Forming the Public

A Critical History of Journalism in the United States
Author: Frank D. Durham and Thomas P. Oates
How journalism created conventional wisdom at pivotal moments in US history
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 12/10/2024
Cloth: 12/10/2024
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About the Book

Throughout US history, journalists and media workers have mobilized to promote and oppose various movements in public life. But a single meaning of the public remains elusive. Frank D. Durham and Thomas P. Oates provide an eye-opening analysis of the role played by journalism in the ongoing struggle to shape and transform ideas about the public. Using historical episodes and news reports, Durham and Oates offer examples of the influential words and images deployed by not only journalists but by media workers and activists. Their analysis moves from the patriot-inflamed emotions of the revolutionary period to the conventional and creative ways the American Indian Movement confronted the mainstream with their grievances.

Weaving eyewitness history through US history, Forming the Public reveals what understanding the journalism landscape can teach us about the nature of journalism’s own interests in race, gender, and class while tracing the factors that shaped the contours of dominant American culture.

About the Author

Frank D. Durham is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa. Thomas P. Oates is an associate professor in the department of American Studies and an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa. His books include Football and Manliness: An Unauthorized Feminist Account of the NFL.



Forming the Public is an important addition to the literature of journalism history. Durham and Oates provide an insightful and inclusive understanding of key elements of journalism history and offer valuable context for significant struggles in the development of journalism in the United States.”--Bonnie Brennen, author of Opting Out of Digital Media