ERIC Number: ED229770
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
The Press Conferences of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Beasley, Maurine H.
Newly discovered transcriptions of 87 of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's women-only press conferences held from 1933 to 1945 make possible an examination of the objectives, topics, and value of these conferences. By holding the conferences, Mrs. Roosevelt attributed to women an important function in the political communication process, and at the same time helped to secure the status and bolster the confidence of women reporters. The topics of the conferences were political issues related to women and legislation, and social and personal life at the White House. She also used the conferences to defuse criticism leveled at herself and her family, including the President, and to clarify statements made by him. At the time, male journalists felt that these conferences reduced the dignity of the First Lady, provided little legitimate news, and compromised reportorial objectivity. The transcripts reveal that Mrs. Roosevelt maintained traditional propriety, though the conferences did become a bit chatty, and that reporters occasionally would shield the First Lady. All in all, the sex-segregated press conferences were a useful device for Mrs. Roosevelt, enabling her to establish herself as an important figure, to promote the New Deal, and to improve the status of American women. (JL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A