"working press"/media query

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Tue Jun 10 00:19:03 UTC 2008

Pretty easy to antedate the 1920 NYT.
I can find it as early as the 1890s.  Not much before that.  But that's just
a quick 30 min. search.  Interesting note:  most useages in the 1890s-1900s
resolve to conventions, and how many seats were to be reserved for the
press, with "working press" being specified.

Most of my info is from hits using Newspaperarchive.  Again, I didn't read
every hit.

Sam Clements
----- Original Message -----
From: "Barclay Walsh" <bawals at NYTIMES.COM>
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2008 4:42 PM
Subject: Re: "working press"/media query

> 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.
> Regards,
> 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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