Early in the 19th century the work of American newspaper journalists was intertwined with the work of politicians. Journalists were primarily printers and editors, and newspapers were largely political organs, funded and used by politicians for political reasons. As the 19th century progressed, not only journalists, but politicians, were involved in newspaper work.
Dooley explores the transformation of journalism, examining how journalists established occupational boundaries separating their work from that of politicians. She focuses on how an occupational group that had been inseparable from party politics early in the 19th century grew to be seen by many in society as more distant and independent from parties by the end of the century and became accepted as the citizenry's primary provider of political news and editorial opinion. This study of how journalists established occupational boundaries will be of interest to scholars and researchers of journalism history, political communication, and the sociology of work.