The Year that Defined American Journalism explores the succession of remarkable and decisive moments in American journalism during 1897 – a year of significant transition that helped redefine the profession and shape its modern contours. This defining year featured a momentous clash of paradigms pitting the activism of William Randolph Hearst's participatory 'journalism of action' against the detached, fact-based antithesis of activist journalism, as represented by Adolph Ochs of the New York Times, and an eccentric experiment in literary journalism pursued by Lincoln Steffens at the New York Commercial-Advertiser. Resolution of the three-sided clash of paradigms would take years and result ultimately in the ascendancy of the Times' counter-activist model, which remains the defining standard for mainstream American journalism.
The Year That Defined American Journalism introduces the year-study methodology to mass communications research and enriches our understanding of a pivotal moment in media history.
'W. Joseph Campbell's compelling account of 1897 illuminates a decisive moment in the annals of American journalism—a time not unlike our own—when profound cultural, political and technological change challenged conventional wisdom and opened up new opportunities for journalistic theory and practice. The Year That Defined American Journalism provides a fresh perspective on a period that would shape the future of newsgathering in United States and in doing so makes a significant contribution to media historiography.' - Kevin Howley, Associate Professor of Media Studies at DePauw University
'This is a book about clashing journalistic cultures, featuring swashbuckling publishers and reporters. It pits the likes of Hearst, Ochs and Steffins against one another and examines issues we still grapple with today: participatory journalism vs. detached reporting.' -Charles Overby, Chairman and CEO of The Freedom Forum
'Campbell's book is worth the price of admission all by itself for the author's description of Steffens and his impact on journalism. But there are many more reasons to read this book, including Campbell's ability to offer a time machine through his vivid writing that transports readers right into the middle of the sights, sounds and smells of 1897 New York City.' - H-Net Reviews
'Campbell's book is an enjoyable read for journalism historians and students of the craft.' - American Journalism
'fluently written, knowledgeable about journalism (it offers, for example, a good discussion of the halftone illustrations issue) and well researched.' - Early Popular Visual Culture