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Refocusing America: American Society Through the Camera's Lens, 1945-2000
Unformatted Document Text:  Catledge’s ominous warning that newspapers would fade into oblivion never came to fruition, it nonetheless suggests the pervasiveness of the alarm that abounded within print media. Catledge’s articulated anxieties by no means encapsulated consensual opinion. Kenneth R. Byerly, a journalism professor of the University of North Carolina, stated “The American Press is not `fading’ as some claim and many believe.’ `It is just getting closer to the people, in that the nation’s smaller city and suburban dailies are chalking up the big circulation gains.” 30 The personal was fusing with the political. By assuming a more personal style of news coverage, catering to the perceived interests of their readership, newspapers forged a new relationship with their readers. Television was an agent of change inducing newspapers to become more attuned to the interests of their readers, providing substantial evidence for the shift in the Times’ visual content. As Vicki Goldberg points out, the television did not slow the march of stills. The different forms of media complemented each other. While Goldberg concedes that “…the recent trends toward shorter articles; the increase in photographic illustration, much of it in color; and the abrupt juxtaposition and jazzy overlaps of images in some magazines are attempts to compete with television by adopting its means,” 31 she notes that photographs held several advantages over television. Photographic images can be repeated. One can observe and absorb their meaning. The length of undivided attention accorded television, on the other hand, is usually shorter. Viewers generally perform other activities while watching television programs. In essence, “The static presentation the photograph offers is simply better suited to the procedure by which we store images…” 32 The peculiar authority of visual images was highlighted by President John F. Kennedy, who “acknowledged feeling ill over a photograph of Birmingham he’d seen in the paper, not on television…” 33 While the television was eventually adopted as Americans’ primary source of information, the power of the photo was in no way diminished. 30 “Winds of Change for Newspapers,” U.S. News & World Report 25 Apr. 1966: 68. 31 Goldberg 217. 32 Goldberg 219. 33 Goldberg 219.

Authors: Maurantonio, Nicole.
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background image
Catledge’s ominous warning that newspapers would fade into oblivion never came to fruition, it
nonetheless suggests the pervasiveness of the alarm that abounded within print media.
Catledge’s articulated anxieties by no means encapsulated consensual opinion. Kenneth R.
Byerly, a journalism professor of the University of North Carolina, stated “The American Press is not
`fading’ as some claim and many believe.’ `It is just getting closer to the people, in that the nation’s
smaller city and suburban dailies are chalking up the big circulation gains.”
30
The personal was fusing
with the political. By assuming a more personal style of news coverage, catering to the perceived
interests of their readership, newspapers forged a new relationship with their readers. Television was an
agent of change inducing newspapers to become more attuned to the interests of their readers, providing
substantial evidence for the shift in the Times’ visual content. As Vicki Goldberg points out, the television
did not slow the march of stills. The different forms of media complemented each other.
While Goldberg concedes that “…the recent trends toward shorter articles; the increase in
photographic illustration, much of it in color; and the abrupt juxtaposition and jazzy overlaps of images
in some magazines are attempts to compete with television by adopting its means,”
31
she notes that
photographs held several advantages over television. Photographic images can be repeated. One can
observe and absorb their meaning. The length of undivided attention accorded television, on the other
hand, is usually shorter. Viewers generally perform other activities while watching television programs.
In essence, “The static presentation the photograph offers is simply better suited to the procedure by
which we store images…”
32
The peculiar authority of visual images was highlighted by President John F. Kennedy, who
“acknowledged feeling ill over a photograph of Birmingham he’d seen in the paper, not on television…”
33
While the television was eventually adopted as Americans’ primary source of information, the power of
the photo was in no way diminished.
30
“Winds of Change for Newspapers,” U.S. News & World Report 25 Apr. 1966: 68.
31
Goldberg 217.
32
Goldberg 219.
33
Goldberg 219.


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