Journalism’s impact on our history cannot be understated. Since it’s conception, the ability of journalism to inform the masses has shaped our modern world. The American identity is especially connected with the idea of a free press; the First Amendment guaranteeing our right to the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, petition, and press was the first to be added to the Bill of Rights, and is still regarded to be paramount to any democratic society.
The United States began because of the writings of patriots like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Samuel Adams. As our nation progressed, journalism continued to pave the way forward. Streitmatter points out the brave journalists who were not afraid to push for the truth, like Ida Tarbell, who dug deep into the dark secrets of the Rockefeller monopoly to expose their inner workings. William Lloyd Garrison, a staunch abolitionist, published The Liberator to push for an end to slavery, despite being attacked by his peers and nearly being hanged for his beliefs. His efforts are still recognized today as being instrumental in building support for abolition
American journalists have stood tall against the great villains of our history. Thomas Nast published his scathing cartoons against the corrupt “Boss” Tweed, despite all the death threats made against his family. As a result, Tweed was exposed as the crook he really was, and Nast became an icon of American journalism.
These brave journalists not only exemplify American values, like liberty and truth, they also made their mark on the world around them. As we move forward, new heroes of free speech will rise, changing the cultural landscape like those who came before them.