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They Came to Toil: U.S. News Coverage of Mexicans on the Eve of the Great Depression
Unformatted Document Text:  They  Came  to  Toil:  U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression   Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­5-­       in early 1930. San Antonio was selected because it had a thriving Spanish-language daily newspaper as well as English-language daily newspapers in a state that would ultimately report the largest number of repatriations. 9 The aim is to assess whether newspaper coverage at the incipient stage of this great Mexican diaspora reflected a U.S. economy divided by culture, with the language of the newspapers serving as a proxy for culture. The migration of persons of Mexican ancestry to and from their homeland, whether the U.S. or Mexico, occurred at various times prior to the 1930s. The phenomenon was not new. The question for this paper is: How did a mainstream newspaper cover a minority community-Mexicans-as the nation entered its most extreme period of financial stress? And how did that differ from the minority newspaper’s coverage of events that affected its readership in a singular way? The study explores resonant questions, coming as the country grapples with the aftermath of the Great Recession and an 18-month downturn that is the longest since World War II. 10 Moreover, Arizona’s 2010 law requiring immigrants to carry proper documents shows that immigration and U.S.-Mexico relations continue to be hotly debated eighty years after the Depression. News Coverage News coverage in the early 1930s could reasonably differ from publication-to- publication because “no two newspapers appeal to exactly the same set of readers,” Curtis MacDougall, a longtime faculty member at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, wrote in 1932. 11 Willard G. Bleyer, the former head of the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism, saw coverage similarly. “What is news for one paper is not news for another,” Bleyer wrote. Differences in newspaper coverage

Authors: Garza, Melita M..
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They  Came  to  Toil:  
U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression  
Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­5-­  
 
 
in early 1930. San Antonio was selected because it had a thriving Spanish-language daily 
newspaper as well as English-language daily newspapers in a state that would ultimately 
report the largest number of repatriations.
9
 The aim is to assess whether newspaper 
coverage at the incipient stage of this great Mexican diaspora reflected a U.S. economy 
divided by culture, with the language of the newspapers serving as a proxy for culture. 
The migration of persons of Mexican ancestry to and from their homeland, whether the 
U.S. or Mexico, occurred at various times prior to the 1930s. The phenomenon was not 
new. The question for this paper is: How did a mainstream newspaper cover a minority 
community-Mexicans-as the nation entered its most extreme period of financial stress? 
And how did that differ from the minority newspaper’s coverage of events that affected 
its readership in a singular way?  
 The study explores resonant questions, coming as the country grapples with the 
aftermath of the Great Recession and an 18-month downturn that is the longest since 
World War II.
10
 Moreover, Arizona’s 2010 law requiring immigrants to carry proper 
documents shows that immigration and U.S.-Mexico relations continue to be hotly 
debated eighty years after the Depression.  
News Coverage 
News coverage in the early 1930s could reasonably differ from publication-to-
publication because “no two newspapers appeal to exactly the same set of readers,” 
Curtis MacDougall, a longtime faculty member at Northwestern University’s Medill 
School of Journalism, wrote in 1932.
11
 Willard G. Bleyer, the former head of the 
University of Wisconsin School of Journalism, saw coverage similarly.  “What is news 
for one paper is not news for another,” Bleyer wrote. Differences in newspaper coverage 


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