One of Nackey Loeb’s editorials displayed on C-SPAN shortly before the 1984 New Hampshire presidential primary

For nearly 20 years, Nackey Scripps Loeb served as publisher of the Manchester (NH) Union Leader, a role that gave her tremendous clout in national politics. New Hampshire is home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, and Loeb’s editorials helped shape the conversation about the nominees every four years. Initial research suggests that Loeb wrote more than 1,000 editorials during her tenure, but her work has received little attention from media historians.

This project aims to aggregate, digitize, and analyze all of Loeb’s editorials. We plan to use both qualitative and quantitative methods to answer these questions: How did Loeb’s writing habits change in the months before a presidential primary? What topics did she write about the most? How and when did her words travel beyond the borders of New Hampshire? (The photo accompanying this post shows one example of how the national and international media amplified her voice.)

Our work is progressing quickly thanks to a seed grant from NULab to support two graduate research assistants. We plan to have a corpus and headline index completed by midwinter and have been invited to present our work at a journalism and communications history conference in New York this spring.

Principal Investigator

Meg Heckman, Faculty, Journalism

Publications and Presentations

Meg Heckman. Political Godmother: Nackey Scripps Loeb and the Newspaper That Shook the Republican Party. Potomac Books/University of Nebraska Press, June 2020.