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Refocusing America: American Society Through the Camera's Lens, 1945-2000
Unformatted Document Text:  assumed a wholly different form throughout the 1960s. Alterations in style and format were accompanied by a shift away from `hard’ toward `soft’ news. This modification in the manner in which news was conceived and subsequently presented in visual form is epitomized by the changes exhibited in the New York Times. Why use the Times in such a content analysis? Acknowledged as the paradigm of stylistic conservatism throughout the journalistic community, any recognizable trend within the Times could be presumed indicative of a broader tendency throughout print media, particularly within magazines such as Time and Newsweek—media which tend to rely more heavily upon visual imagery. As the journalistic trend-setter, the Times establishes the salience of issues not only for dailies and weeklies throughout the United States, but for various forms of media worldwide. Since Adolph Ochs’s ascent to publisher of the Times in 1896, the slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print” has been the upper-left-hand-corner mainstay. This aphorism more than simply reinforces the paper’s import in defining newsworthy content. It implicitly suggests that some news is not fit to print. Some photos lay outside the realm of material deserving publication. Some images are too gruesome for the public to bear witness to. The media filters out what it does not wish to include in its rendering of reality, advancing, according to sociologist Todd Gitlin, “persistent patterns of cognition, interpretation [and] selection.” 11 The concession that news is a constructed reality is crucial when analyzing the media’s presentation of persons, places, and events, suggesting conscious decisions on the part of staffers, editors, and publishers in determining precisely what constitutes newsworthy material. Though this point is not of central concern in this analysis, it is an issue that should nonetheless be remembered when evaluating news content. Within this paper, I catalogue and classify the distinct types of visuals printed in the Times and explore the technological, cultural, social, and political forces compelling their selection. 11 Todd Gitlin, The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980) 7.

Authors: Maurantonio, Nicole.
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assumed a wholly different form throughout the 1960s. Alterations in style and format were
accompanied by a shift away from `hard’ toward `soft’ news.
This modification in the manner in which news was conceived and subsequently presented in
visual form is epitomized by the changes exhibited in the New York Times. Why use the Times in such a
content analysis? Acknowledged as the paradigm of stylistic conservatism throughout the journalistic
community, any recognizable trend within the Times could be presumed indicative of a broader tendency
throughout print media, particularly within magazines such as Time and Newsweek—media which tend to
rely more heavily upon visual imagery. As the journalistic trend-setter, the Times establishes the salience
of issues not only for dailies and weeklies throughout the United States, but for various forms of media
worldwide.
Since Adolph Ochs’s ascent to publisher of the Times in 1896, the slogan “All the News That’s Fit
to Print” has been the upper-left-hand-corner mainstay. This aphorism more than simply reinforces the
paper’s import in defining newsworthy content. It implicitly suggests that some news is not fit to print.
Some photos lay outside the realm of material deserving publication. Some images are too gruesome for
the public to bear witness to. The media filters out what it does not wish to include in its rendering of
reality, advancing, according to sociologist Todd Gitlin, “persistent patterns of cognition, interpretation
[and] selection.”
11
The concession that news is a constructed reality is crucial when analyzing the media’s
presentation of persons, places, and events, suggesting conscious decisions on the part of staffers, editors,
and publishers in determining precisely what constitutes newsworthy material. Though this point is not
of central concern in this analysis, it is an issue that should nonetheless be remembered when evaluating
news content.
Within this paper, I catalogue and classify the distinct types of visuals printed in the Times and
explore the technological, cultural, social, and political forces compelling their selection.
11
Todd Gitlin, The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980) 7.


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