Public Program- David Paul Nord

Lectures and Performances
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 7:30pm

A City and a Newspaper: Citizen Journalism in Philadelphia during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
by David Paul Nord

What is a newspaper for? In 1793, desperate Philadelphians turned to a single newspaper, the Federal Gazette, the only paper in the city to keep publishing during a devastating yellow fever outbreak. What did they want from their newspaper, and what did it actually provide? The readers of the Federal Gazette had dramatically different ideas about what a newspaper should be and what it should do during an urban crisis. In this lecture David Paul Nord will describe how citizens (both elites and ordinary people) used the press in Philadelphia in 1793. In the process, he will also discuss the broader subject of the civic function of newspapers in American cities, in history, and today.

Nord is professor emeritus of journalism and adjunct professor emeritus of history at Indiana University. He is former interim editor and associate editor of the Journal of American History. Nord’s research interests lie in the history of journalism, religious publishing, and readership. In addition to many journal articles, he is the author of Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media in America (2004) and Communities of Journalism: A History of American Newspapers and Their Readers (2001). At AAS, Nord has been involved with the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC) for many years, and in 2008 he was the Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence at AAS.

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