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Out on Assignment: Newspaper Women and the Making of Modern Public Space Hardcover – November 17, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Fahs suggests that the legacy of this half-forgotten generation stretched beyond journalism.--Columbia Journalism Review

Give[s] readers a new way of looking at women journalists' actual contribution to both journalism specifically and society more generally. . . . Aspiring historians would be well served to learn from Fahs' approach.--American Journalism

Fahs offers a richly textured portrait of the many women freelancing, on staff for papers, and writing for syndicates at the turn of the twentieth century.--American Literature

A century ago, there was a rich network of women journalists among the country's abundant newspapers. They forged new identities both for themselves and for the print culture they created. They have long deserved this exploration.--Library Journal

A richly detailed account of the hundreds of young female journalists who entered newspaper work in New York and other major American cities in the early 1900s.--Red Weather Review blog

A most informative and enjoyable read. Highly recommended. Upper-division graduates through faculty.--Choice

A gift to journalism historians. Fahs seems to have unearthed every single newspaper story with a female byline appearing in a mainstream big-city paper between the mid-1880s and about 1910.--Women's Review of Books

[Fahs has] done [herself] proud, producing scholarship about topics long overdue, researching primary and secondary sources with energy and insight, maintaining sensitivity to race and ethnicity as well as gender, and writing with skill and deep commitment to the narratives [she] bring[s] to life.--Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Offers a fresh perspective for evaluating the history of women in journalism.--Journal of American History

A highly useful book. Every academic library should own a copy, and many researchers will enjoy it simply because it is a good read.--Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

Fahs presents her research in an inviting and accessible prose style that is punctuated with several well-placed illustrations, rendering this a book that will appeal to a wide readership, from serious scholars to a more generalized audience.--Legacy

An accessible cultural history. . . . Readers with an interest in media history as well as in women's studies will find this to be an enjoyable and character-driven scholarly book.--Library Journal


Enormously rich. Fahs succeeds in showing us how these bright, pioneering, and often swashbuckling newspaperwomen carved out new ways for people to think not just about women, but about life. Every problem I ever encountered as a newspaperwoman, every delight I felt, every insult from a macho craft, is here fifty times over. This book is a delight not only for feminists and historians, but for anyone looking to find a way forward for journalism.--Geneva Overholser, University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism

|Alice Fahs's excellent, lively, and entertaining book argues that, at the turn of the twentieth century, a group of women set their hats for careers in the newspaper business and in so doing pioneered new styles of reporting and a new style of womanhood. Filled with the voices of these women, Out on Assignment is a true pleasure to read.--Patricia Cline Cohen, University of California, Santa Barbara


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (November 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807834963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807834961
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jon Wiener on November 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book that recovers the forgotten world of the first women to write for American newspapers at the start of the 20th century. Fahs shows how a new spirit of adventure, independence, and women's community could be found side by side with exploitation in the newsrooms of New York City. Even when women journalists were confined to the early 20th cent. woman's page, she argues, they created "one of the public spaces of the suffrage movement." And "human interest" journalism, also relegated to women, expressed "genuine curiosity about how other peoples lived," along with "an expanded sense of the self." Fahs concludes that newspaper work did not necessarily lead women upward, but it did lead them "outward" - a beautiful ending to a brilliant and convincing book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. Too often broad generalizations about women and history are made. This book proves that women were more involved in journalism and in greater numbers than previously thought.
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