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Benjamin Day began printing “The Sun” in New York City on Sept. 3, 1833. The slogan of the paper was “It shines for all,” and it was sold at the price of 1 penny. The Sun offered its readers stories of human interest, crime, tragedy, etc., such information made the paper appealing to its readers, reaching a mass audience as a result of its affordable price. Its success was based on its ability to attract a large and working class audience as well as newly arrived immigrants who could now afford to read a newspaper.

source: mhhe.com

source: mhhe.com

Technological advancements greatly aided the day, the most important being the steam engine. After purchasing a steam press of his own, day was able to significantly increase his production. According to Mitchell Stephens in his book A History of News, ”By 1840 4,000 copies of the Sun could be printed per hour; by 1851 the Sun’s steam powered press were turning out 18,000 copies per hour.”

Other papers were priced at 6 cents, so the penny press in many ways made newspapers available to everyone in the public not just limited to upper class citizens. One of the main distinguishing factors of the penny press was that it heavily relied on advertising. Advertisements provided a large amount of revenue, enabling them to continue to sell papers at a low price.

At the very top of the first column of the front page of The Sun the following was printed: “The object of this paper is to lay before the public, at a price within the means of everyone, all the news of the day, and at the same time offer an advantageous medium for advertisements.”

Benjamin Day truly was one of the pioneers of his era. Other than the fact that he relied on advertising rather than subscriptions, he also revolutionized distribution. James Surowiecki of The New Yorker wrote, “He sold them to newsboys in lots of a hundred to hawk in the street. Before long, Day was the most important publisher in New York.” Day imported the London Plan to the U.S. This was a system in which paper carriers bought newspapers in bulk from publishers such as Day. They would then proceed and sell these papers to the public for a profit.

The Sun was the first to print about a story of suicide, which was the first account, printed of an ordinary person in society. The Sun and its success also made hiring reporters viable. Day was the first publisher to hire reporters that went out and collected stories.

source: wikipedia.org

source: wikipedia.org

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The New York daily News is known for its cover issue showing the execution of murderer Ruth Snyder. The well-known image is often described as being on of the most famous tabloid photos to have ever been published.


source: nydailynews.com

Ruth Snyder was a housewife from Queens Village, Queens, New York City and she was married to Albert Snyder. In 1925 she began an affair with Henry Judd Gray. Gray and Snyder planned the murder of her husband. After taking out a forged insurance policy, the pair garroted Albert Snyder. They then tried to stage his death as if it had been a burglary. It wouldn’t be long before bot would be charged, convicted, and sentenced to death.

source: wikimedia.org

source: wikimedia.org

At Sing Song Prison Snyder was sentenced to die in an electric chair. No photographs were allowed, however the New York Daily News was not going to give up easily. Tom Howard was brought in where he posed as a writer while discretely having a camera strapped to his right ankle. Arriving early on the day of the execution and seated in a vantage position, he would take a picture that would make him gain widespread popularity overnight.

When Snyder shook from the volt of the chair, the photograph as snapped. The camera was linked to the shutter release in Howard’s jacket. He lifted the leg of his pants to snap the picture. The image captured proved to be even re dramatic because it was blurry because of motion. The following day the picture was printed on the front cover of the issue on Jan. 13, 1928. The headline displayed “Dead!” in large font over the image. This cover and the camera can be viewed in the Newseum’s News Corporation News History gallery in a display on sensationalism.

source: murderpedia.org

source: murderpedia.org

For his image Howard was well paid, and gained a huge amount of popularity overnight. Neither Howard nor the newspaper was ever prosecuted. However after this incident witnesses of similar executions were thoroughly searched to make sure that no one concealed cameras again.

under: Comm 455
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In Peggy McIntosh’s article ‘White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’ she uses a listicle to describe 50 ways she is privileged. From being able to talk with her mouth full (#17), nice neighbors (#4), and even being late ( #39) she matter-a-factly addresses the way she, as white woman, is privileged.  She didn’t write her piece for me, but for people who look like her.

McIntosh is a rarity; it’s refreshing.

When you tell a person they are privileged, the assume you’re talking about money. You hear the ‘ I worked for what I have’ and ‘I didn’t go to an Ivy’ argument a lot when you bring up privilege. The misconception is that privilege equates money, not that privilege is linked to a system, our system. That in itself, is privilege. Interestingly enough, this excerpt was written in the 90s. 16 years into the 2000s you would think we would have progressed and society would have gone through some type of ‘enlightenment’, realizing it’s systematically oppressive ways.


Think again.

The article works because she is pointing out daily situations that a privileged person takes for granted. Simply, but succinctly she breaks it down. The examples are simple, but the understanding where privilege comes from and how it manifests is more difficult.


