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Media Capital

Media Capital: Architecture and Communications in New York City

Aurora Wallace
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Media Capital
    Book Description:

    In a declaration of the ascendance of the American media industry, nineteenth-century press barons in New York City helped to invent the skyscraper, a quintessentially American icon of progress and aspiration. Early newspaper buildings in the country's media capital were designed to communicate both commercial and civic ideals, provide public space and prescribe discourse, and speak to class and mass in equal measure. This book illustrates how the media have continued to use the city as a space in which to inscribe and assert their power._x000B__x000B_With a unique focus on corporate headquarters as embodiments of the values of the press and as signposts for understanding media culture, Media Capital demonstrates the mutually supporting relationship between the media and urban space. Aurora Wallace considers how architecture contributed to the power of the press, the nature of the reading public, the commercialization of media, and corporate branding in the media industry. Tracing the rise and concentration of the media industry in New York City from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, Wallace analyzes physical and discursive space, as well as labor, technology, and aesthetics, to understand the entwined development of the mass media and late capitalism._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09452-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    The current round of handwringing over the future of news journalism is new, perhaps, only in iteration, not in spirit. It continues a long-standing tradition in the media industry that can be traced back to at least the moral wars of the 1840s, the critiques of the scandal sheets of the 1870s, the yellow press debates of the 1890s, the tabloid frenzy of the 1920s, the fears over consolidation, the threat posed by radio, television, and the Internet—and may have more in common with these crises than is normally appreciated. Which is another way of saying that print journalism,...

  5. ONE News Capital
    (pp. 13-36)

    On its very first day of publication, the New York Sun inserted itself into the landscape of the city by laying bare its location, publisher, and mandate. The paper’s ubiquity on street corners, with its headlines readily visible and accessible to passersby, moved printed material into the realm of the public and out of the rarefied seclusion of taverns, clubs, and domestic spaces. Its one-cent price was the final blow to the stodgy mercantile papers that came in the mail. For a penny even the poorest laborer could indulge at least occasionally, and to lure these new readers the content...

  6. TWO New Buildings and New Spaces
    (pp. 37-62)

    The New-York Tribune’s entrance into the newspaper field in 1841 was auspicious not only for the emergence of the boisterous Horace Greeley onto the scene, but also for the tower that was erected in his honor in 1875, although Greeley himself was not around to see it. Greeley and his Tribune were in many ways antithetical to the popular newspaper principles established by the penny papers the Sun and the Herald. The Tribune, established in 1841 after Greeley had enjoyed significant success with his publications Log Cabin and New Yorker, attempted neither the political independence nor the urbanity of its...

  7. THREE Nineteenth-Century Stories and Columns
    (pp. 63-88)

    Joseph Pulitzer’s first editorials were infused with rhetoric about the New World and the Old World. As a Hungarian immigrant, the “New World” to Pulitzer signaled not only his latest business venture, but also America, and all of the spectacle and publicity that anything “New” could garner. When Pulitzer bought the New York World in 1883, he was rescuing a failing newspaper that many had already written off as a lost cause. Manton Marble had run the paper successfully for many years as a solid Democratic paper, but after becoming disillusioned by the election of 1876 Marble sold it to...

  8. FOUR Art Deco News
    (pp. 89-116)

    On April 9, 1921, a wake for the Herald Building at Broadway and 34th Street featured Evelyn Scotney of the Metropolitan Opera Company singing “Auld Lang Syne.” The Stanford White structure, modeled after the Loggia of the Palazzo del Consiglio in Verona and one of the few exceptions to the rule that media buildings rise as tall as the law and gravity allowed, was now at risk of becoming an old acquaintance never brought to mind.¹ The operatic farewell was a fitting tribute to the solemn event that marked the end of the august independence of the New York Herald....

  9. FIVE Postwar News
    (pp. 117-132)

    By 1945, New Yorkers were getting used to taking their papers with double-barreled names—the World-Telegram, Journal American, and Herald Tribune—but they were soon to have difficulty taking them at all. Unlike the two more famous New York newspaper strikes of December 1958 and December 1962 to March 1963, the 1945 strike did not hit during the holiday season, a blessing perhaps to advertisers, but no gift to families waiting to read about returning soldiers. The major papers—the New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, New York World-Telegram, New York Journal American, Wall Street Journal, New York Sun,...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 133-150)

    On the eve of the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008, one of the largest parties was hosted by the Huffington Post at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. That a website, and not a legacy media company like the Washington Post, held the night’s most high-profile gala struck many in the crowd as a sign of the potency of the social media that had helped propel the new president into the White House. Three years later, the Huffington Post made headlines again with the announcement that it was being sold to America Online (AOL). A generation earlier, it would...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 151-162)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 163-170)
  13. Index
    (pp. 171-178)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 179-185)