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After the Czars and Commissars Cover

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After the Czars and Commissars

Journalism in Authoritarian Post-Soviet Central Asia

Eric Freedman

From Czarism and Bolshevism to the current post-communist era, the media in Central Asia has been tightly constrained. Though the governments in the region assert that a free press is permitted to operate, research has shown this to be untrue. In all five former Soviet republics of Central Asia, the media has been controlled, suppressed, punished, and often outlawed. This enlightening collection of essays investigates the reasons why these countries have failed to develop independent and sustainable press systems. It documents the complex relationship between the press and governance, nation-building, national identity, and public policy. In this book, scholars explore the numerous and broad-reaching implications of media control in a variety of contexts, touching on topics such as Internet regulation and censorship, press rights abuses, professional journalism standards and self-censorship, media ownership, ethnic newspapers, blogging, Western broadcasting into the region, and coverage of terrorism.

Against the Grain Cover

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Against the Grain

Interviews with Maverick American Publishers

Against the Grain is a collection of interviews with nine small press publishers, each one characterized by strength of resolve and a dedication to good books. Each press reflects, perhaps more directly than any large trade publisher could, the character of its founder; and each has earned its own place in the select group of important small presses in America.

This collection is the first of its kind to explore with the publishers themselves the historical, aesthetic, practical, and personal impulses behind literary publishing. The publishers included are Harry Duncan (the Cummington Press), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (City Lights), David Godine (David R. Godine), Daniel Halpern (the Ecco Press), Sam Hamill and Tree Swenson (Copper Canyon Press), James Laughlin (New Directions), John Martin (Black Sparrow), and Jonathan Williams (the Jargon Society). Their passion for books, their belief in their individual visions of what publishing is or could be, their inspired mulishness crackle on the page.

Ako-Aya: A Cameroorian Pioneer in Daring Journalism and Social Commentary Cover

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Ako-Aya: A Cameroorian Pioneer in Daring Journalism and Social Commentary

Patrick Tataw Obenson, alias Ako-Aya, the rabid critic, social crusader and witty journalist, all rolled up in one, was indeed a popular and widely admired pioneer in daring journalism and social commentary in Cameroon. Little wonder that when he died, he left behind countless painful hearts and many questions on the lips of his admirers. As a man of the people, the fallen hero of Cameroon's Fleet Street shared his experiences, be they good or bad, with his readers. He was a virile critic even of the sordid things in which he himself secretly indulged. Obenson's mind was open, and through his popular newspaper column - Ako-Aya - he exposed society and social action in all their dimensions. He had an axe to grind with all perpetrators of social vices, especially those of them that infringed on the rights of the common man. He gave them a good fight, using his newspaper as his only weapon - a weapon which could not be neutralized even by the most affluent nor the most coercive leadership. And he did so with nerve and valour and venom. Only Tataw Obenson could spit out really scathing pieces of satire, aimed directly at the highest governing authorities of his society. Only Obenson could make allusions even to his own apparently ugly self. Only he could be liberal and honest enough to confess how he boarded a taxi and later bolted without paying the driver. Only Obenson was able to foresee his imminent demise from the face of the earth and literarily wrote his own epitaphÖ

America's First Network TV Censor Cover

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America's First Network TV Censor

The Work of NBC's Stockton Helffrich

Robert Pondillo

In America's First Network TV Censor, Robert Pondillo uses the records of Stockton Helffrich, the first manager of the NBC censorship department, to look at significant subjects of early censorship and how Helffrich used censorship to promote positive changes in the early days of television in the 1940s and 1950s.

Anatomy of a Trial Cover

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Anatomy of a Trial

Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson

Jerrianne Hayslett

The People vs. O. J. Simpson ranks indisputably as the trial of the century. It featured a double murder, a celebrity defendant, a perjuring witness, and a glove that didn’t fit. The trial became a media circus of outrageous proportions that led the judge to sequester the jury, eject disruptive reporters, and fine the lawyers thousands of dollars. Now an insider at The People vs. O. J. Simpson reveals the untold story of the most widely followed trial in American history and the indelible impact it has had on the judiciary, the media, and the public.

 

 
            As the Los Angeles Superior Court’s media liaison, Jerrianne Hayslett had unprecedented access to the trial—and met with Judge Lance Ito daily—as she attempted, sometimes unsuccessfully, to mediate between the court and members of the media and to balance their interests. In Anatomy of a Trial, she takes readers behind the scenes to shed new light on people and proceedings and to show how the media and the trial participants changed the court-media landscape to the detriment of the public’s understanding of the judicial system.

