Carr V. Van Anda and the Advancement Of Science News Coverage


  • Wafa Unus Fitchburg State University



Science reporting has a long and rich history in American journalism. While literature is filled with studies on the impact and evolution of science journalism, there remains a gap in the literature where the origins of contemporary science journalism is concerned. In fact, there is no significant investigation into the role in which one of America’s premier publications, The New York Times, under its pioneering and somewhat eccentric managing editor, Carr V. Van Anda, pushed forward the development of substantial science reporting. In the early to mid-1900s, Van Anda led The Times in the coverage of a groundbreaking expedition to the North Pole, the introduction of Albert Einstein to the American public, and provided the American people with their first educational resource on atomic energy. Van Anda rose from a small-time typesetter to The Times preeminent managing editor. He filled the post from 1904 to 1932, during the newspaper’s most celebrated period. His contributions to the reportage of science in American journalism are unparalleled. Van Anda’s personal interest in the sciences deeply impacted his work at The Times and his encouragement of the coverage of sciences spurred continued coverage from The New York Times, one of only nineteen remaining papers with a science section. This study provides the first historical account of Van Anda’s contributions to the beginnings of contemporary science journalism.


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