The News About the Newsworkers: press coverage of the 1965 American Newspaper Guild strike against The New York Times

Since the 1960s the North American newspaper industry has mobilized two key forces against journalists’ collective endeavors toward better pay and job security: heightened corporate power and workplace technology. This paper considers a decisive third force: the creation and control of public discourse concerning newspaper strikes. It provides a close textual analysis of print news coverage of the American Newspaper Guild’s strike against The New York Times and New York newspapers’ lockout of 17,000 news industry employees from September 16 to October 10, 1965. The study situates the concept of media framing vis-^-vis a historically grounded understanding of class struggle and journalism’s activity in fostering an imaginary consensus with the public through consistent and shared depictions of the conflict. Representation of this strike bears resemblance to coverage of strikes in other industries, suggesting that over the past several decades the newspaper industry has not only facilitated the general deterioration of organized labor; through its key position in the symbolic environment it has acted in like fashion to contain or eliminate such activity among its own workers.

JAMES F. TRACY Florida Atlantic University, USA Journalism Studies Volume 5, Issue 4, 2004

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