Censoring Class Consciousness in the Nineteenth Century

Restrictions on cinema were folded into a more complex global matrix of censorship, lies, and selective truth-telling. By Eric Berkowitz, J.D.Writer, Lawyer, and Journalist “The barbarians that threaten society,” declared a French legislative deputy in the early 1830s, are the “[working classes] of our manufacturing towns.” In France, and throughout nineteenth-century Europe, elites were intent[…]

Bean Press: The Value of Local Newspapers and Local Issues

The best op-ed pages operate like a town square, allowing readers to discuss and debate issues important to their communities. By Dr. Johanna DunawayAssociate Professor of CommunicationTexas A&M University By Dr. Joshua P. DarrAssistant Professor of Political CommunicationLouisiana State University By Dr. Matthew P. HittAssistant Professor of Political ScienceColorado State University Introduction If you’re confused[…]

‘Newsies’: American Newsboys during the Great War and the Flu Pandemic

Movies and songs about newsboys proliferated during the period. By Dr. Vincent DiGirolamoAssociate Professor of HistoryBaruch CollegeCity University of New York (CUNY) World War I presented new opportunities to honor newsboys, particularly those who joined the armed forces. The Boston Globe made a minor celebrity of Fifekey Bernstein, the first Boston newsboy to enlist in the war.[…]

Bias: Journalism’s Longstanding Achilles’ Hell since the 19th Century

The accusation of bias is like kryptonite for responsible news organizations. Introduction When the Associated Press fired Emily Wilder for violating its social media policy, it caused a firestorm in the media industry. Critics noted that the firing came only days after GOP activists called her biased, re-animating an ongoing debate about how responsible news organizations should deal with[…]

Elijah Lovejoy Faced Down Violent Mobs to Champion Abolition and Press Freedom in 1837

Lovejoy belonged to a small fraternity of editor who used their printing presses in the decades before the Civil War to call for an end to chattel slavery. By Ken EllingwoodFormer Staff WriterLos Angeles Times It was gratifying that Rep. Jamie Raskin would invoke an obscure 19th century newspaper editor while laying out the impeachment[…]

A History of American Journalism in the 20th Century

In the quest for increased readership, newspaper editors began to publish sensational headlines and lurid stories. By Dr. Rick MusserProfessor Emeritus of JournalismUniversity of Kansas Introduction This article focuses on American journalism from 1900-1999. Although history does not often compartmentalize itself into convenient pieces, this focuses on the 10 decades as if each 10 years[…]

A History of Journalism since the 16th Century

In 1556, the government of Venice first published the monthly Notizie scritte (“Written notices”), which cost one gazzetta. Introduction The history of journalism spans the growth of technology and trade, marked by the advent of specialized techniques for gathering and disseminating information on a regular basis that has caused, as one history of journalism surmises, the steady increase of[…]

Media, Society, Culture, and You

Defining media, society, culture, and communication broadly. By Dr. Mark PoepselAssociate Professor of JournalismSouthern Illinois University The Role of Mass Media in Society “Society not only continues to exist by transmission, by communication, but it may fairly be said to exist in transmission, in communication.” John Dewey in Democracy and Education, 1916 More than one hundred years[…]

Propaganda and the American Public during World War II

Despite his reservations about the dangers of propaganda, President Roosevelt created the Office of War Information (OWI) in 1942. Introduction For most Americans today, the term propaganda brings to mind lies, brainwashing, and tyranny. Yet, like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the United States saw a great increase in the use of political messaging[…]

John Adams and ‘Fake News’ in Early America

“Fake news” and disinformation have been part of the conversation as far back as the birth of the free press. In the margins of his copy of Condorcet’s treatise Outlines of an Historical View of the Progress of the Human Mind, President John Adams scribbled a cutting note. Writing in the section where the French philosopher predicted that[…]

A History of the Broadcast Fairness Doctrine in the United States

The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. Introduction The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so[…]

Reading Times for Newspapers and Periodicals in Victorian England

Time, like place, is socially constructed rather than ‘natural’, and so one might expect ideas of time to be influenced by cultural change. Introduction Time is part of the very name of ‘newspaper’, with its promise of something new, and of ‘periodical’, suggesting something published at regular intervals. Time is also part of their nature,[…]

Reading Places for Newspapers and Periodicals in Victorian England

These reading places confirmed the centrality of periodical print to Victorian culture. Introduction We need to know where the local newspaper was read to understand how it was read, because the same texts take on different meanings in different places.[1] The same report of a Preston football victory over Blackburn has opposite meanings, of success[…]

When the Press Stepped in to Silence the Lies of a Nazi-Sympathizing Priest in 1938

