Date of Award

Fall 1951

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




There is an intriguing line in a play called "Clear All Wires" which has one of the characters say to a 20th Century reporter: "People don't want the news anymore, they want to know what happened." I have seen nothing which expresses as readily as this line the suspicion on the part of many, both in and out of the newspaper profession, that the world has developed to a point at which the traditional methods of reporting are not sufficient to satisfy the purpose of a newspaper, if that purpose is conceived as providing the reader with the information he needs in order to lead a properly ordered life. Some of those who are concerned with the efficiency of the newspaper in fulfilling its purpose have advanced interpretative reporting as a way of telling the reader what happened, rather than giving him nothing more than "the news." Unfortunately for the press, interpretative reporting still is young. It has not solidified into any one concept to which all of its practitioners would subscribe. This thesis is designed to help that process of solidification. Its verdict is not final; there is no question that years will pass before American journalists settle on exactly what interpretation is. But it is hoped that this thesis has given a fair hearing to all of the major positions on the subject, and that it will forward the final selection of an interpretative method.



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