Publication Date

April 2019


Jennifer Tucker


History (HIST)


English (United States)


The subject of how science newspaper coverage developed contributes significantly to our understanding of the public understanding of science during the Cold War. Despite the importance of newspaper coverage to the public understanding of science, relatively little is known about the intersection between how science news developed at the New York Times and how behavioral sciences like psychology were considered and covered in this post-Atomic bomb, pre-computer time period. To address this gap in the literature, this thesis draws upon an important and hereto neglected body of sources, including many documents from the New York Times Company in the period leading up to the initiation of the Science Times section in 1978. After discussions of the history of science journalism, the history of government support for psychological research, the government framework for scientific support, and public interest in science during the early part of the Cold War, this thesis examines the development of science news at the New York Times that culminated in the November 1978 introduction of the Science Times section on Tuesdays and the slow rise in stature of psychology and behavioral science coverage throughout the 1960s and 1970s. These developments are aligned with concurrent activities in the American Psychological Association, namely their public relations work, support from the Department of Defense, and examples of APA-affiliated Cold War-related research projects in psychological warfare. This examination of the intersections between the APA and the DoD, situated in mid-twentieth-century science journalism at the New York Times, sheds important light on how the public was informed and left ignorant about taxpayer-funded science during the midst of the Cold War.



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