Routledge’s New Reader on Journalism History P-ed Me Off

I got an email this morning from Routledge announcing their new book on journalism history: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415801874/.

As someone who’s read a lot of old newspapers (and maybe part of my antipathy to newspapers owes to all those summer days I spent reading New York city newspapers on microfilm — ack) and a lot of journalism history and criticism, I was appalled at the history this volume constructs. Only three of those contributing to the volume are women and none of the primary texts cited are written by either women or people of color. And nothing on race, gender, or ethnicity (this despite the fact that in the contemporary era only the ethnic press is thriving) — not even David Mindich’s really smart chapter on coverage of lynching and objectivity?

According to the book’s description, “The volume aims to place journalism history in its theoretical context, to familiarize the reader with essential works of, and about, journalism, and to chart the development of the field.” Which, judging from the contributions, is white, male, and bourgeois.

I’ve been having a hard time working up sympathy for the demise of the newspaper (the mainstream press has never been a friend to feminists), but I’m done with that. C’mon — they couldn’t have included primary texts by Nelly Bly, Ida Wells, or any of the other women who struggled MIGHTILY to make in-roads into male-dominated, often white supremacist news organizations?

This is very disappointing, to say the least.

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