Fred Newton Scott and Journalism Training

Ivan Davis (English)

Fred Newton Scott and Journalism Training at the University of Michigan

The proposed study aims to reevaluate Fred Newton Scott’s contributions to writing studies by extending the field’s understanding of Scott’s interest and work in the teaching of journalism.  While Scott’s professional focus on rhetoric and written composition—as a scholar, professor and textbook author—has been widely examined, writing studies scholarship has generally undervalued his work in journalism because of the field’s historical focus on the teaching of composition (i.e. Freshman English). 

This narrow scholarly focus on Scott has overlooked one of his vital and practical rhetorical interests—Scott’s near life-long devotion to journalism, first as a journalist himself, then as a journalism teacher and a mentor to future journalists, punctuated by his having served as a founding member and president of the American Association of Teachers of Journalism (AATJ).

Through a careful examination of Scott’s writing on journalism, the curriculum he developed at Michigan, his instructional methods, and his work with the AATJ, this study seeks to understand the role Scott placed on journalism and journalism education within his educational philosophy. This study argues that Scott found in journalism the most practical route to enact social change befitting his views of American democracy.