Reporting the Pacific Northwest: An Annotated Bibliography of Journalism History in Oregon and Washington

By McPherson, Jim | Journalism History, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

Reporting the Pacific Northwest: An Annotated Bibliography of Journalism History in Oregon and Washington


McPherson, Jim, Journalism History


McKay, Floyd J. Reporting the Pacific Northwest: An Annotated Bibliography of Journalism History in Oregon and Washington. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 2004. 72 pp. $15.

Floyd J. McKay notes that American press histories, "traditionally written with an eastern bias," often largely ignore the journalism of the Pacific Northwest. This bibliography does much to fill the gap, demonstrating that many historians-including McKay, a former journalist who recently retired from teaching at Western Washington University-have provided meaningful research about journalism in the region. The bibliography includes materials related to broadcast history and newspapers.

McKay breaks most of the book into six logical sections: the frontier period; the twentieth century; specialized and advocacy publications; bibliographies, indexes, and listings; dissertations and theses; and oral histories, manuscripts, and documents. Each chapter is written mostly in a matter-of-fact bibliographical essay format, more descriptive than evaluative, and is followed by a references list. Those lists are impressive, for example citing more than seventy individual references for the frontier period and almost 100 for the twentieth century.

Thus, the book demonstrates the range and depth of historical inquiry regarding Pacific Northwest journalism. Of course, any work of this nature will be incomplete upon publication, as historians produce new works, but McKay has done an excellent job of cataloging available sources.

The book also offers many other avenues available for exploration. The noteworthy holdings of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, the Eastern Washington State Historical Society, and the special collections sections of the University of Oregon and the University of Washington receive deserved attention. The inclusion of oral histories also is welcome. But this last section of the book (understandably, considering its difficulty) is the weakest, especially for someone looking for sources not centered in Portland, Seattle, or Spokane.

One oversight concerns another major research university in the region. …

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