Be the Historian!

What Was Left Out of the Story? How Can I Find Out More?

When historians use newspapers to understand a certain historical event, they hope to get as complete a view as possible of that event. Often, however, crucial information is missing from newspapers. These gaps are sometimes due to the newspapers’ varying political stances and audiences. Was a particular newspaper read primarily by the rich? By the working class? By conservatives? Socialists? Men? Women? The answers to these questions will inevitably shape the contents of the newspaper.

The Task:
This exercise challenges you to use both visual and rhetorical clues in order to assess a newspaper’s readership. Your task will be to compare the front pages of three different newspapers published in the same city during the same week and determine the readership of each.

The newspapers in the exercise, La Vanguardia, La Nación, and Crítica [click to view], were all published in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 24 or March 25, 1928. By the 1920s, Buenos Aires was a metropolitan city that attracted immigrants from poorer Argentinean provinces, the rest of Latin America, and Europe, causing the lower and middle classes to swell and leading to an increase in social problems. The top news story was the formal announcement that Hipólito Yrigoyen would be the candidate of the Personalist Radical Party in the presidential election to be held on April 1. Yrigoyen (or Irigoyen) was President of Argentina from 1916 to 1922, and was popular among middle-class voters, though he often drew criticism from the more conservative opposition parties. He was considered likely to win another term.

View the first newspaper