One of my ongoing projects is a book on journalism in 1963. Similar to other year studies, this book makes the case for 1963 being the pivotal year of twentieth century journalism.
Slides used for a presentation on the newspaper strike and teletypesetting at the Joint Journalism Historians Conference, New York City, March 2013.
It is the year in which Americans first turned in greater numbers to television for their news than to newspapers. This transition was helped along by a 114-day newspaper strike in New York City, the main issue of which was the introduction of disruptive technologies that threatened the jobs of typesetters. New York television stations filled in the void, expanding their fifteen-minute newscasts to thirty minutes. Network executives, who had previously been dubious about the public's appetite for that much TV news, took notice. By September, both CBS and NBC expanded their network newscasts to 30 minutes, starting the great television news competition between Walter Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley. The Civil Rights Movement was at its height in 1963 and television was there to capture the snarling police dogs, the bombings, the assassinations, and demonstrations. When planning demonstrations, movement leaders took advantage of television's appetite for conflict. The country's first television president helped shift the power from the printed press to the electronic media. As he did so, John F. Kennedy's press relations soured as reporters accused him of "press management." We now know JFK went as far as getting the CIA to help plug leaks. The president's assassination pushed the young medium to mature quickly, as a worldwide audience gathered around their televisions for four days in November 1963, creating a communal mourning experience not seen again until September 2011.
An important event during 1963 was the strike that shutdown newspapers in New York City for 114 days. The strike helped lead to the failure of the fledgling western edition of the New York Times, which began publishing in 1962. My 2021 article, "Project Westward Ho: The First New York Times West Coast Edition," published in Journalism History, tells that story. the section on the strike was first presented as research in progress report at the JJHC in New York City in 2013; the story of Project Westward Ho and tele-typesetting was presented as a poster in the UK in 2017. The article draws largely on papers within the New York Times archives at the New York Public Library. It also references documents from the Dorothy Schiff collection at the NYPL, and from the Los Angeles Times collection at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA, the NBC collection at the Library of Congress in Washington, the CBS News Reference Library in New York, Arthur Krock papers at Princeton, Robert Davies papers at Yale, Julian Goodman papers at Vanderbilt and Leslie Midley papers at the University of Texas at Austin.
Article commissioned for August 2013 edition of High Life, British Airways' in-flight magazine. (Download)
Interview about 1963 by Marcus Smith on BYU Broadcasting's Thinking Aloud program. July 2013. (Download on iTunes)