in room ETG34 in the Ellen Terry building at 13.00pm.

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