John Dilley is an experienced newspaper and magazine journalist and former Director of the Leicester Centre for Journalism at De Montfort University. He is conducting research into how local and national newspapers covered the First World War. This blog focuses on one local Leicestershire paper, the Market Harborough Advertiser, the forerunner of today’s Harborough Mail. This blog will carry a weekly digest in real-time of what was making news in the Advertiser from 1914 until the guns went silent in 1918.


The Newspapers And The Great War project began in June 2014 as a collaboration between John Dilley and Dave Penman from De Montfort University’s Leicester Centre for Journalism. In this video produced by the DMU Square Mile graduate champion project they discuss their research into the reporting of WW1 in local newspapers. First published on April 23, 2015.


John Dilley and David Penman joined the marking of Armistice in Leicester on November 11, 2016, with a series of live events broadcast on Radio Leicester. The events were organised by John Coster as part of his Documentary Media Month. Dilley and Penman talk about their projects in front of the Digital Lights Sculptures in Highcross.


On November 11, 2015 John Dilley and David Penman delivered a lecture on their research as part of the launch of DMUlocal. The event – particularly poignant as it was Armistice Day – also included a lecture by Dr David Clarke from Sheffield Hallam University as well as an Immersive Electroacoustic Music performance created by DMU’s Professor of Composition, John Young. The words of the Frontline soldiers which have formed a major part of the primary methodology of the research project were spoken by  Single Honours journalism student Simon Sansome.lecture



5 thoughts on “About

  1. I stubbled across your blog while researching for information on William Eland, founder of the Harborough Advertiser and his use of photographic material before the War. Your Blogs are most interesting and I look forward to reading more between my own research. I hope you post the letter which talks about Herbert/ Bert Allen of Market Harborough who was buried alive after a German shell took out a farm house he was in. Good work Chaps,

  2. Hi, greetings from the USA. I just stumbled across your blog – I find it extremely interesting and a niche of its own in the blogger world. Thank you for your expertise, time and research. I am grateful for the educational experience you offer here. I have a few questions – why did you decide to choose this specific area for investigation? I have just started to go through your posts, but what conclusions are you coming to via the research? I noticed that in your post about the soldier and gun shell that there were moment you explained why the newspapers framed or posed certain descriptions in such a way – that these soldiers came from the community and back then, everyone would have known them. Or are there no conclusions to be had but simply a delivery of information through different voices of print? Maybe a combination of both? I am simply curious to know why this project specifically as opposed to any other theme about war and media? Again, thank you!

    • Thanks Jess for your kind comments. Have a look in the About section at the videos and you’ll get a clearer idea of why I set about this project. I was also inspired by the fate of my great uncle (see March 27 1918). Myself and my colleague David also have an academic research paper about to be published which I will also put on the website where it looks in depth at our conclusions.

      • I should have visited the ‘about page’ before I asked you most of my questions, as I have answers to them now! I guess I was consumed in reading about your studies, which I am just getting to the piece about the German offensive that took seven casualties from Harborough St. Tragically fascinating. I would like to read about your academic research regarding conclusions, too. Thank you!

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