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It’s no secret that the public is hungry for news. We’ve always passed on stories, gathered in coffeehouses and read up on any and every kind of news we could find. However, in 1974, a different kind of “news” magazine came along; celebrity reporting and human interest pieces came to the forefront of American culture with the start of People magazine.

Thought up by former CEO of Time Inc., Andrew Hesikell, the magazine was started  on the idea of keeping “people” and the general public as the center of the stories, not news. To make his dream a reality, he hired former assistant managing editor of Time magazine’s Richard Stolley.

We’re getting back to the people who are causing the news and who are caught up in it, or deserve to be in it. Our focus is on people, not issues.

While the magazine is still widely popular, People.com is also a powerhouse in the publication’s empire. Exclusively featuring celebrity news, the website gets upwards of 30 million page views a day. There’s no telling yet whether with the advent of social media and the newspaper industry dying if People magazine will slow down soon. However, with a readership of 4.6 million subscribers, it doesn’t look like it’ll be anytime soon.

Photo courtesy of LAtimes.com


under: Comm 455, Uncategorized
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Tired of the stale and dry news published in traditional newspapers, James Franklin, brother of Benjamin Franklin began publishing the “New England Courant“. Franklin got rid of hte boring addresses from the governor and began publishing satire and essays in the style of London’s paper, “The Spectator.”

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin wrote for the paper under the pseudonym Silence Dogood, keeping his identity secret even from James. In the time of early American newspapers, it was common for writers to use false names to protect them from harm at the hands of people they criticized.

A copy of the “New England Courant” with a letter from Silence Dogood on the front

In 1728, Benjamin moved to Philadelphia and began working on the  “Pennsylvania Gazette“. He began franchising other local printers who published their own newspapers and by 1750, 14 weekly newspapers were being published in the six largest colonies.

Benjamin published series of essays in the “Pennsylvania Gazette” that contributed to the development of American literature with it’s unique satire, wit and mischievousness. His focus was very rarely on practical journalism, but his influence of the culture and society of Pennsylvania was invaluable.

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The New Newspaper

Posted by: | September 30, 2012 | No Comment |

How many of you still read the newspaper…any newspaper?

How many of you get your news from it? How many of you get your news from social media? Well, you’re on a blogging site right now for starters. Either for the best or the worst, online news revenue has surpassed that of the print news. Social media is just how we do business nowadays.

But it’s not only ‘social media’ that is controlling the death of newspapers. It’s newspapers, themselves!! Think about it, The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times. They all have websites! If someone wants to read a story from one of these papers online, they sure can. If someone wants a full subscription to one of these online, they can do that as well — avoiding ever picking up a paper copy again.

Not only this, but these newspapers’ websites contain links to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook for readers to more easily share stories with the world. So could it be that newspaper giants are helping to destroy their own livelihood?

Maybe, but in reality the answer is ‘NO.’ Social media is the devise that is forcing newspapers to conform to the new norm. Newspapers have no choice but to latch on and ride into the future. If they didn’t, they would go extinct alltogether. Currently, only one thing is for sure. Paper is rapidly being converted to silicon.

under: Comm 455, newspapers, Uncategorized
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Sensationalism in America

Posted by: | September 25, 2012 | No Comment |

Sensationalism in the United States began with the creation of The Penny Press. Like the name suggests, penny press papers cost one penny per paper. This made news accessible to the lower class for the first time. It didn’t take long for journalists to realize that this new “penny-audience” was not interested in the same kind of news that their educated American counterparts were interested in. In an attempt to increase readership, the Penny Press began to cover crime, divorce and other court stories. This was they type of news that interested the “penny-audience,” or the middle and lower class.

The next rise of Sensationalism can be seen in the 1890’s with the start of the Spanish-American War. This war is seen as the first “media” or “press-driven” war in America. Sensationalized news stories about the conflict between America and Spain increased American support which propelled the conflict into war.

Perhaps the most common form of sensationalism, the tabloid, was created during the 1920s. These tabloids were composed of scandalous crime, sex, and money articles that relied heavily on photography rather than quality writing. This is most similar to the sensationalism that is seen in modern-day journalism.

Photo courtesy of StepAsideShow


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We all know what word of mouth is. A friend tells you some news, whether it be juicy gossip or something they heard on the radio, then you tell someone else and it goes on and on. By the time it goes through a number of people, it can become distorted and completely inaccurate.

