Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Basil Clarke: Frontline journalist and father of PR

A biography of Sir Basil Clarke, the First World War newspaper correspondent and the father of the UK's public relations industry, is published this week.

From the Frontline is by Richard Evans, a media historian who has written for The Times and the Guardian, and is the first biography of Clarke.

Clarke joined the (then Manchester) Guardian in 1904 and then the Daily Mail in 1910, where he made his name during the First World War by defying a ban on reporters at the Front and living in Dunkirk as a fugitive so that he could send back reports of the fighting.

He was the first reporter into Ypres following the bombardment of it and he also caused a global scandal by accusing the Government of effectively "feeding the Germans" by failing to properly enforce its naval blockade.

After the war, Clarke became the UK's first public relations officer in 1917 and established the UK's first PR firm in 1924. His public relations career included leading British propaganda during the Irish War of Independence.

From the Frontline is published on June 14 and available from Amazon.

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