Being innovative without heroism
In his “memoirs”, published just before he turned 50, Ross tells about his his extensive coverage of the Balkan wars and the subsequent lectures as a war reporter. He describes it as a turning point in his career, as it ultimately led him to give up his profession as engineer.
In looking back at the beginnings of his career, Ross uses two argumentative techniques, which he preferred to apply in his popular lectures, too. On the one hand, his "drive", his enthusiasm for experiment, to take the pulse of the time. For example, Ross went to Bulgaria and Turkey to send reports from the Balkan battlefields in 1912 to the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten, long before the spectacular boom of the genre of the war report started with the outbreak of the First World War. His journalistic accounts of the Balkan conflicts were considered sensational amid the often dull mass of reports from more familiar places. Yet on the other hand it is his very downplaying of sensationalism in the reports he wrote. Ross presents himself as a journalist who merely does his job and describes his impressions without any heroics. Ironically, the modesty of his journalistic efforts laid the foundation for the success he later achieved.
Colin Roß. Auf deutschem Boden um die Erde: Erinnerungen eines Weltreisenden. 1. Aufl. Köln: Hermann Schaffstein Verlag; 1934; 16-18.
Case: Speaking engagements
1 Ute Daniel. Bücher vom Kriegsschauplatz. Kriegsberichterstattung als Genre des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts. In: Wolfgang Hardtwig, Erhard Schütz, eds. Geschichte für Leser Populäre Geschichtsschreibung in Deutschland im 20 Jahrhundert. Stuttgart: Steiner; 2005; 93–121.