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The Media’s Role in Defining the Nation

The Active Voice

Series:

David Copeland

In 1897, William Randolph Hearst said that his newspaper did not simply cover events that had already happened. «It doesn’t wait for things to turn up», Hearst said. «It turns them up.» This book traces the close relationship between media and the United States’ development from the colonial period to the twenty-first century. It explores how the active voice of citizen-journalists and trained media professionals has turned to media to direct the moral compass of the people and to set the agenda for a nation, and discusses how changes in technology have altered the way in which participatory journalism is practiced. What makes the book powerful is that its assessment of the influence and use of media encompasses many levels: it explores the potential of media as an agent for change from within small communities to the national stage.

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4. The Great Organ of Social Life, the Prime Element of Civilization: The Antebellum Era and Civil War 69

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4. The Great Organ of Social Life, the Prime Element of Civilization: The Antebellum Era and Civil War In the initial issue of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett pro- claimed that the press was “the great organ of social life, the prime ele...

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