ERIC Number: ED362875
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Newsworkers during the Interwar Era: A Critique of Traditional Media History.
This essay critiques the depictions of rank and file newsworkers of the 1920s and 1930s that are offered in traditional journalism histories and in cultural, social, and women's histories of the press. Following a tradition established in the first half of the 20th century, contemporary media historians continue to reify the use of other standard media texts as important sources in understanding the history of mass communication. The chronological structure, coupled with technology-driven periodization, reinforces a belief in the notion of history as progress. The style, vocabulary, and language used in media histories reflect a continued belief in the knowability of historical truth. The treatment of reporters during the interwar period in media history texts is extremely limited, consisting for the most part of decontextualized superficial discussions of exceptional individuals who stand apart; omitted from this treatment for the most part is any consideration of reporters as a group of working people. Discussions of women reporters during the interwar years focus on the strategies individual women use to triumph over adversity, and emphasize the progress made (albeit limited) of women in the media. In their coverage of the Great Depression, media histories fail to adequately address the human consequences. Discussion of women reporters during the Depression is also limited. Media historians who do not address newsworkers fail to realize that regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity, reporters remain an underrepresented class of workers, whose influence and significance on American media history has not been fully explored. (Contains 41 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Depression (Economic 1929); Historical Background; Journalists; Media History
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (76th, Kansas City, MO, August 11-14, 1993).