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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Gilbert Cranberg Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1960-1990
Creator: Cranberg, Gilbert (1925-)
Extent: 7.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0912
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Editorial page writer for the Des Moines Register from 1949 to 1982, and from 1975 to 1982 the editor of that page; and then professor in the University of Iowa in the School of Journalism from 1982 to 2000. Drafts of published essays.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: Donated by Cranberg's son, Lee Cranberg; and his daughter, Marcia Wolff in 2010.

Preferred Citation: Gilbert Cranberg Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman
Email: lib-spec@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc

Gilbert Cranberg was born in New York City on February 20, 1925. After serving in World War II he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in journalism and political science from Syracuse University in 1949. During the summers while he was attending Syracuse, he travelled abroad, attending the University of Norway at Oslo and the University of Debrecen in Hungary. In 1956 he received a degree in Social Science from Drake University.
 
He joined the editorial page staff of the Des Moines Register in 1950, at the age of 24. He stayed until 1982, serving as editor of the editorial pages during his last seven years there. It was his only newspaper job. During that time, the Des Moines Register put out the Register as a morning paper and the Tribune as an afternoon paper and the papers ran different editorial pages, though the staff was the same. Cranberg was interested in fairness and he served on the board of the ACLU. Michael Gartner, the editor of the Register, said in an editorial about hiring Cranberg's successor that she or he must be characterized by . . . a passionate belief in human rights, a strong bias toward free trade, a commitment to human dignity, a compassion for the poor person and the poor nation, a dislike for the tyrant and demagogue, a distrust of secrecy and a distaste for special privilege and going on to say that Cranberg had been the perfect editor in demonstrating and practicing those traits. Cranberg's particular interests were in legal and journalistic questions, corrections, civil rights, and social welfare. Through his editorials he was responsible for establishing one of the nation's first bail reform programs. He received awards from numerous social organizations, such as the Iowa Council on Crime and Delinquency, the American Bar Association, and the Iowa Civil Liberties Association. He served as Chairman of the Professional Standards Committee of the National Conference of Editorial Writers on the executive board of that organization. He was a member of the Freedom of Information Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and on that organization's Ethics Committee.
 
He wrote articles for The Christian Science Monitor, where he was a correspondent, Journalism Quarterly, Saturday Review, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, New Republic, Bulletin of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY, American Journalism Review, Nieman Reports, American Bar Association Journal, and Iowa Law Review. He lectured at Drake University and the University of Iowa. After he retired from the Des Moines Register in 1982, he joined the faculty of the University of Iowa, where he taught until 2000, when he retired for a second time.
 
He published several books, including Taking Stock: Journalism and the Publicly Traded Newspaper Company, 2001; The Business of News in the Publicly Traded Newspaper Company : Report of the Iowa Newspaper Research, 2000; and was co-author with Randall Bezanson and John Soloski of Libel Law and the Press : Myth and Reality, 1987.
 
Married in 1951, he and his wife Norma had four children.

Notes and drafts of essays written by Cranberg during his career, organized by subject in a preliminary index.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: JOURNALISM

  • Series 1: JOURNALISM
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical materials for Cranberg
  • Access to the Print Media, Right of. ACLU deliberations on a policy statement - 1969-1975
    3 folders
  • African pictures from Africa-American conference trip - 1978
  • "Baby Jessica" Schmidt case
  • Bail reform in Des Moines
  • Buckley, William F.: Column discontinued
    Column discontinued in DMR for breach of journalistic ethics in non-disclosure of financial interest. 3 folders
  • CIA and The Press. Pulitzer award to Harold Hendrix after Bay of Pigs
    Letters from Moyers and Daniel Schorr. 5 folders
  • Cranberg, Gilbert, better editorial pages by. Clippings
  • Darling, Jay N. "Ding": Photocopies of JND letters
    Several concerned with Des Moines Art Center
  • Iowa Republican Party platform - 2004
  • Iraq and April Glaspie meeting with Saddam Hussein
  • Box 2:
  • Iraq and the Press: flawed arguments for invasion accepted by press
  • Libel, Research and Writing on
    Lead to Libel Law and the Press: Myth and Reality (1987), with Randall Bezanson and John Soloski. 4 folders
  • Box 3:
  • Libel, Research and Writing on
    Lead to Libel Law and the Press: Myth and Reality (1987), with Randall Bezanson and John Soloski. 3 folders
  • Journalistic Ethics
    Largely post-Nixon era National Conference of Editorial Writers policy, ethics of using hidden recorders; collection of organizational ethics policy statements; some teaching materials. 2 folders
  • Box 4:
  • Journalistic Ethics
    Largely post-Nixon era National Conference of Editorial Writers policy, ethics of using hidden recorders; collection of organizational ethics policy statements; some teaching materials. 4 folders
  • News and advertising, relationships between
  • Newspaper business and corporate ownership
    Including contracts for and copies of "The Business of News in the Publicly Traded Newspaper Company" (1999)
  • Newspapers and minority readers
  • Noun, Louise and Mary Louise Smith: Smith obituary, Noun memorial conference
  • Overholser, Geneva: Articles by and about, correspondence
  • Prairie Meadows (Des Moines racetrack)
  • The Press and Law Enforcement: Proper role of journalists
  • Racial Identifiers in News Stories
  • Syndicates, Syndicated Columnists, and Ethics: Public access to respond, disclosures
    5 folders
  • United States Supreme Court: Justice's Conflicts of Interest and Recusal
  • Box 5:
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Voice of America - 1982
  • Whitewater, Press Handling of

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.