Wilbur C. Rich

Wellesley College

Wilbur Rich, professor of political science at Wellesley College, will work on a book about the role of the press in shaping public conceptions of U.S. city mayors, including David Dinkins, former mayor of New York, and Thomas Menino, mayor of Boston. Both mayors were the first of their ethnic group to lead their cities, and both owe their public image to the press. Mayors who boast a popular public image, due to favorable press coverage, can exercise control and influence far beyond the limited powers of their office. But mayors who are portrayed as ineffectual in the press, quickly become ineffectual in reality. Taking Dinkins and Menino as case studies, Rich will explain how the press cements received wisdom about the mayor and how these popular perceptions augment or undermine the mayor's power.

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