In today’s world, the most common way we exhibit word of mouth is through social media, especially Twitter. Although word of mouth can lead to distortion of news, social media sites like twitter allow news to travel much faster. Within minutes a news story can blow up just from one tweet.

Where did word of mouth begin? Although it has no real time stamp, it can be traced back to the time of the Greeks.

In 351 B.C, Demosthenes, a Greek orator, delivered a speech called the First Philippic, addressing Athenians obsession with word of mouth, stating “Thus we all go about framing our several tales.”

It is funny imagining the Greeks walking around whispering about the latest gossip surrounding Alexander the Great or what battle will be fought next. It is also interesting to know our behavior has not changed much since that time.

So even back then word of mouth was an everyday form of communication and gossip that we all participate in. Since then word of mouth has come a long way. Now everyday ‘word of mouthers’ on the internet consider themselves journalists, which has its pros and cons, it is just the matter of sorting the reliable ones from the not so reliable.

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Early French salons served as a major channel of communication among the European elite. Intellectuals attended these meetings and had discussions on a broad range of topics including politics, art, and religion. These meetings were a way for aristocratic members of society to acquire their news. Salons were a newspaper, journal, literary society, and university all in one. It comes as no surprise that women were behind the creation of these lively, cultural hubs. 

Madame Rambouillet and Madame De Stael are credited as assembling the first French literacy salons.

Rambouillet did not approve of the structure of the public sphere so she assembled meetings in her home that redefined the traditional social gathering. She promoted intelligent and lively discourse among intellectuals in the informality of her own home.

De Stael was a feminist who began hosting meetings of a similar nature in hopes of promoting intelligent discourse that would lead to reformative action against the aristocracy.

Women created salons so naturally women were the center of the salon culture. They selected and invited guests and decided upon the subject of discourse for each meeting. These salons acted as “informal” universities because they provided a safe environment for women to exhibit their intelligence and assert their opinions.

Courtesy of The Alphaville Herald

French salons served as some of the earliest newsrooms and were influential in establishing the legitimacy of women as intellectuals.
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6 May 1912, New York City: Women publicly marched the streets in the Suffrage Parade as a bold move to further the women’s rights movement and gain momentum for their cause.  These parades were only a small part of the fight for women’s suffrage which took decades to win.

Started in 1848 by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the fight took many forms.  Some of the most dramatic and most publicized were these suffrage parades.  One of the most notorious was the 1913 parade in Washington, D.C.

The parade made national headlines, and word of the suffrage movement spread.  Photos accompanied the headlines, and were even used for postcards (something like social media in the early 2oth century).

The media, during this decades long struggle, played a critical role in helping women to gain the right to vote by simply covering the events that were unfolding.  In the end, it didn’t matter if the coverage was negative or positive, but it spread the message of women’s suffrage culminated in the 19th Amendment being passed in 1920.

Today, we see a similar struggle being waged in many parts of the world.  Media in all forms is being used to raise awareness of these issues.  From YouTube

to blogs in the New York Times website, headlines in the Washington Post and social media such as Facebook.

The impact that media is having on the issue of women’s rights, and has had for over more than a century is enormous.  It will only continue to grow as new forms of media and communication are developed and opened up to the public.


under: Comm 455, newspapers, social media, Uncategorized
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What the World Sees First

Posted by: | September 17, 2012 | No Comment |

“President Shot Dead,” “Attack on America” “Berlin Wall Crumbles”

Headlines like these have been fed to the world since the beginnings of the press and media in general. Always being a front page story, significant news stories that shape the world are the first thing a reader sees when he or she picks up a newspaper or turns on the news on the television.

It can be seen everywhere in the media. In newspapers, on news television channels, on Twitter and Facebook and more. Big story reporting is the mainstay of the media and press.

Recently, the attack and killing of four American citizens — including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens — on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya on the anniversary of 9/11 has led to heightened reporting on the situation. It comes as no surprise, however, that such an important international story has been given so much attention.

Muslim Protesters in Pakistan

Reporting on big stories doesn’t necessarily have to come from important current news, though. New York Times journalist Derek Willis explains that journalists could go about digging deeper to find the big stories rather than stumbling upon them from current events. This is probably mainly useful for uncovering tax records of presidential candidates and other stories of this nature.