 

 
            For those who think they’ve already read all there is to know about the Simpson trial, this book is an eye-opener. Hayslett kept a detailed journal during the proceedings in which she recorded anecdotes and commentary. She also shares previously undisclosed information to expose some of the myths and stereotypes perpetuated by the trial, while affirming other stories that emerged during that time. By examining this trial after more than a decade, she shows how it has produced a bunker mentality in the judicial system, shaping media and public access to courts with lasting impact on such factors as cameras in the courtroom, jury selection, admonishments from the bench, and fair-trial/free-press tensions.

 

 
The first account of the trial written with Judge Ito’s cooperation, Anatomy of a Trial is a page-turning narrative and features photographs that capture both the drama of the courtroom and the excesses of the media. It also includes perspectives of legal and journalism authorities and offers a blueprint for how the courts and media can better meet their responsibilities to the public.

 

 
Even today, judges, lawyers, and journalists across the country say the Simpson trial changed everything. This book finally tells us why.

Anonymous in Their Own Names Cover

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Anonymous in Their Own Names

Doris E. Fleischman, Ruth Hale, and Jane Grant

Susan Henry

Anonymous in Their Own Names recounts the lives of three women who, while working as their husbands' uncredited professional partners, had a profound and enduring impact on the media in the first half of the twentieth century. With her husband, Edward L. Bernays, Doris E. Fleischman helped found and form the field of public relations. Ruth Hale helped her husband, Heywood Broun, become one of the most popular and influential newspaper columnists of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1925 Jane Grant and her husband, Harold Ross, started the New Yorker magazine.


Yet these women's achievements have been invisible to countless authors who have written about their husbands. This invisibility is especially ironic given that all three were feminists who kept their birth names when they married as a sign of their equality with their husbands, then battled the government and societal norms to retain their names. Hale and Grant so believed in this cause that in 1921 they founded the Lucy Stone League to help other women keep their names, and Grant and Fleischman revived the league in 1950. This was the same year Grant and her second husband, William Harris, founded White Flower Farm, pioneering at that time and today one of the country's most celebrated commercial nurseries.


Despite strikingly different personalities, the three women were friends and lived in overlapping, immensely stimulating New York City circles. Susan Henry explores their pivotal roles in their husbands' extraordinary success and much more, including their problematic marriages and their strategies for overcoming barriers that thwarted many of their contemporaries.

Battling Nell Cover

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Battling Nell

The Life of Southern Journalist Cornelia Battle Lewis, 1893–1956

Alexander S. Leidholdt

A longtime columnist for the Raleigh News and Observer, Cornelia Battle Lewis earned a national reputation in the 1920s and 1930s for her courageous advocacy on behalf of women’s rights, African Americans, children, and labor unions. Late in her life, however, after fighting mental illness, Lewis reversed many of her stances and railed against the liberalism she had spent her life advancing. In Battling Nell, Alexander S. Leidholdt tells the compelling and ultimately tragic life story of this groundbreaking journalist against the backdrop of the turbulent post-Reconstruction Jim Crow South and speculates about the cause of her extraordinary transformation. The daughter of North Carolina’s most prominent public health official, Lewis grew up in Raleigh, but her experiences at Smith College in Massachusetts, and later in France during World War I, led her to question the prevailing racial attitudes and gender roles of her native region. In 1920, Lewis began her storied career with the News and Observer. Inspired by H. L. Mencken’s scathing criticism of the South, she soon established herself as the region’s leading female liberal journalist. Her column, “Incidentally,” attacked the Ku Klux Klan, lobbied against the exploitation of mill workers, defended strikers during the notorious communist-organized Gastonia labor violence, mocked religious fundamentalists who fought the teaching of evolution, and decried lynch law. A suffragist and a feminist who saw women’s rights as inextricably linked to human rights, Lewis ran for state legislature in 1928 and was one of the first women in North Carolina to be admitted to the bar. In the 1930s, however, Lewis faced repeated institutionalizations for a debilitating bout of mental illness and sought treatment from Christian Science practitioners, spiritualists, and psychotherapists. As she aged, her views grew increasingly reactionary, and she insisted that she had served as a communist dupe during the Gastonia strike and trials, that communists had infiltrated the University of North Carolina, and that many of her former progressive allies had ties to communism. Finally, many of her opinions completely reversed, and in the wake of the 1954 Brown v. Board decision, she served as an influential spokesperson for the South’s massive resistance to public school desegregation. She continued to espouse these conservative beliefs until her death in 1956. In his detailed retelling of Lewis’s fascinating life, Leidholdt chronicles the turbulent history of North Carolina from the 1920s through the 1950s, as industrialization and racial integration began to tear at the region’s conservative fabric. He vividly explains the background and ramifications of Lewis’s many controversial stances and explores the possible reasons for her ideological about-face. Through the extraordinary story of “Battling Nell,” Leidholdt reveals how the complex issues of gender, labor, and race intertwined to influence the convulsive events that shaped the course of early twentieth-century southern history.

