INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE HISTORICAL ARCHIVE - HIGHLIGHTS
Amelia Earhart (1897-1939, declared in absentia) was a ground breaking aviator who was also a member of the National Women’s Party, who became the first female to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean. During her career she set many records, and it is not unexpected that the International Herald Tribune followed her career alongside those of other aviators such as Charles Lingbergh (1902-1974). The International Herald Tribune took great interest in Earhart’s career as an aviator, followed her many flights, and reported on her lesser known trips that included Mexico and Northern Ireland, as well as the historic, record setting flights. Their coverage included her world flight attempts, and its use for scientific study on the effect of strain, the scientific and research elements of her flights often being neglected by other reporting. The first attempt ended early after a crash on the second leg; the second attempt fared better, as Earhart made it to Asia. In a mystery that still persists to this day, Earhart and her company disappeared over the Central Pacific Ocean in early July 1937.
An area of strength for the International Herald Tribune was their coverage of arts and culture. As the newspaper was originally aimed at Americans living abroad before the hiatus in printing during World War II, it provided a vital resource in informing and guiding the American abroad in the best (and worst) pursuits, playing a valuable part in helping Americas adapt to and integrate into new cultures. The arts and culture coverage spanned a broad range of areas. It would include articles on major art exhibitions, including the major Paris Salons; new shows that were coming to Paris and would introduce new crazes, such as the Charleston as seen in the type of show that would make Josephine Baker famous; major events, such as the Expositions and World’s Fairs; and regular contributors on nightlife, most notably Art Buchwald’s legendary ‘Paris After Dark’ column.
Converge of technology and technological developments was an area of particular strength for the International Herald Tribune, which had a gift for covering the areas that would go on to have a significant impact on society and culture. Alongside aviation, another area the newspaper covered in depth was the rise of the automobile: as with many things, the interest intersected with James Gordon Bennett’s (1841-1918) interest with sport, founding the Gordon Bennett Cup for automobile races alongside his prizes in ballooning and yacht racing. The International Herald Tribune explored the “rise of automobilism” from many angles. Whilst it had straight reporting of developments in the field, it also explored debates around the car and its implications for society, including ideas from France that cars could replace the railways, and the carriage service in central Paris. It even reported on the possibility that horse drawn carriages could be replaced by “mechanical power”, an idea considered radical in the late 1890s.
In 1911, the first expedition to successfully reach the South Pole was made by a team led by Captain Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) The expedition began on October 1911, after an earlier attempt at starting had been aborted, setting off form the Bay of Whales on the Great Ice Barrier. During this expedition, a second team led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1869-1912) were also making their way to the pole. Although the media claimed it to be a “race”, and although Scott knew Amundsen was planning the same trip, Scott claimed that it was never the intention to race to the pole. Scott’s party arrived at the pole five weeks after Amundsen, but they died on their return journey. The death of Scott and his party overshadowed the success of Amundsen, especially in the British press – though the International Herald Tribune, more global in outlook, recognised the achievement of Amundsen as much as the tragedy of Scott.
Between 1888 and 1891, a murderer known as ‘Jack the Ripper’ committed a series of violent murders in and around Whitechapel, a notoriously impoverished area of east London in the Victorian era. Although the crimes were gathered together as the ‘Whitechapel murders’, it was not conclusively proven they were all the work of the same murderer. The coverage in newspapers consumed by the affluent middle class drew attention to the conditions in the slum areas of the city. As a result, the areas were improved in the early twentieth century, with the passing of the Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890 and the Public Health Amendment Act 1890. The multinational reach of the International Herald Tribune gave it an edge in reporting on these crimes, as it could provide content that stood out from other newspapers. They reported on comparisons to murders in other cities, questioning whether ‘Jack the Ripper’ copycat killers were operating in Paris and New York. The multinational reach of the newspaper also meant that it could diversify its content beyond rival papers, such as comparing the methods of detection used by French and British detectives in such cases.
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