Aviatik och journalistik: Flygbaronen och medierna kring 1910
2012 (Swedish)In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483, Vol. 78, no 2, 13-40 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In the first years of the twentieth century, numerous attempts were made at powered flight. What is commonly labelled 'the pioneer era' (1900-1914) covers the unsteady beginnings of the motorized airplane as well as its large-scale introduction in warfare and for the transportation of goods and passengers. Initially regarded as a foolish toy for hazardous adventure, the airplane rapidly became a favoured symbol of modernity, and the engineers, pilots, and entrepreneurs involved were celebrated as the heroes of progress. However, the quick change in opinion regarding the use and benefit of airplanes was not only prompted by the technical skill of the inventors or the bravery of the flyers. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the media history of early aviation, including the celebrity pilot as an important means by which aviation was publicly experienced and popularized. Through a case study of the mediatization of the first Swedish aviator, Carl Cederstrom (1867-1918), the article explores the interplay of the press, other kinds of media, and advertising in the introduction of the motorized airplane in Sweden in around 1910. At this time, air shows and competitions were being arranged all over the world. The media coverage was massive, and the aviators were frequently interviewed and celebrated. The press, however, did not only report on the events. By offering prizes and arranging competitions, individual newspapers played an active role in the introduction of powered flight. When the Stockholm Air Show was held in 1910 and 1911, one of the Stockholm dailies, Dagens Nyheter, was among the main organizers. The relation between the air show and the press coverage can be interpreted in terms of a feedback loop: the reporting drew attention to the show; the show became a mass attraction; and the papers reported it even more. At the centre of attention was always the aviator Cederstrom himself, popularly known as 'The Flying Baron'. The status of this persona and the participation of the press, the cinema, and postcard publishers also made the air shows attractive for sponsors such as champagne houses, patent medicine companies, and manufacturers of fire equipment. It was this joint attention that quickly transformed a limited concern into national awareness. When the Swedish armed forces in 1912 sought funding for its first aircraft, the politicians were easily convinced of the benefits of aviation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 78, no 2, 13-40 p.
media history, celebrity culture, aviation, new journalism, marketing
Media and Communications
Research subject medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap; History
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-97934OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-97934DiVA: diva2:778942