Abstract: Labor Makes the News: Newspapers, Journalism, and Organized Labor, 1933-1955

Philip M. Glende


This study examines daily newspaper coverage of organized labor during the burst of union activity that began in the early 1930s. For labor activists and sympathizers, it was an article of faith that newspapers were deliberately unfair to unions. However, publishers and their employees responded to the labor movement with great diversity. Many publishers were politically conservative, but others were strong supporters of liberal causes. For all owners, organized labor was a challenge to the business class and a source of community discord. Additionally, the rise of the American Newspaper Guild threatened editorial prerogative and the right to manage. Many readers, though, were union members. Covering labor tested the boundary between personal and political objectives and the professional ideal of neutrality on news pages. For writers and editors, labor conflict was a natural news story, but one in which they were personally engaged. While publicly condemning newspapers, labor