ERIC Number: ED205954
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Working-Class Readers: Using Labor Statistics to Study Newspaper Readership in the Late Nineteenth Century.
Nord, David Paul
Library historians and historians of literacy have been more creative than journalism historians in using individual-level historical data such as deeds, wills, depositions, surveys, and census figures to study reading behaviors of the past. For example, the series of family cost of living surveys conducted in the United States by state and federal bureaus of labor statistics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries can be of great use to journalism historians. These studies of working class family budgets include detailed information on family makeup, income, and expenditures--including expenditures on reading materials. A computer analysis of a sample of cotton textile worker budgets taken from an 1889-90 survey found that expenditures for newspapers were associated in interesting ways with family income, region of residence, ethnicity, and family life cycle. The analysis also found some evidence that working class families read newspapers more for diversion or amusement than for educational or self-improvement purposes. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Analysis; Journalism History
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (64th, East Lansing, MI, August 8-11, 1981).