The mid–twentieth century was characterized by the rise of massive enterprises built for efficiency and based on intricate organizational schemes. With the automotive industry serving as a model, businesses adapted the assembly line to their own purposes, wringing out unpredictability so they could produce cheap, replicable goods for a growing nation. The newspaper business was not immune to those forces. Although the production of news can be haphazard compared to the manufacture of widgets, The American Newsroom shows that newspaper journalism nevertheless mirrored other businesses as it evolved from a vaguely disreputable blue-collar craft to a white-collar field dominated by college-educated men and women with middle-class lifestyles.

Mari engages in a cross-disciplinary examination of history, culture, and design, tracking not just how the newsroom changed but how those changes affected the lives of the workers and the production of news. For example, he traces the rise of the modern copy...

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