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The Atlantic Selects

The Newspaper Crisis of 1945

Jan 14, 2015 | 831 videos
Video by Prelinger Archive

Months before World War II would end, a labor battle led New York City's delivery workers to picket lines. Newspaper circulation quickly plummeted. This fascinating archival report describes how readers tried to circumvent the strike, and how many scrambled to embrace radio as an alternative. Then-Mayor La Guardia is even shown reading the funny pages on air!

The film is far from an unbiased report about the strike—it was produced by a newspaper, after all—but it's nonetheless a fascinating glimpse at a bygone era of American media. The closing narration, a triumphant speech about the end of the strike, reveals just how dominant papers were: "Once again, dramatic truth has be given that no other medium can take the place of newspapers in the lives of the people."

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Author: Chris Heller

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.