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Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps

Published Date: June 4, 2020

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Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps is a vibrant chronicle of news coverage in our nation’s capital, from the early days of radio and print reporting and the heyday of the wire services to the brave new world of the Internet.


Beginning with 1932, when a newly elected FDR energized the sleepy capital, Donald Ritchie highlights the dramatic changes in journalism that have occurred in the last seven decades. We meet legendary columnists–including Walter Lippmann, Joseph Alsop, and Drew Pearson –as well as the great investigative reporters, from Paul Y. Anderson to the two green Washington Post reporters who launched the political story of the decade–Woodward and Bernstein. We read of the rise of radio news–fought tooth and nail by the print barons–and of such pioneers as Edward R. Murrow, H. V. Kaltenborn, and Elmer Davis.


Ritchie also offers a vivid history of TV news, from the early days of Meet the Press, to Huntley and Brinkley and Walter Cronkite, to the cable revolution led by C-SPAN and CNN. In addition, he compares political news on the Internet to the alternative press of the ’60s and ’70s; describes how black reporters slowly broke into the white press corps (helped mightily by FDR’s White House); discusses path-breaking woman reporters such as Sarah McClendon and Helen Thomas, and much more.


From Walter Winchell to Matt Drudge, the people who cover Washington politics are among the most colorful and influential in American news. Reporting from Washington offers an unforgettable portrait of these figures as well as of the dramatic changes in American journalism in the twentieth century.


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