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Title:Organized Labor and the Mass Media
Author(s):Douglas, Sara Umberger
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mass Communications
Abstract:Organized labor historically has made more extensive use of the media than generally has been recognized. Its purposes in utilizing the media are twofold: effective internal communication, and enhancement of labor's visibility, credibility, and legitimacy in the eyes of the public.
This study examines and appraises the relationship between organized labor and the mass media in the United States. The analysis includes a case study of the public relations efforts of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union during its lengthy confrontation with the J. P. Stevens Co. This campaign is explored in some depth and is placed in the context of the changing historical circumstances of labor and mass media in American society. The protest model applied in the analysis allows consideration of a wide range of interview and documentary evidence bearing on legal, political, and economic aspects of the labor-media relationship, especially at the AFL-CIO and international union levels.
Although the class structure of the media industries apparently has changed little since the days when labor leaders decided to publish their own newspapers, labor's methods of dealing with the media have changed from avoidance to image-building to a more realistic, activist set of policies and practices.
While this commitment to an increasingly active position has provided media with greater amounts of labor information, much of which is more accurate, substantial, and consistent than in past years, a fundamental problem derives from the fact that private corporations that own media industries shape and dominate coverage of news events and vital issues. For the most part, ACTWU was able to gain favorable publicity by working within this constraint, by turning media attention to issues that were broader than labor-management issues. While in the short run such a strategy may prove effective, more basic labor-management issues may become submerged. In its more active relationship with the media, however, labor improves its prospects for constructive communication with members and, especially, with a public previously not exposed to a labor perspective.
Issue Date:1983
Description:450 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8324537
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1983

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