Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Journalism and Mass Communications, Under the supervision of Professor John R. Bender. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011
Copyright 2009 Andrew J. Nelson


“Floyd Gibbons: A Journalistic Force of Nature in Early 20th Century America” examines some of the key journalistic work of dashing newsman Floyd Gibbons and his status as one of the top reporters to ever file a news story. This thesis will look at the world in which Gibbons inhabited 85 to100 years ago, what made him the man and journalist he was and his work as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune compared to what his competitors at national newspapers wrote.

As a reporter, Gibbons was remarkably aggressive and could be counted upon to get the story, no matter what it was or where it was to be found. Some of his tactics would today be considered unethical and he was a master of newsroom politics. Yet a key part of his work was his sympathy for his fellow man, which led to sometimes “graphic and emotional” coverage. A celebrity in his day, Gibbons today is an under-examined figure in American journalism history, yet one whose career yields lessons for current and future journalists and newsgatherers.