How should reporters consider their ethical responsibilities to the public? That’s a question studied through a historical lens in a new book by UW-Madison journalism professor Kathryn J. McGarr.
In City of Newsmen, McGarr explores how how the midcentury national press corps kept quiet about their skepticism in the first decades of the Cold War. National journalists, who were at the time almost exclusively white males, knew full well that they had reason to be cynical about the war and the US government’s lack of transparency.
The question, explored by McGarr from a bevy of personal correspondence from the time, is why they hid those doubts from the public. For more, Madison Book Beat host David Ahrens sat down with McGarr to talk about her research and her new book.
About the guest:
Kathryn J. McGarr is Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW-Madison, where she teaches courses in literary journalism and the history of journalism and mass communications. Her research specializes in twentieth-century U.S. political history, with a focus on gender, foreign policy, and the news media. In addition to her recent book City of Newsmen: Public Lies and Professional Secrets in Cold War Washington (University of Chicago Press, 2022), she’s also author of a 2011 book exploring Democratic power broker Robert Strauss.