What’s New at the Journal

Vol 30 Issue 4Winter 2017 Issue

The current issue features research by Nicholas Hirshon on New York Mayor John Lindsay’s innovative re-election campaign in which he sought to associate with the New York Mets baseball team. Melita Garza examines the Great Depression editorials published in San Antonio, Texas, newspapers about the role of Mexicans and immigrants. Matthew Cecil writes about how FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s 1958 book, Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It, became a bestseller, thanks to an aggressive promotional campaign that revealed how Hoover created relationships with Americans who shared his views about Communism. Cayce Myers explores the representation of publicists in early public relations history.

Teaching Our Journal

With each issue of American Journalism, we feature teaching materials for a particular article and provide free online access to the article (through Taylor & Francis, the publisher of American Journalism).

The teaching materials provide topical overviews and various exercises for teaching the article in either undergraduate or graduate classes. The author of the article creates the teaching exercises and provides links to relevant primary and secondary sources.

We hope these teaching materials and the historical studies they reference will enrich your media history courses and, most importantly, your students’ learning. And we hope you will let us know how you use American Journalism in your classrooms.

Framing Mexicans in Great Depression Editorials: Alien Riff-Raff to Heroes

Volume 34, No. 1

By Melita M. Garza, Texas Christian University

Editorials from the three San Antonio, Texas, newspapers studied in this article illuminate competing myths about Mexicans and immigrants that circulated in national Great Depression-era debates about the newcomer in the United States. Editorials occupy a particular role in journalism, offering an interpretive and analytical view that aims to give a media organization’s “light of understanding” to readers.

Studying the editorials of the past offers insight not only into journalistic ideas of an earlier era, but also helps us contextualize present-day events and discourse resonant with the past. For instance, examining 1930s-era narrative myths about immigration offers students a fresh perspective on national discourse about this topic that surfaced during the Great Recession (December 2007 – June 2009) and continued in its aftermath. Moreover, this article also allows students to delve into a little-used primary source, the Spanish-language press, and to evaluate it on the same plane as English-language newspapers, something rarely done.

Although the media landscape is highly fragmented in the twenty-first century, in the pre-television early 1930s, newspapers were still the primary vehicles through which news was disseminated. In part, this article relies on a conception of news as mythological narrative, a strategy in which journalists not only draw on pre-existing cultural storytelling patterns, but also dynamically reshape them.

The power of myth and the power of news both rest to some degree on the authority ascribed to the storyteller, and in the case of editorials, the myths also have the authority of the journalistic institution behind them. When the subject is immigration, this power is used to define what it means to be an American. As this article argues, that conception is richer and more complete when the perspective of the Spanish-language press is included. Read more.

Call for Proposals
A special issue of American Journalism

American Journalism: A Journal of Media History announces a call for proposals for a special issue to be published in April 2019 to commemorate the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that granted the women of all states the right to vote. We seek original historical research on the role of media in and about the suffrage movement, work that illuminates lasting cultural, political, economic, ideological, and social problems. Research could center on movement, mainstream, ethnic or alternative media; strategic communication, visual culture, or closely related themes.

Much can be gleaned from examining pro- and anti-suffrage media strategies and the public responses they elicited. For the past forty years, an important body of scholarship has emerged about the movement and media. For the occasion of this centennial anniversary, our goal is to build on this foundation with work that asks new questions and presents new theoretical and methodological approaches, insights, and arguments.

The proposal should be five to ten pages, including a title or a two-sentence summary, a 250-word abstract, and a narrative that explains the scope of the project, its theme or argument, and its importance. It should demonstrate familiarity with the relevant literature and historical context, as well as historiography, provide examples of primary sources, and address how the author plans to develop and structure the work. Read more.


Members of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage paste advertisements announcing a march to the capitol in 1914. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Members of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage paste advertisements announcing a march to the capitol in 1914. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.