"[A] must read for media historians, journalists, and perhaps
just about anyone who is interested in ongoing questions about a
post-apartheid South Africa. Wasserman’s work deserves great respect for
encouraging a glocalized standpoint of tabloids in South Africa." —JHistory
"The author's thorough documentation and careful analysis will be
most appreciated by students of journalism or communications, as an
understanding of communications theory is helpful, but readers
seriously following current events may be interested as well." —Jill Ortner, Library Journal
"...Art in Crisis offers important insights into the history of visual journalism as well as the contributions of one of the twentieth-century's most significant black periodicals." --Jhistory <read review>
Through the story of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Scott M. Bushnell presents the political history of Fort Wayne, Allen County, and Indiana's northeastern region. With an informal tone and the snappy style of a seasoned journalist, Bushnell explores just how integrally newspapers were linked to, and even shaped, political events.
Recently the IU Press blog interviewed Bushnell about his latest book:
IU Press blog: How did a Poughkeepsie, NY native become involved in writing a history of a Fort Wayne, Indiana newspaper?
Scott Bushnell: When I was growing up, New York required eighth graders to
take a full year of state history. I can still remember a giant map I made of
the state, freckled with labels of products made in the various cities –
Yonkers, Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Binghamton, Ithaca and Poughkeepsie
(home of IBM, Smith Bros. cough drops, Dell Comics and Vassar College). It
instilled an appreciation for the unique aspects of New York’s communities and
their histories. And, since I lived in a city on the noble Hudson River, I was especially
interested in those along its rivers. My years as a reporter taught me that
local government was the essence of American democracy, but that this “essence”
was determined by the locales’ history. This helped me support one of my
reporters when he struggled to uncover the PCB pollution in the Housatonic
River in Connecticut. When I came to Fort Wayne – where two rivers join to form
a third – there was a talented, credentialed historian here whose work
convinced me that this was an area with a story to tell: that it had a proud
past of which the present generation was generally unaware.
IUPB: In the introduction of your book, you write that as a small American city, Fort Wayne deserves more attention. Why do you feel this way?
SB: Cities like Fort Wayne are often overlooked in favor of
state capitals or metropolitan areas. If
one wants to have greater insight, or a clearer understanding, of such issues
as the so-called Midwest work ethic or its entrepreneurial spirit, it can be
found in the history of the small Midwestern cities. I believe that if you want
to understand individual capitalism and the path to economic success, you ought
to examine the lives of Sylvanus Bowser or Theodore Thieme – both successful
Fort Wayne industrialists at the turn of the 20th century. It was,
and is, the individual inventiveness and the access to local capital that has
been the backbone of the nation’s strength. I think this has been clearly shown
on a regional basis by Midwest historian Andrew R.L. Cayton and ought to be
studied on a small-city basis further.
IUPB: The Journal Gazette is known as the liberal paper in Fort Wayne, while its competitor The News Sentinel is considered to be conservative. How do newspapers’ affinities toward liberal or conservative positions affect the reporting of the news?
SB: The notion of a “liberal newsroom” is one of the great lies
of our time, often propagated, it seems to me, by folks whose partisanship
makes them less willing to examine two sides of a complex issue. The editorial
position of a modern day newspaper affects it editorials, not its reporting.
There is more emphasis now than ever before on objectivity and accuracy in
journalism schools and in newsrooms.
IUPB: A dynamic personality who stands out in the history of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is publisher Andrew Joseph Moynihan. What is your favorite story about him? On a more serious note, what do you feel was his most important contribution to the success of the paper?
SB: The Moynihan stories are legion and the book has most of my
favorites. His meteoric personality and
unmistakable ability to find and train talented young journalists were Moynihan’s
great strengths. This proved true when he identified Lewis Ellingham as his
successor at the Journal-Gazette. Ellingham made it a modern paper of its time.
IUPB: Many newspapers are publicly owned, yet a private company operates the Journal Gazette. What are the advantages or disadvantages of private vs. public ownership, and what is the impact upon newspapers and their readers?
SB: The demise of Knight Ridder Corporation is indicative of the
disadvantages of a publicly owned newspaper or newspaper chain. The Knight
Ridder shareholders decided they were not making enough profit and put all of the
chain’s newspapers for sale. They received their profits when the newspapers
were divvied up among other newspaper corporations. One drawback is that these
other corporations, while well-intended, lack financial capability to pursue
important news around the world as Knight Ridder did.
And this is just one example of a loss to the American
IUPB: How do you think the increase in people reading the news online will impact the future of the Journal Gazette and the newspaper industry in general?
SB: It may not seem so now, but it is a good thing that online
news has occurred. It is increasing young readers’ appetite for news and for
understanding our complex world. Its brevity will drive many young readers to
seek more information – broadcast, blogs, books, magazines and, yes, even
newspapers. Newspapers learned how to package news and advertising in the 19th century and find ways to get it into the hands of the readers. For example, the
Journal-Gazette and most other small city newspapers used to print mid-week
weekly editions that were mailed to readers beyond the delivery distance of a
horse-drawn vehicle. These editions carried summaries and actual articles that
had been printed in the daily issues, enabling farmers and their families to be
current on national, state and local issues. These weekly editions disappeared
in the Fort Wayne area around the time of World War I as motorized vehicles
became more common for daily newspaper delivery. Similarly, newspaper design
has changed over the years to a more visual layout, reflecting the readers’
preferences. The challenge of news online will – and is – bringing about changes
to the Journal Gazette and the rest of the newspaper industry.
IUPB: As a Fort Wayne native, I was intrigued by the history of the Journal Gazette. What can others who aren’t from Fort Wayne or the region learn from reading this history of a small American city newspaper?
SB:Hard News, Heartfelt Opinions is, at its roots, a paean to
newspapering. Yes, the book is about a certain group of people at a certain
period of time. Yes, it is a look at Midwestern American society and how it
addressed the issues of its day. And, yes, it is also a tribute to the men and
women of a great profession, dedicated to preserving freedom of the press in
Fort Wayne and the rest of northeastern Indiana every day.
But it is a bit more than that, too: It is meant to look at
the difference between news and history. The Journal Gazette reported the news
of the day and this book tries to see now if the paper’s perspective on the
news proved historically accurate. For example, The Daily Gazette subscribed to
a telegraphic service during the Civil War and it reported on the Union victory
at Gettysburg while its opposition (without a wire service) claimed the
Confederate Army had not been defeated. Readers of both newspapers responded strongly to what they read and
This may seem very obvious, but it is an important facet for
today’s world and its addiction to constant “news.” What was seen as an undisputable historic news
event in 1907 is now viewed as inconsequential, regardless of the uproar it
caused 100 years ago. This ought to be considered when a news bulletin today
captures our passions. It may be very mundane tomorrow.
"In 'People or Monsters?' Liu develops a very perceptive analysis of the communist system where the monopoly of the Party allows cadres to establish networks through which they enact absolute power, ending up in absolute corruption . . . By republishing this anthology, Perry Link helps attract attention to this writer who played such an important role in the 1980s and who, to this day, has not found a successor in China."