Abstract: Magic Connections: German News Agencies and Global News Networks, 1905-1945 [Krooss]

Heidi Tworek


"Magic Connections" challenges our historical understanding of the news business. My research in twelve archives and seven countries investigates the global networks behind German media to trace how infrastructures, ideas, and individuals created news in the twentieth century. I consider the political economy of news to understand why German politicians, industrialists, and journalists came to question and seek to reform one of the very premises of modernity: the organizational structure of global communications. I argue that these elites seized upon news agencies to reshape national and global news for two main reasons. First, the business model of the news agency rendered it an ideal means to influence broader political, economic, and social circumstances. News agencies acted as the first gatekeepers of information and operated an astonishingly durable global cartel from 1870 to 1939. Second, the development of wireless technology enabled Germans to reconfigure geopolitics and reach directly audiences as far away as South America and East Asia. Indeed, ''Magic Connections'' explores how German news agencies reconstituted the modern infrastructure of communications from cartels and cables to competing wireless waves.