Italian American press

Italian American press: Characteristics of the Italian American Press

Italian American press: Rise of Fascism

Italian American press: Postwar Press

Definition: American news publications targeted at Italian American and immigrant Italian communities

Significance: Newspapers, magazines, and journals designed to appeal to the Italian community in America, often published in Italian, provided new immigrants and succeeding generations important information about both the United States and Italy, helping immigrants acclimate to their new homeland while remaining in touch with their roots.

News vehicles for Italian immigrants in America were available as early as 1836, when El Correro Atlantico appeared in New Orleans. New York City had its first Italian-language paper, L’Eco d’Italia, in 1850, and even before the great influx of Italians into the United States between 1880 and 1920 several other major cities could boast of having one or more publications that catered to this ethnic group.

Because Italian immigrants generally clustered together in neighborhoods that were dubbed “Little Italies,” it was easy for publishers to distribute their newspapers to waiting audiences, most of whom were poor and ignorant of American customs. Many publications contained stories about events in Italy as well as news about America, enabling immigrants to stay in touch with the old country while adjusting to their new home. Such publications were also convenient media in which employers could advertise job openings. Newspapers also served as forums for individuals to vent their frustrations about life in what they called La Merica that to many was proving less rosy than they had anticipated.

Laurence W. Mazzeno

Further Reading

  • Diggins, John N. Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1972. Discusses the fascination of Italian Americans with Mussolini, explains the role of the mainstream Italian American press in promoting a favorable view of him, and describes efforts of anti-Fascist publications to counter positive Fascist images. 
  • Mangione, Jerre, and Ben Morreale. La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian-American Experience. New York: HarperCollins, 1992. Extensive history of Italian immigration to America, outlining contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. Includes a brief commentary on the role of the Italian American press. 
  • Moreno, Barry. Italian Americans. Hauppauge,N.Y.: Barron’s Educational Series, 2003. Describes the history and customs of Italian immigrants; briefly sketches the role of the Italian American press within these communities. 
  • Park, Robert E. The Immigrant Press and Its Control. New York: Harper, Collins, 1922. Provides a sense of the concerns mainstream America had with ethnic newspapers, including those published by Italian Americans, which were perceived as potentially subversive to American values. 
  • Pericone, Nunzio. Carlo Tresca: Portrait of a Rebel. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Biography of the activist and newspaper editor influential in promoting the cause of labor and combating favorable views of fascism within the Italian American community. 

See also: Ethnic enclaves; German American press; Immigration waves; Italian immigrants; Labor unions; Little Italies; Spanish-language press.

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