Big story reporting, for now, refers to what is happening in the world. What is the most important aspect of the news. This is what will get the biggest headline and the most attention.

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“What was the Dean’s main point about the French Revolution?” Professor Klein asked.

The overall class answer was that the press didn’t cause the French Revolution…it contributed to it.

Without the press in 18th century France there would have been no revolution. From 1631-1750 the press was very small and controlled by the government. It was in the 1740’s, however, when this began to change. Philosophes, the Enlightenment and the American Revolution offered novel ideas to the French people.

The French monarchy was censoring the press drastically. Dean Jack Censer stressed that the reason the French government was so able to control the press so much was that newspapers were (and are) printed often. The government could more effectively impede the distribution of newspapers as opposed to books—which are printed one time only.

He even made it a great point to mention how Panckoucke made periodicals less controversial—taking the sensationalized aspects out.

French Revolution Battle

It was when Napoleon became the dictator of France that the number of papers decreased, due to his heightened censorship laws. Other nations besides France controlled the spread of news through the press as well. While France practiced censorship, England exercised licensing and the United States employed libeling.

“All 3 countries went about exerting some sort of control or protection [over the press],” Professor Klein said.

So what was the Dean’s main point? The censorship of the press and sensationalized periodicals were both huge contributing factors to the French Revolution.

under: Comm 455, newspapers, Uncategorized
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According to Daily News, news regarding Supreme Court sub judicecannot be tampered with – or rather, completely ignored — in specific cases.

“No guidelines can be framed across the board to regulate media reporting of sub-judice matters,” said Chief Justice of New Dehli, S.H. Kapadia,  “Finding an acceptable constitutional balance between free press and administration of justice is a difficult task in every legal system.”

Unlike the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, freedom of speech is notprotected for the people of New Delhi. Any type of free speech in New Dehli that may infringe on others’ public rights is subject to be questioned, investigated, and qualified as lawful or unlawful under the courts’ scrutiny.

“Right to freedom of expression under the First Amendment in the US is absolute which is not so under the Indian constitution in view of such right getting restricted by the test of reasonableness and in view of the heads of restrictions under Article 19(2),” said a New Delhi Judge.

Though the courts of New Delhi seem to be aware of the limitations of social/judicial media, they are not adverse to the potential of fill political and religious freedom of speech.

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Impact of Media: Exposed

Posted by: | September 11, 2012 | No Comment |

The combination of the words exposed and media in a single sentence often conjure thoughts of naked celebrities and nail-bitingly insignificant scandals.  The impact of media has further reaching implications, however, than the latest tabloid headline.  It has the impact of exposure.

In the 1950s and 60s the U.S. was in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement.  As people took sides to stand on in the fight for racial equality, advocates for civil rights knew the importance of involving the media in their campaign, as this clip from CBS News shows.

Without the aid of the media to bring the issue of civil rights to Americans, it may have taken years longer to accomplish.  It was critical to success, especially in the south, that they have the exposure of the media to show Americans what the Civil Rights Movement was about.

under: Comm 455, newspapers, Uncategorized
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Siri, a Sit Down Drag Out Review

Posted by: | December 11, 2011 | No Comment |

In the wake of the death of Steve Jobs, many investors, enthusiasts, and simple consumers have voiced their concerns over the direction that Apple will take after the Sultan of Silicone Valley has passed. The new CEO of the multimedia giant, Tim Cook, is now the new name behind the devices in your hand. There are even rumors that the iPhone 4S, actually stands for “For Steve”.

In this age of the decay of printed paper, and truly instant velocity of fnews, the newly loaded software Siri seemingly fulfills all of our sci fi instant gratification fantasies. The premise behind Siri is that given any simple vocal command, your iPhone is able to answer intelligently, and with personality. As a ramification of news, the software is a complete breakthrough in disguise. From now on one need not read through a whole paper to find the story they are looking for but just tell Siri what they heard and wait for it to be found.

This new technology, like all innovations that came before it, is of course rumored to have glitches. With such an interesting and intuitive technology, though, I needed to find out just how big of a splash this tech was likely to make, inspiring me to have a seat in my girlfriend’s apartment with her new iPhone and get my hands on it.

Siri’s interface, like so many more of Apple’s, is built to be simple, easy to get your head around, and intuitive. The basic programs that Siri uses are (ironically) Google interfaces to find things that you want found

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