Covering history

When I was a reporter at the Daily Californian in El Cajon, Calif., I did a story about the “Campaign of the Century.” That was a book about Upton Sinclair’s campaign for governor of California. It was significant because it revolutionized the way major campaigns were run. It was the birth of the modern media campaign.

Given that, I thought it would be interesting to did through the archives of my 100-year-old newspaper and see what we said about that campaign, if anything.

What I found fascinating was reading the coverage the old Valley News had given to the war in Europe and American attitudes about going to war. In 1939, fewer than 40 percent of those polled supported America’s involvement in any war. By the summer of 1941, even before Pearl Harbor, that number had risen to nearly 70 percent.

It can be instructive to get one’s history from newspaper archives. Patt Morrison at the LAT had the good idea to peruse the Times’ archives and see what the one-year anniversary of Pearl Harbor was like. (via

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