1945: Covering Congress





Henrietta Poynter ’22

Until Henrietta Poynter helped found Congressional Quarterly in 1945, small newsrooms and ordinary citizens had few means of researching their legislators’ records. Once CQ became available, information about Congress became democratized and millions of citizens were empowered in unprecedented ways.

Congressional Quarterly – December 1945

By Henrietta and Nelson Poynter

Congressional Quarterly is a Washington Service for editors and commentators who have purchased reproduction rights to the material as it is compiled and edited. Every 90 days the service will be bound and indexed. These bound copies can be purchased by libraries and individuals outside the field of publishing and broadcasting, but without rights for editorial use or reproduction.

Because of the war’s disruption to our staff – and to our printing and binding – and because the editorial task was even greater than we anticipated – the four volumes of 1945 Congressional Quarterlies go to press almost simultaneously at the end of the year. They cover the 79th Congress from the first day of its first session. To fill the gap of voting records of Congressmen since World War I, the 1945 Congressional Quarterly also has a table to show how members of the 79th Congress voted on the most controversial issues from 1919 to 1945.

The 1946 Congressional Quarterly, in addition to the features contained in this volume, will cover committees and their actions. The 1946 Congressional Quarterly also will attempt to record the statements and attitudes of lobbies and pressure groups on Capitol Hill.

The Congressional Quarterly service was created to fill a need working newspapermen so often experience when they want past or even recent data on Congress. Only by condensing, and compiling, and organizing the day-to-day story can the job be done. It’s a full time job, and a big one for a number of people – if the whole range of reader interest is covered. No busy reporter can do this. No bureau can do it and cover the spot news of Washington. One of the country’s foremost newspapers, with a celebrated morgue, asked us to compile the whole pre-Pearl Harbor defense story of debate and voting records of Congressmen. Congressional Quarterly will make such requests unnecessary in the future because the material will be in the libraries of its subscribers.

By providing a link between the local newspaper and Capitol Hill we hope Congressional Quarterly can help to make public opinion the only effective pressure group in the country. Since many citizens other than editors are also interested in Congress, we hope that they too will find Congressional Quarterly an aid to a better understanding of their government.

Congressional Quarterly presents the facts in as complete, concise and unbiased form as we know how. The editorial comment on the acts and votes of Congress, we leave to our subscribers.

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