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 Post subject: History lesson
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:19 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 4655
Location: New York City
General Hooker gets the blame for another important development in the history of prostitution.

Birth of the Byline
After the news leak, Stanton told Hooker that the War Department would support any measure to control journalists. That same day, the general issued General Order No. 48 requiring that all reporters with the Army of the Potomac “publish their communications over their own signatures.” The byline, as it came to be known in newspaper circles, was born.

Newsmen in the North reacted variously to the new requirement that their names appear on stories. A New York Herald reporter said, “It is discouraging for correspondents to have their names paraded before the public as authors of carefully written letters; for sometimes the letters are written on horseback or in woods, and often with the shells screaming to us to ‘hurry up!’” But another correspondent remarked that including their names would make correspondents “exert extraordinary means to achieve success.”

Hooker maintained that the order was not intended to prevent criticism of him by the press. “After any fight the reporters can open their fire as loudly as they please,” he wrote later. As long as correspondents did not reveal critical military information to the enemy, the general said, they would be given “license to abuse or criticize me to their heart’s content.”

“Fighting Joe” would indeed be criticized after the Army of the Potomac was defeated once again at the battle of Chancellorsville. An aggressive plan to attack Gen. Robert E. Lee’s far smaller army initially went well, but the brash Hooker lost his nerve after the initial contact with the Rebels. Hooker pulled his army back to a defensive position, and the audacious Lee split his army into two units. Daring Hooker to attack, Lee split his men again, and after a hazardous 12-mile march, Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s troops routed the Federals.

In June, Hooker would be replaced as commander of the Army of Potomac. After his departure, some correspondents went back to writing stories anonymously. But the byline had been established and would eventually become a widespread newspaper custom.

Clarification: The names of some writers appeared on newspaper stories as early as the mid-1830s. The practice was not widespread, however, and the bylines of Civil War reporters did not appear until Hooker’s order requiring them for the reasons discussed. Nonetheless, it was misleading to say that the byline technically was “born” during the war.

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