In Search of Jenkins: Taste, Style, and Credibility in Gilded-Age Journalism

Tucher, Andrea Jean

In the 1860s to the 1880s, the term "Jenkins," borrowed from a British expressin for a windy and obsequious society reporter, was widely used in the U.S. as a derisive term for journalists whose prose was over-rich and whose prying was viewed as excessive. A study of the use of the "Jenkins" label offers firm clues for evaluating how readers and reporters engaged with their newspapers. And it suggests that readers had a clear understanding about relationships between style and topic in journalistic prose, violations of which opened the offender to criticism.


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Journalism History

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October 6, 2021


Also published in Journalism History.