Midwest Book Review
The Journalism Shelf
People’s Movements, People’s Press
25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108-2892
0807061646 $23.95 http://www.beacon.org
People’s Movements, People’s Press: The Journalism Of Social Justice Movements by Bob Ostertag (Associate Professor of Technocultural Studies at University of California, Davis) is an intriguing work on and about the impact of “counterculture journalism”. Beginning with the nineteenth century struggles of abolitionist and suffragist newspaper forums and journalist advocacy, Ostertag continues on with gay and lesbian press, the underground GI press during the Vietnam war, and the environmental movement journalism of the past few decades. Ostertag draws upon material from obscure but powerful publications such as the ‘Revolution,’ ‘The Advocate,’ ‘HomoCore,’ ‘LA Free Press’, ‘Vietnam GI,’ and ‘The (Fort) Lewis-McChord Free Press to illustrate how independent journalists have shaped the history of diverse social justice movements. In an age when corporate journalism is almost all that is available in the “mainstream press”, People’s Movements, People’s Press is clearly a book whose time is come. Ostertag closes with an especially interesting chapter that pays tribute to the Independent Press Association which was founded in 1996 by John Anner for the purpose of supporting independent publishing. In it, Ostertag speaks eloquently of the need for media reform beyond any thus far attempted. Highly recommended reading for academic library Journalism Studies reference collections, as well as social activist reading lists, People’s Movements, People’s Press documents relatively recent journalist history which has almost been ‘lost’ by the current generation who take a free press for granted.