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Civil War and Birth of Modern American Journalism Discussed at West Point
Civil War author addresses West Point historians. Discusses birth of modern American journalism.
Using a power point presentation, Bracken brought to “life” the era’s titans of journalism, Horace Greeley of The New York Tribune, Henry J. Raymond of The New York Times and James Gordon Bennett of The New York Herald, the publishers of the Northern states who changed the way America got the news. Brought to life from the Southern states was Robert Barnwell Rhett, owner of the Charleston Mercury and the man considered the “Father of Secession” and his son the Mercury’s wartime editor, Robert Barnwell Rhett, Jr.
The principal effect the war had on reshaping American journalism was the focus of Bracken’s address. “American journalism was reshaped during the Civil War, Bracken said.” The war changed its purpose. Prior to the war it was given to political rant and partisan propaganda. During the Civil War, newspapers hired staffs of reporters for the first time and its mission became the gathering of news and the distribution of it.”
In addition to the Powerpoint presentation, Bracken used audio technology to illustrate the descriptive writing of the time. An audio reading of a southern newspaper’s description of Pickett’s Charge was played and as a closing feature, Bracken played the simulated recording of a Confederate Company’s rebel charge based on the only known recording of an actual Confederate of a North Carolina Regiment made by History Publishing Company.
Donagh Bracken is the author of the award- winning "The Words of War: The Civil War Reportage of The New York Times and The Charleston Mercury…and What Historians Say really happened."
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