"working press"/media query

Barclay Walsh bawals at NYTIMES.COM
Mon Jun 9 20:42:49 UTC 2008

Dear ADS:

I am forwarding this from a Times research colleague. Thanks very much for
any enlightenment you can provide-

Barclay Walsh
NYT DC Research
bawals at nytimes.com

Hello, list members,
I am a researcher for the New York Times and am looking for some guidance
in nailing down the origin of the phrase "working press." I'm not
attempting to define what the working press is -- I am only looking for
information on how and when the phrase came into being.

My deadline is Thursday, June 12. I am currently just looking for
background information, but the reporter who's working on the story might
be interested in quoting someone in his story who is an authority on the
origin of the phrase.

I have checked everywhere I can think to look: news stories via Factiva and
LexisNexis; the OED; all of William Safire's books (You Could Look it Up
discussed "working breakfast," but not "working press") and other political
dictionaries like White's; Fowler's Modern English Usage'
Wentworth/Flexner's Dictionary of American Slang and Listening to America;
Morris's Word and Phrase Origin books and many other etymology and usage
books; histories of American journalism and An Encyclopedia of American
Journalism, but no luck. I have also checked with the National Press Club,
and they also don't know the origins of the phrase. The first use in the
New York Times appears to be in 1920, so I'm imagining the phrase was in
fairly wide use by then.

I'd very much appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks so much.

Kitty Bennett

Kitty Bennett, News Researcher
The New York Times
Washington, DC Bureau
1627 Eye St. NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 862-0446 (Voice)
(202) 862-0340 (Fax)
kitty at nytimes.com

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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