"A Failure to Communicate": Contrasting Narratives of the 1968 Columbia Takeover
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The author analyzes American newspaper responses to the 1968 takeover at Columbia, and the disparities that existed between the narratives of mainstream media outlets and students. Four major newspapers are examined: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times. As a representation of the student voice, Columbia's own student newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, along with other primary sources, is compared to these mass media outlets. The author considers four major questions. What narratives of the Columbia takeover did each news source promote? Did responses change between newspapers in regards to the takeover? Did different sections of the same paper express contrasting views? And what contributions do the answers to these questions make to the historical field? The author concludes that all four major national newspapers were uniformly biased against the student action in contrast to the personal perceptions of the students involved, adding to the already present generation gap between those who protested and those who read about it in the daily news.