Rachel Grant Co-Authors Article on History of Eugenics in Local News Coverage
Rachel Grant, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Journalism assistant professor, is the co-author of “’Improving the Race:’ The Discourse of Science and Eugenics in Local News Coverage, 1905-1922” published in American Journalism, Volume 37, 2020 – Issue 4.
Grant and Cristina Mislán explored a historical analysis of how local news production incorporated “objectivity” as a practice that in turn elevated eugenics as a legitimate form of science. They looked at how two Missouri newspapers elevated discussions about race and gender into coverage of local events as well as national dialogues that sought to address anxieties about a changing society.
According to the authors, “These newspapers propelled eugenics discourse into local communities. News articles and editorials helped to popularize the notion that science could somehow solve societal problems, with eugenicists attempting to create a state in which the ‘best’ and ‘superior’ would survive.”
They found three themes that explored the prevalence of local and national eugenics discourses in locally-based news coverage including “race suicide” and its implications for designating social value; elevating the “superior race” through purity and racial difference; and the politics of respectability.