Academic journal article Journalism History

Managing the Press: Origins of the Media Presidency, 1897-1933

Academic journal article Journalism History

Managing the Press: Origins of the Media Presidency, 1897-1933

Article excerpt

Ponder, Stephen. Managing the Press: Origins of the Media Presidency, 1897-1933. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. 233 pp. $45.

Most scholars label Theodore Roosevelt as the first "modern" media president. Stephen Ponder, an associate professor of journalism and communication at the University of Oregon, builds a compelling case that President McKinley, with the help of his chief of staff, George Cortelyou, was the first president to organize a more formal relationship with Washington reporters who previously had concentrated primarily on Congress. During the McKinley years, the White House became a regular "beat" for reporters hungry for news.

Ponder draws upon secondary sources and his own extensive research published in previous journals to explain this developing relationship through the presidency of Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt accelerated the relationships with reporters that McKinley cultivated. More executive branch agencies began hiring their own publicists during Roosevelt's tenure, as well. President William Howard Taft was Roosevelt's opposite, preferring to ignore press needs and let his administration's deeds speak for themselves.

Woodrow Wilson had a love-hate relationship with the press, recognizing its importance in a democracy, but hating its ignorance. Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge courted press coverage and firther institutionalized the role of the White House press corps. Hoover, adroit in managing the press as Secretary of Commerce, eventually alienated it with his aloofness and thin skin as president. Much of this, especially the press relationships of Roosevelt and Wilson, has been explored extensively by others, such as in George Juergens' 1981 book, News from the White House. Ponder, however, broadens the perspective immensely by synthesizing the contributions of McKinley, various executive branch publicity initiatives, and the three Republican presidents who succeeded Wilson. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.