Reviewed by Helen Broady
Librarian II, Central Library, San Diego Public Library
San Diego Union Tribune, October 24, 2021
Whether your interest is history, the media, or just people who dared to be different, “Citizen Reporters” will leave you wanting to know more.
In the early 1900s, McClure’s magazine was perhaps the most influential source of public opinion. Through the stories of the brilliant but erratic S.S. McClure and fearless journalist Ida Tarbell, Ms. Gorton unveils the roots of the current war between the media and powerful politicians, as well as police corruption, corporate greed, and the struggles of professional women. The magazine first published stories by Rudyard Kipling, Willa Cather, Henry James, and O. Henry, and Ms. Tarbell’s investigations exposed the monopolistic practices of the Rockefellers and Standard Oil.
Despite their ground-breaking work, these journalists were not reformers; and topics such as race relations were still taboo. The book ends with some surprising changes in the personal and philosophical lives of these characters of the Gilded Age.