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Newspaper : Object Lessons - Maggie Messitt


By: Maggie Messitt, Ian Bogost (Editor), Christopher Schaberg (Editor)

Paperback | 27 June 2024

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Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

Newspaper is about more than news printed on paper. It brings us inside our best and worst selves, from censorship and the intentional destruction of historic record, to partisan and white supremacist campaigns, to the story of an instrument that has been central to democracy and to holding the powerful to account.

Newspapers are significant and vital and yet also quotidian and disposable: stuffed inside walls for insulation, crumpled to wash windows or start fires, and spread across floors to protect from paint or muddy shoes. A part of our daily ritual, "the first draft of history," and a critical component of our democracy, newspapers figure in our lives and societies in many different ways, but are often central to the communities they serve.

This is a 400-year history of a nearly-endangered object and journalist Maggie Messitt's more recent, personal journey as an advocate for its transformation and survival in the two democratic nations she calls home - the United States and South Africa. A collection of 100 vignettes, Newspaper is a reflection on the past and present, and a journey alongside those seeking to prevent its extinction.

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

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