Prophets of the Fourth Estate

The cover page for Prophets of the Fourth Estate“Prophets of the Fourth Estate: Broadsides by Press Critics of the Progressive Era,” is now on shelves. The book is co-authored by SIUE Mass Communications Department Chair Gary Hicks and his colleague Amy Reynolds of LSU.

The book features journalism critiques from the progressive era (1890-1920) and places them within a social, economic and historical context.

“You can’t just take an article that was written in 1917 and expect a 21st century reader to fully comprehend what the person was trying to say or the importance that it was published in that year.” Hicks explained.

Framing the articles within context allows for a clearer connection to be drawn between the politics of the era and politics with many of the same issues society faces today including the size and role of government, the responsibility of media within a society, and militarism within society.

The overall tone of the book is critical, educating the reader in the politics of the time and allowing them to connect the issues of the progressive era with the issues of the world today. This is particularly apparent when it comes to questioning the role of corporate influence in the mass media, and in demonstrating the need for critical voices within the public discourse.

“They believed that the media should play the vital role of government watchdog,” Hicks explained. “There needs to be room for these progressive voices today as room was made back in their day.”

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