In recent decades, media history has become increasingly prominent, with scholarship emerging from a wide variety of disciplines. This chapter examines the methodological issues involved in conducting historical research in media studies. Using Adrian Bingham's Family Newspapers? and Laura Beers's Your Britain as case studies, it explains such topics as historical context, locating primary sources, and the production and reception of media texts. In addition, it outlines the wide variety of historical approaches that can be employed, including textual analysis, policy history, institutional history, and biography.
It has been more than 20 years since James Curran (1991, p. 27) referred to historical scholarship as the “neglected grandparent of media studies.” Since that time, media history has become increasingly prominent, with scholarship emerging from such diverse disciplines as history, literary criticism, communication, and sociology. The field has an institutional home in such research centers as the University of Sheffield's Centre for Journalism and History, the Aberystwyth University's Centre for Media History, and Macquarie University's Centre for Media History; such journals as Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television (published by the International Association for Media and History), Book History (published by the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing), and ...