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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
Unformatted Document Text:  Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers 7 the hour, Commodore George Dewey, to gain a coveted place on the Olympia. Barrett signed on as correspondent with William Randolph Hearst’s mass-market New York Journal – and the national syndicate of more than 40 newspapers that went with it – and thus stood poised to extend into new and broader realms his position as leading light on American opportunity in Southeast Asia. It is telling, however, he felt the need to explain his association with the vulgar yellow press organ. “It may be regarded as . . . extremely sensational,” Barrett admitted to his mother after completing his brief tenure with Hearst’s flagship paper. “But it has the largest circulation of any daily in America.” 14 Barrett had already garnered his share of journalistic power by writing for the upper-crust audience served by Harper’s and the North American Review, but the age of the patrician man of letters defining and leading the public presentation of issues was passing. The weight of public opinion was being measured differently in the wake of Hearst’s manipulated coverage of Cuba. Newspaper reporters and writers for mass-market magazines were more able than ever before to place themselves at the fulcrum of knowledge and opinion. Positioned now to reach audiences high and low, Barrett appeared ready to assume leadership in the field of popular knowledge about the Philippines, which had over night gone from terra incognita to a subject of intense American interest. Barrett’s advantage of location was quickly transformed into a relative disadvantage, however. The spotlight was removed by the heating up of the war in Cuba and the cooling of the Philippine story due to Dewey’s cutting of the communications cables from the islands and the delays in moving the action onto land that came with mobilizing and transporting U.S. volunteers across the broad Pacific. Even though Barrett

Authors: Vaughan, Christopher.
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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
7
the hour, Commodore George Dewey, to gain a coveted place on the Olympia. Barrett
signed on as correspondent with William Randolph Hearst’s mass-market New York
Journal – and the national syndicate of more than 40 newspapers that went with it – and
thus stood poised to extend into new and broader realms his position as leading light on
American opportunity in Southeast Asia.
It is telling, however, he felt the need to explain his association with the vulgar
yellow press organ. “It may be regarded as . . . extremely sensational,” Barrett admitted
to his mother after completing his brief tenure with Hearst’s flagship paper. “But it has
the largest circulation of any daily in America.”
14
Barrett had already garnered his share
of journalistic power by writing for the upper-crust audience served by Harper’s and the
North American Review, but the age of the patrician man of letters defining and leading
the public presentation of issues was passing. The weight of public opinion was being
measured differently in the wake of Hearst’s manipulated coverage of Cuba. Newspaper
reporters and writers for mass-market magazines were more able than ever before to
place themselves at the fulcrum of knowledge and opinion. Positioned now to reach
audiences high and low, Barrett appeared ready to assume leadership in the field of
popular knowledge about the Philippines, which had over night gone from terra
incognita to a subject of intense American interest.
Barrett’s advantage of location was quickly transformed into a relative
disadvantage, however. The spotlight was removed by the heating up of the war in Cuba
and the cooling of the Philippine story due to Dewey’s cutting of the communications
cables from the islands and the delays in moving the action onto land that came with
mobilizing and transporting U.S. volunteers across the broad Pacific. Even though Barrett


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