Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism, 1885-1917

Hardback
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the public had enough of sex and death. The lurid penny presses of the industrial East had been mixing a potent cocktail of sensationalism to tempt the American public and increase newspaper circulation, but that steady diet of sexual scandals and murders was growing increasingly unpalatable to readers. When investigative journalists William T. Stead and George Kibbe Turner launched their soon-to-be infamous investigations into global sex trafficking, they were met with skepticism and allegations of fraud - and eventually the two newspapermen saw a fundamental change in their craft, a shift from sensationalism to journalistic objectivity. In Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism , Gretchen Soderlund offers a new way to understand sensationalism in both newspapers and reform movements. Moving beyond an awareness of sensationalism as either overt emotionalism or attributed critique, Soderlund explains how the social and political realities of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century society changed, slowly marginalizing this kind of journalism in favor of a new, more ethical style that demonstrated the significance of race, gender, and sexuality to its readers.