The Best American Newspaper Narratives of 2012 Cover

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The Best American Newspaper Narratives of 2012

Edited by George Getschow

This anthology collects the ten winners of the 2012 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which is hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. The contest honors exemplary narrative work and encourages narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across the United States. First place winner: Eli Saslow,“Life of a Salesman,” published by the Washington Post, is about a Manassas, Va., swimming pool salesman experiencing the unraveling of his decades-long success story. Second place: Kelley Benham, “Never Let Go,” published by the Tampa Bay Times, is her personal account of the months following the birth of her premature daughter. Third place: Anne Hull, “Breaking Free,” published by the Washington Post, traces a teenage girl’s climb out of poverty as she prepares for college. Runner-ups include: John Branch, “The Day a Mountain Moved” (New York Times); Dan Barry, “Donna’s Diner: In the Hard Fall of a Favorite Son, a Reminder of a City’s Scars” (New York Times); Rosalind Bentley, “The Nation’s Poet” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution); Mark Johnson, “I Boy” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); Monica Rhor, “Homelessness” (Houston Chronicle); Louis Hansen, “The Girl Who Took Down the Gang” (Virginian-Pilot); and Martin Kuz, “Soldiers Recount 60-Second Attack That Left Them Reflecting on Life and Death” (Stars and Stripes).

Bohemian New Orleans Cover

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Bohemian New Orleans

The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press

In 1960, Jon Edgar and Louise "Gypsy Lou" Webb founded Loujon Press on Royal Street in New Orleans's French Quarter. The small publishing house quickly became a giant. Heralded by the Village Voice and the New York Times as one of the best of its day, the Outsider, the press's literary review, featured, among others, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, and Walter Lowenfels. Loujon published books by Henry Miller and two early poetry collections by Bukowski. Bohemian New Orleans traces the development of this courageous imprint and examines its place within the small press revolution of the 1960s. Drawing on correspondence from many who were published in the Outsider, back issues of the Outsider, contemporary reviews, promotional materials, and interviews, Jeff Weddle shows how the press's mandarin insistence on production quality and its eclectic editorial taste made its work nonpareil among peers in the underground. Throughout, Bohemian New Orleans reveals the messy, complex, and vagabond spirit of a lost literary age. Jeff Weddle is assistant professor of library and information studies at the University of Alabama. His work has appeared in Publishing History and Beat Scene. Learn about Director Wayne Ewing's documentary film "The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press" and watch a trailer at http://www.loujonpress.com/

Books & Rough Business Cover

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Books & Rough Business

Tullio Pironti

Books would seem to be one thing, and rough business another—except that the life of Tullio Pironti has brought both together. This mover and shaker in Italian arts and publishing began as a scuffling street kid in Naples, then enjoyed a boxing career that included two trips to the nationals, and only after that entered the book business. Yet in the decades that followed, he ended up working with the likes of the Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfuz and the Maestro of Italian film, Federico Fellini. Not surprisingly, then, Pironti’s memoir won wide attention in his home country, with more than 100 notices. Before anything else, the young Pironti had to survive a war. His memoir begins with a refugee experience, as he and his family are driven out of their homes in downtown Naples by the American bombing of 1942-43. Then after the liberation, Pironti must make his way with his wits and his fists, amid a colorful array of Neapolitan street figures. His recollections of youth provide rare insight into coming of age in a culture so ancient, so full of secrets. Anyone who wants to know the real Italy, and what it’s been through over the last half-century, will find Books & Rough Business a source of endless fascination. On top of that, this autobiography offers the timeless pleasures of watching a wily player work his way from next to nothing to great success, overcoming just about every kind of adversity along the way.

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