The year 1908 was not remarkable by most accounts, but it was an auspicious year for journalism. As newspapers sought to recover from big-city yellow journalism and circulation wars that reached their boiling point a few years earlier during the Spanish-American War, press clubs began to champion higher education. And schools dedicated to journalism education, led by the University of Missouri, began to emerge. Now sanctioned by universities, journalism could teach acceptable behavior and establish credentials. It was nothing less than the birth of a profession.
Journalism—1908 opens a window on mass communication a century ago. It tells how the news media in the United States were fundamentally changed by the creation of academic departments and schools of journalism, by the founding of the National Press Club, and by exciting advances that included early newsreels, the introduction of halftones to print, and even changes in newspaper design.
Journalism educator Betty Houchin Winfield has gathered a team of well-known media scholars, all specialists in particular areas of journalism history, to examine the status of their profession in 1908: news organizations, business practices, media law, advertising, forms of coverage from sports to arts, and more. Various facets of journalism are explored and situated within the country's history and the movement toward reform and professionalism—not only formalized standards and ethics but also labor issues concerning pay, hours, and job differentiation that came with the emergence of new technologies.
This overview of a watershed year is national in scope, examining early journalism education programs not only at Missouri but also at such schools as Colgate, Washington and Lee, Wisconsin, and Columbia. It also reviews the status of women in the profession and looks beyond big-city papers to Progressive Era magazines, the immigrant press, and African American publications.
Journalism—1908 commemorates a century of progress in the media and, given the place of Missouri's School of Journalism in that history, is an appropriate celebration of that school's centennial. It is a lode of information about journalism education history that will surprise even many of those in the field and marks a seminal year with lasting significance for the profession.
Betty Houchin Winfield — Betty Houchin Winfield, University of Missouri Curators' Professor, has written more than one hundred papers, articles, and book chapters about the news process, uses of history, White House newsgathering, and news management and political images. Author or coauthor of four books, including the award-winning FDR and the News Media (1990, 1994), Winfield was the recipient of the University of Missouri's system-wide Thomas Jefferson award, and served as a Jefferson fellow, 1998–1999. Her bachelor's degree is from the University of Arkansas, her master's degree from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Journalism, 1908: birth of a profession, ed. by Betty Houchin Winfield. Missouri, 2008. 356p index afp; ISBN 9780826218117; ISBN 9780826218131 pbk. Reviewed in 2009feb CHOICE.
Intending to make journalism a respectable profession, Walter Williams founded the Missouri School of Journalism in 1908. Winfield, a professor at the school and a specialist in political science, and her contributors look at the state of journalism in 1908, specifically targeting the birth of journalism education and also discussing journalism's relationship to the political, legal, economic, social, and cultural landscape. The essays examine the bond between the press and government, including the realization that the two needed to be separate, and the school's newspaper, which was developed as a newsgathering vehicle. Also discussed are Williams's creation of an ethical code of conduct for journalists; the philosophy of community journalism; the influence of press associations; the rise of corporate journalism; the evolution of advertising as a credible profession; how the establishment of a journalism school increased coverage of the labor movement and opened doors for women journalists; the use of technology to improve the design of newspapers; and the increasing coverage of sports, entertainment, and international news. The book touches on the African American and immigrant press. An interesting book for those interested in the history of journalism.
Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. -- P. A. Herb, North Central State College