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Author: sknuts

‘All that is pleasant and noteworthy’. Claiming legitimacy and popularity in the early Flemish sports press: Sportwereld, 1912-1914

Presented by Dr Stijn Knuts, Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium – at the SpLeisH Colloquium 2017 The role of the press in modern sports has already received considerable attention. The majority of studies, however, see this sports press as a source of factual information or engage in critical analyses of its discourse as it relates to gender, class or identity. The actual cultural dynamics of the sports press’ news production has seen far less study. Making a start of filling this gap and understanding the practice of sports journalism, this paper analyses the Belgian sports paper Sportwereld through keyword searches...

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Celluloid Dreams. What photographs tell us about the history of Belgium’s vibrant cycling culture

‘Hold still, please.’ The shutter clicks. The 1905 photograph that results from this action features a run-of-the-mill classical background, found in photographers’ studios all over the country. The man in the picture, one August Peeters, is seated on his bicycle. The blurring below his feet suggests some contraption was used to keep his vehicle stable while he posed, only for it to be removed from the picture in a later stage. His attire is of the sporting kind, short shorts and a jersey. The ribbon he wears suggests he recently won a cycling race in his hometown Herenthout, in...

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‘All that is pleasant and noteworthy’. The sales pitch of a Belgian sports paper before the Great War

How do you sell a sports paper? How do you convince potential readers that your paper is a better buy than the other titles on offer at the newsagent’s? To make the difference, you need a good sales pitch. In this article, we look at how devising such a pitch already preoccupied sports journalists in the early twentieth century. As in most of Western Europe, sports were becoming a popular pastime in Belgium just before the Great War. Football appealed to an growing number of the bilingual country’s Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Walloons, as did boxing, while cycling was...

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Pens at Play in the Low Countries Derby – How football friendlies helped shape sports journalism before the Great War

On Sunday the 10th of March 1912, 13.000 football enthusiasts saw Belgium’s national team lose to the Netherlands one goal by two in Antwerp. The so-called ‘derby of the Low Countries’ had established a venerable history by then. In April 1905, the two national teams had played their first official fixture in Antwerp. Soon, they would square off semi-annually in Antwerp or in Dutch towns like Rotterdam. The derby attested to the growth of football in both countries since the foundation of the Dutch (1889) and Belgian (1895) football associations. A snapshot of the ‘real’ Low Countries derby of...

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