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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 159965 Find in a Library
Title: Wicked World: The National Police Gazette and Gilded-Age America (From The Culture of Crime, P 9-21, 1995, Craig L LaMay and Everette E Dennis, eds. -- See NCJ-159964)
Author(s): E J Gorn
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Transaction Publishers
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Sale Source: Transaction Publishers
Rutgers-the State University
140 West Ethel Road
Units L-M
Piscataway, NJ 08854
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In examining crime reporting from a historical and cultural perspective, this essay considers the content, appeal, and historical significance of the National Police Gazette, a popular 19th-Century journal of sex, sports, and violence.
Abstract: The Gazette's success by the late 1870's and early 1880's through coverage of human interest stories -- crime, sexual scandals, corruption, sports, glamour, show business -- set an example for the daily papers. By the 1890's the "new journalism" practiced by the burgeoning dailies packaged the news as a series of melodramas and atrocities and of titillating events covered as spectacles complete with illustrations. The Gazette began publication in 1845 as a chronicle of the crimes of the day, although in its early years the weekly did more than report on criminals and their wrongdoings. The Gazette was an organ of artisan and working-class culture, upholding the virtues of natural rights, republicanism, and the public good, condemning not only those who committed crimes against individuals and their property, but also corrupt public officials, all who held inordinate economic power, and all who sought "aristocratic" privilege. Richard Kyle Fox, the Gazette's founder and editor, sensed the new potential audience that was developing in America's class culture. The unreconstructed Victorian ethos did not well serve men who bore only its repressions and none of its rewards. The Gilded Age presented increasing numbers of workers with rigidly segmented realms of work and nonwork time. The pleasures offered by the Gazette were not so much alternatives to the repressions of the workplace as compensations for its deprivations. Although heavily criticized by 19th-Century custodians of Victorian culture, the Gazette now seems visionary, as it was the pioneer, for better or worse, for the tabloids and television of today.
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Media coverage; Media violence; Media-crime relationships
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