Northwestern University Press

Medill Visions Of The American Press

David Abrahamson

Published by: Northwestern University Press

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Medill Visions Of The American Press

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The American Revolution and the Press

The Promise of Independence

Carol Sue Humphrey, with a Foreword by David A. Copeland

Carol Sue Humphrey’s The American Revolution and the Press argues that newspapers played an important role during America’s struggle for independence by keeping Americans engaged in the war even when the fighting occurred in distant locales. From the moment that the colonials received word of Britain’s new taxes in 1764 until reports of the peace treaty arrived in 1783, the press constituted the major source of information about events and developments in the conflict with the mother country. Both Benjamin Franklin, one of the Revolution’s greatest leaders, and Ambrose Serle, a Loyalist, described the press as an “engine” that should be used to advance the cause. The efforts of Patriot printers to keep readers informed about the war helped ensure ultimate success by boosting morale and rallying Americans to the cause until victory was achieved. As Humphrey illustrates, Revolutionary-era newspapers provided the political and ideological unity that helped Americans secure their independence and create a new nation.

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Undercover Reporting

The Truth About Deception

Brooke Kroeger

In her provocative book, Brooke Kroeger argues for a reconsideration of the place of oft-maligned journalistic practices. While it may seem paradoxical, much of the valuable journalism in the past century and a half has emerged from undercover investigations that employed subterfuge or deception to expose wrong. Kroeger asserts that undercover work is not a separate world, but rather it embodies a central discipline of good reporting—the ability to extract significant information or to create indelible, real-time descriptions of hard-to-penetrate institutions or social situations that deserve the public’s attention. Together with a companion website that gathers some of the best investigative work of the past century, Undercover Reporting serves as a rallying call for an endangered aspect of the journalistic endeavor.

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Women of the Washington Press

Politics, Prejudice, and Persistence

Maurine H. Beasley

The Women of the Washington Press argues that for nearly two centuries women journalists have persisted in their efforts to cover politics in the nation’s capital in spite of blatant prejudice and restrictive societal attitudes. They have been held back by the difficulties of combining two competing roles – those of women and journalists. As a group they have not agreed among themselves on feminist goals, while declaring that they aspire to be seen as professional journalists, not as advocates of a particular ideology. Still, they have brought a different perspective to the news, as they have fought hard to prove that they are capable of covering political issues just like male journalists. Over the years women have networked with each other and carved out areas of expertise – such as reporting of politically-oriented social events and coverage of first ladies – that men disdained, while they pressed to gain entrance to sex-segregated institutions like the National Press Club. Attempting to merge the personal and the political, they have raised issues like sexual harassment that men journalists left untouched. At a point today where they represent about half of accredited correspondents, women still face shifting barriers that make it difficult to combine the roles of both women and journalists in Washington, but they are continuing to broaden the definition of political journalism.

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