Synopses & Reviews
Here is a new, sweeping narrative history of American news media that puts race at the center of the story. From the earliest colonial newspapers to the Internet age, America's racial divisions have played a central role in the creation of the country's media system, just as the media has contributed to--and every so often, combated--racial oppression. News for All the People reveals how racial segregation distorted the information Americans received from the mainstream media. It unearths numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence and discrimination through their coverage. And it chronicles the influence federal media policies exerted in such conflicts. It depicts the struggle of Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists who fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative, democratic press, and then, beginning in the 1970s, forced open the doors of the major media companies.
The writing is fast-paced, story-driven, and replete with memorable portraits of individual journalists and media executives, both famous and obscure, heroes and villains. It weaves back and forth between the corporate and government leaders who built our segregated media system--such as Herbert Hoover, whose Federal Radio Commission eagerly awarded a license to a notorious Ku Klux Klan organization in the nation's capital--and those who rebelled against that system, like Pittsburgh Courier publisher Robert L. Vann, who led a remarkable national campaign to get the black-face comedy Amos 'n' Andy off the air.
Based on years of original archival research and up-to-the-minute reporting and written by two veteran journalists and leading advocates for a more inclusive and democratic media system, News for All the People should become the standard history of American media.
"Juan González and Joseph Torres have rendered a splendid public service with this highly readable and engrossing story of how the press sees--and doesn't see--who we are as a people. Race and ethnicity, power and privilege, the visible and the invisible are at the core of our democratic crisis today, and it's hard to imagine a better way to face the challenge than to be armed with the story this book tells so well." Bill Moyers, Public Affairs Television
"The historic inability of marginalized communities to control their own images has been devastating. News for All the People illustrates that this lack of control hasn't been by accident. It's a part of a greater story of media control and ownership that traces back to the creation of the United States. An essential read." James Rucker, founder of ColorOfChange.org
"A "first-of-its-kind" rendering of the causes, contexts, and consequences of the American media system across the fault line of race. Haunting and prophetic, this is a must-read for all the people." Malkia Amala Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice
"News for All the People is truly a masterpiece; I could not put it down. After years of research, Juan González and Joseph Torres have produced a book that will be nothing short of mandatory reading for all who care about the media or democracy. It will change how you think about media and American history." Robert McChesney, coauthor of < i=""> The Death and Life of American Journalism <>
"With clarity, exquisite detail and strong scholarship, the authors show us how the neglect of the mainstream press over the years still haunts the nation's identity about who is an American." Arlene Notoro Morgan, coeditor of < i=""> The Authentic Voice: Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity <>
"This is journalism history from an entirely fresh perspective, one that challenges the old heroes and shines a sharp light on the role of the media in revealing social inequities in a democratic society." Booklist (starred review)
News for All the People
is a sweeping account of the class and racial conflicts in American news media, from the first colonial newspaper to the internet age. It chronicles key government decisions that created our nation’s system of news, major political battles over the role of the press, and the rise of media conglomerates and epoch-defining technologies. The book reveals how racial segregation in the media distorted the news and unearths numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence through their coverage. And it illuminates how Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative and democratic press and then, beginning in the 1970s, forced open the doors of the major media companies.
The writing is fast-paced, story-driven and replete with portraits of individual journalists and media executives, both famous and obscure, the heroes and the villains. It weaves back and forth between the corporate battles and government policies that built our segregated media system— as when Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover gave a radio license to a notorious KKK organization in the nation’s capital—and those who rebelled against that system, such as Pittsburgh Courier publisher Robert L. Vann, who led a national campaign to get the black-face comedy Amos ’n’ Andy off the air.
News for All the People will become the new standard history of American media.
A landmark narrative history of American media that puts race at the center of the story.
About the Author
is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award for commentary and former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He is the co-host of the nationally syndicated TV and radio show Democracy Now!
and is a staff columnist for New York’s Daily News
. His previous books include Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America
; Fallout: The Environmental Consequences of the World Trade Center Collapse
; and Roll Down Your Window: Stories from a Forgotten America
Joseph Torres is the senior advisor for government and external affairs for Free Press, the national media reform organization. Before joining Free Press, he worked as deputy director at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and was a journalist for several years. He lives in Silver Spring, MD.