Broadcasters silenced Father Charles Coughlin in 1938, just as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook Trump’s incitements. Introduction In speeches filled with hatred and falsehoods, a public figure attacks his enemies and calls for marches on Washington. Then, after one particularly virulent address, private media companies close down his channels of communication, prompting consternation from his supporters[…]

Readers of the Local Press in Victorian England

Starting from the reader rather than the text allows a new picture of nineteenth-century reading to emerge. Overview If we want to read periodicals because they were what the Victorians read, the work that must be done to bring them to life suggests they are not quite what they were.[1] James Mussell As Mussell’s epigram[…]

What Today’s News Has in Common with Early Execution Ballads

Violence, corruption, and murder dominate our modern headlines, Little has changed since execution ballads in sixteenth-century Europe. By Lisa Needham Introduction Since the start of 2020, it’s felt like the news has lurched from one catastrophic disaster to another. First came Australia’s devastating bushfires that ripped through the country, swiftly followed by a deadly global[…]

How the New York Media Covered the Stonewall Riots

The coverage of Stonewall is a reminder of what’s lost when alternative media outlets wither away. Introduction The Stonewall riots were a six-night series of protests that began in the early morning of June 28, 1969, and centered around the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Four days earlier, on June 24,[…]

How the Media Covered the Children’s March in the Civil Rights Movement

Not only was the children’s march relegated to lesser news, it was delivered without many pictures. Images of young black protesters being hit with fire hoses and police dogs in 1963 Birmingham are considered iconic. Hank Klibanoff saw them too. He was a fourteen year old paperboy in Florence when the Children’s march took place.[…]

The Nichols Family and Their Press: The Antiquarian Community in Victorian England

Looking at of the Gentleman’s Magazine, printers of county histories, collectors of manuscripts, and founder members of historical societies. John Nichols: Printer and Antiquary For three generations the Nichols family was central to topographical research and publication. Julian Pooley explores how as editors of the Gentleman’s Magazine, printers of county histories, collectors of manuscripts and[…]

Of Pears and Kings

Investigating an early 19th-century meme in the press to criticize the corrupt and repressive policies of King Louis-Philippe. This article, Brilliant Visions: Peyote among the Aesthetes, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ Images have long provided a means of protesting[…]

Did William Randolph Hearst Really Manipulate News to Spin Up a War?

“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”. In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be[…]

The Founders and Cries of ‘Fake News’

George Washington tired of those he called “infamous scribblers”. By Harlow Giles Unger “American Nation Debauched by WASHINGTON!” screamed a newspaper headline before charging the Father of Our Country with “the foulest designs against the liberties of a people.”  President Donald Trump would call it “fake News” and George Washington most certainly would agree.  After[…]

VP Spiro Agnew’s War on the Press during the Nixon Administration

When Vice President Spiro Agnew gave a speech in 1969 bashing the press, he fired some of the first shots in a culture war that persists to this day. Introduction Americans witnessed an unprecedented event 50 years ago: live television coverage on all three national networks of a speech by the vice president of the[…]

I.F. “Izzy” Stone: The Lessons of a Courageous 20th-Century Journalist

Remembering what one of last century’s most courageous Jewish journalists taught us. By Peter Dreier In this era of Donald Trump—with its widespread corruption and abuse of power—the world of journalism could use the voice of I.F. Stone, one of America’s greatest muckraking reporters, who died 30 years ago today at 81 on June 18,[…]

The Unlikely Journalist Who Dethroned America’s Robber Barons

Thanks to Ida Tarbell, we’re not to afraid to expose the shenanigans of the super-rich. Over the last few years, the idea of “the one percent” has become a popular way to discuss the gap between the fantastically wealthy—the one percent of Americans who control more than 20 percent of the country’s wealth—and the rest[…]

Think The Press Is Partisan? It Was Much Worse for Our Founding Fathers

A scheming and salacious newspaper reporter targeted Hamilton and Jefferson – and nearly ruined them. It is a common complaint that the drive for traffic at news sites in the digital age has debased our political dialogue, turning a responsible press into a media scramble for salacious sound bites. But partisanship and scandal-mongering go way[…]

Marie Colvin: The Work of a Journalist Who Died for Truth

The Syrian army, honing in on her satellite phone, targeted an artillery strike on the building where she was reporting from. By James Thornton HarrisIndependent Historian 2018 was an annus horribilis for freedom of the press.  Reporters Without Borders announced that 63 professional journalists were killed, of whom 49 were specifically targeted for death by an army or[…]

Sitting on a Scoop: The Story behind the V-E Headlines of May 1945

As we commemorate Memorial Day, the drama behind the headlines announcing Germany’s surrender in World War II. There’s quite a story behind the story of the end of the fighting in World War II in Europe. As we observe another Memorial Day, it is worth remembering the events of that busy May of 1945, when[…]