Reporters Who Made History

Great American Journalists on the Issues and Crises of the Late 20th Century

by Steven M. Hallock


Former Washington Post publisher Phil Graham once called journalism "the first rough draft of history." At a time when newspapers seem on the brink of collapse and many reporters seem to value access to the powerful over their intended role as skeptics and watchdogs, it is important to remember how essential an unbiased, critical Fourth Estate is to the nation and to history.

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Cover image for Reporters Who Made History

November 2009


Pages 332
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Current Events and Issues/New Media and Journalism

This volume looks back at the last half of the 20th century through the work and reminiscences of ten of the era's preeminent journalists.

Reporters Who Made History: Great American Journalists on the Issues and Crises of the Late 20th Century looks at a series of extraordinary chapters in the American story through the eyes of ten giants of journalism: Helen Thomas, Anthony Lewis, Morley Safer, Earl Caldwell, Ben Bradlee, Georgie Anne Geyer, Ellen Goodman, Juan Williams, David Broder, and Judy Woodruff.

Taking each of these journalists in turn, Hallock focuses on his or her work in the course of a single decade, drawing on the author's interviews with the journalist, archival research, memoirs, and critical studies. These exemplars of the best postwar American news reporting never took the easy path of simply restating policies and uncritically regurgitating press releases. Instead, their skeptical, independent, and searching methods of investigative and analytical journalism actually influenced the course of the very events they covered and significantly shaped our understanding of our national past.


  • Includes over 200 excerpts from primary sources, including original broadcasts, articles, memoirs, and autobiographies, plus personal interviews with each journalist
  • Offers a comprehensive index—especially helpful for pinpointing specific issues, events, and stories from the era


  • Makes clear the impact of groundbreaking reporting of major events on our ultimate understanding of history
  • Follows the cultural and technological evolution of journalism from bulky TV gear, the linotype, and typewriters to hand-held recording devices, cell phones, and computer technology
  • Zeroes in on specific history-making cases and stories, such as McCarthyism, Watergate, the Clinton impeachment, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Gives the featured journalists the chance to offer modern-day reflections on the historic events they helped to define
Author Info

Steven M. Hallock PhD, is assistant professor of journalism at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. He earned his PhD in 2005 at the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, and he has written for such nationally prestigious newspapers as The New York Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Denver Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Dayton Daily News. His newspaper background of nearly thirty years also includes serving as editor of two Midwest dailies, writing national and regional award-winning editorials and columns for daily newspapers in the west, serving as features editor at daily newspapers in Oklahoma and New Mexico, and holding reporting positions on beats ranging from local government and education to sports and features. He is the author of Praeger's Editorial and Opinion: The Dwindling Marketplace of Ideas in Today's News.



"Hallock (journalism, Point Park U., Pittsburgh, PA) has some 30 years of experience in the newspaper business as an editor and writer. Exploring American journalism from 1950 to 2000, he examines the work of ten giants of print, broadcast, and wire service journalism, focusing on his/her work over the course of a single decade and the journalist's reflections on that era: Anthony Lewis and Helen Thomas (1950s), Morley Safer and Earl Caldwell (1960s), Ben Bradlee and Georgie Anne Geyer (1970s), Juan Williams and Ellen Goodman (1980s), and David Broder and Judy Woodruff (1990s). Combining information from interviews with the journalists conducted by the author, archival research, memoirs, and critical studies, the text is organized into chronological chapters forming a decade-by-decade history of American journalism — and the country as a whole — during the second half of the 20th century."Reference & Research Book News

"...eye-opening and fresh...The book's voices of optimism, coupled with a healthy dose of realism, should resonate with college instructors and their students.

Journalism History


"Hallock gets some of our best reporters to reflect on the big stories they covered during the last half of the 20th Century.
The result: a raft of entertaining tales and valuable insight into the events that shaped modern America."—Bob Schieffer
CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent

"Hallock uses the fascinating reminisences of 10 journalism giants to give a compelling look at the last 50 years of journalism."—Alicia C. Shepard
author of Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate

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