The Nickel and Dime Decade: American Popular Culture during the 1930s

By Gary Dean Best | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER FOUR Newspapers and Radio

NEWS IN THE 1930s

Newspapers, although challenged by radio, remained the principal source of news and comment on the news, as well as a primary medium of entertainment for the family. Many newspapers contained serialized fiction, even more printed helpful hints for the depression-era housewife, including low-cost recipes (See Chapter Eight). No radio news broadcasts could deal with news in the same breadth and depth as newspapers, nor could radio offer the photographic coverage of newspapers. And even the most avid radio listeners were dependent on the newspapers for the daily broadcast schedules.

Even more than would normally be the case--except perhaps during wartime--the news from Washington was the principal running story during the 1930s. President Hoover's efforts to halt the economic downturn, the stalemate between the White House and Congress during Hoover's final years, the Bonus Marcher episode of the summer of 1932, the nominating conventions of the two parties that year and the presidential campaign and election that followed, and the banking crisis of early 1933--all were major news in the early 1930s. The arrival of Roosevelt in the White House and the beginnings of the New Deal focused even more newspaper and public attention on the often-bewildering array of actions and pronouncements that were emanating from Washington.

Crime, however, continued to capture a large share of the front pages, just as in the 1920s. Undoubtedly the most sensational story of the decade was the kidnapping and murder of the child of one of the heroes of the 1920s, Charles Lindbergh. The story of the crime, the hunt for the

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