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Newspaper (Object Lessons)

Newspaper (Object Lessons)

Current price: $14.95
Publication Date: May 30th, 2024
Bloomsbury Academic
Available for Preorder


Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

Newspaper is about more than news printed on paper. It brings us inside our best and worst selves, from censorship and the intentional destruction of historic record, to partisan and white supremacist campaigns, to the story of an instrument that has been central to democracy and to holding the powerful to account.

This is a 400-year history of a nearly-endangered object as seen by journalist Maggie Messitt in the two democratic nations she calls home - the United States and South Africa.

The "first draft of history," newspapers figure prominently through each movement and period of unrest in both nations-from the first colonial papers published by slave traders and an advocate for press freedom to those published on id cards, wallpaper, and folio sheets during civil wars. Offices were set on fire. Presses were pushed into bodies of water. Editors were run out of town. And journalists were arrested.

Newspaper reflects on a tool that has been used to push down and to rise up, and a journey alongside the hidden lives that have harnessed its power.

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

About the Author

Maggie Messitt is the author of The Rainy Season, long-listed for the 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award in South Africa, where Messitt lived and worked as an independent journalist for 8 years. A dual-citizen, she was the founder of Amazwi, a rural non-profit media organization that trained woman journalists, and publisher of its award-winning newspaper, The Villager. She would later become the founding national director of Report for America, a national service program that places emerging journalists in newsrooms across the country, addressing critical coverage gaps and the changing landscape of local news. Maggie Messitt is Norman Eberly Professor of Practice and Director of the News Lab at Penn State University, USA