Tranfaglia come studioso di comunicazione e la Storia della stampa italiana - Nicola Tranfaglia and communication studies: the Storia della stampa italiana
In order to understand Tranfaglia’s contribution on journalism and media, it is important to consider his peculiar way of co-working in collaborative projects. Two examples are Il mondo contemporaneo and the creation of the Scienze della comunicazione university curriculum in Torino, which was one of the very earliest in Italy and the one in which the presence and role of historical research made itself most recognized. Tranfaglia tended always to work collectively, as a primus inter pares. And he was open to a variety of sciences but without a simplistic combination of disciplines: rather, a critical dialogue and mutual interrogation. This is visible in the construction, with Valerio Castronovo, of the seven volumes of Storia della stampa italiana, which is still a reference point not only for the history of journalism but for media studies more in general. Two essays by Tranfaglia, his contribution on newspapers as a historical source and his preface to a recent Italian translation reprint of Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion demonstrate on the one hand his critical perception of the journalistic representation and selection of reality, on the other hand his attention to the contribution of the media to the strength but also to the limits of democracy.