INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has named the city of Boston, Mass., a National Historic Site in Journalism.
Since 1942, the Society has honored the people and places that have played important roles in the history of journalism through the Historic Sites program. Some honorees include: The Associated Press offices in Washington and New York City; Freedom’s Journal, the first Black newspaper published in the United States.
The site was nominated by Manny Paraschos, professor of journalism at Emerson College. Boston’s importance in the history of American journalism influenced Paraschos to nominate the city for this honor.
The first three, and five of the first seven newspapers in North America, were published in Boston. Boston Post’s reporters also uncovered Carlo Ponzi’s financial scheme, Boston Gazette editors coined the word “gerrymandering,” the Boston Post was the first newspaper to print “O.K.” and The Boston Globe printed the first full-page newspaper advertisement.
Among other journalism related accomplishments for the city, it was home to The Liberator, an abolitionist paper; a reporter for The Boston Daily Mail used carrier pigeons to send news before carrier services existed; and Boston editors fought against the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798-1801.
Boston has also been home to a lot of firsts for women in journalism: The first female newspaper editor, Cornelia Wells Walter of The Boston Evening Transcript; the first female publisher of a major metropolitan newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science Monitor; the first African-American female journalist, Maria W. Stewart of The Liberator; and the first female magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale of Boston’s Ladies’ Magazine. WASN, first all-female radio station, and The Woman’s Journal, the first national newspaper to be staffed by and aimed solely at women, were both located in Boston.
The city also made strides in race and religion as it pertains to journalism by being host to the first English-language Jewish newspaper, the nation’s oldest Roman Catholic newspaper, the first Methodist Episcopal newspaper and the first Greek-American newspaper.
“As a journalism historian, I have found Boston to be so woven into American journalism that I think it richly deserves the honor of being recognized as the birthplace of American journalism,” Paraschos wrote.
A plaque will be placed at a location in Boston to distinguish it as a National Historic Site in Journalism. See a complete list of past winners here.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.