A few days ago, Wendy Bell, a former anchor at Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV started trending. It wasn’t because she broke a news story, or made it into a Buzzfeed ‘best TV bloopers’, but because she was fired. She broke one of the cardinal rules of journalism —stick to the facts. Not only did she ignore a basic industry standard, she extrapolated on a situation to give her *personal* take on a tragic situation.

Often times, broadcast journalists forget that they are public figures. And as a public figure, anything and everything you say is scrutinized. With that being said, being a public figure isn’t an excuse for ignorance. What got her in trouble is a now deleted Facebook post. Surely, she was well-meaning and she’s not a ‘bad person’ but her rhetoric is exactly what McIntosh was inadvertently addressing in her piece.

Bell was referring to a shooting that left five people and an unborn child dead at a backyard cookout. An unknown shooter was still on the run when Bell posted this:

“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. … They are young black men, likely in their teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested.”

Problematic is putting it nicely.

She ended her Facebook post by juxtaposing the above with a story of a “young, African American teen hustling like nobody’s business” referring to him as hope and ending with an encouraging ‘He’s going to Make it.’

She later redacted the post, until eventually taking it down and issuing an apology.

It read in part: ‘I now understand that some of the words I chose were insensitive and could be viewed as racist. I regret offending anyone. I’m truly sorry.”

Here in part lies the problem, Bell and people like her don’t understand what racism or systematic oppression is. They don’t understand  #30 on McIntoshs list ( If I declare there is  a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.) and they don’t understand that even being able to discuss ‘race issues’ and not have repercussions is a privilege.

Bell inserted her opinion as the facts, she assumed that the gunman was black. She perpetuated every black stereotype by asserting that they have siblings from multiple fathers and their mother’s work multiple jobs.

Bell ignores her privilege, the privilege of only having to have one job.

Damon Young, in his article for ‘The Root’ and Wendy Bell’s firing, talks about the obliviousness that white people have towards their privilege. The same unawareness that lead McIntosh to write 50 ways that people experience privilege and largely are unaware of it.

What caught us both was the amount of people who thought Bell did nothing wrong. That was she said was right and honest and in no way constituted even a slight reprimand.

‘They don’t want to admit that this privilege is so ingrained in America’s zeitgeist, so specifically American, that challenging it feels insulting—threatening, even—to them. They don’t realize that the incredulousness felt when forced to acknowledge the presence of privilege is actually proof of its existence.’

This brings me back to the quote at the top of McIntosh’s article. It reads —

“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group”

Similarly, Bell sympathizers argue that because her ignorance wasn’t intentional, the ‘racism card’  becomes invalid. Because she wasn’t being ‘mean’ her hands are clean, she is able to be #30 with her whiteness as her credibility.

under: Comm 455, Local news
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The Kawaraban emerged during the Edo period of Japan (1603-1867). This was a time in which Japan was in a period of peace, political stability under military dictatorship (shogunate), and economic growth.

Though this sounds like it was already a great and smooth sailing time for Japan, being under the dictatorship of the shogunate had to have prompted some kind of small rebellion from citizens. This little “rebellion” was the Kawaraban.

Photo courtesy of edoflourishing.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of edoflourishing.blogspot.com

The Kawaraban was a printed paper that reported to Japanese citizens newsworthy events such as: natural disasters, superstitious happenings, murders, and occasionally, political satire. The Kawaraban was printed in large quantities on cheap papers to keep costs down, and they were meant for shirt-term enjoyment. It was a commercially sold paper, published anonymously, and illegally published without government organization. What is interesting about this particular historical paper, is that it’s news was mostly done in illustrations and small pieces of writing. Typically, it was distributed as a ‘broadside’, just a sheet of paper with only one side.

During this period, the shogunate repeatedly tried to restrict printing for a mass audience, mostly aimed in an attempt to avoid rumors an political commentary. However, the system of restriction could not keep up with the number of prints spreading like wildfire in both rural and urban areas.

Remember those shows and movies where a character would stand at the side of the road next to a stack of papers holding a sheet yelling, “Extra, extra, read all about it”? This is pretty similar to how the Kawaraban was distributed back in the day. They were called “kawaraban uri”, which translate directly to “vendor of a kawaraban”.

Photo courtesy of edoflourishing.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of edoflourishing.blogspot.com

There are jokes that vendors would make their living through selling Kawaraban just as the old newsboys did. He would stand at the side of the road or street with a a cloth or bandana tied around his head, a “hapi” coat draped through his arms, holding a withdrawn fan or chopstick to hit the paper he was holding to draw attention.

It’s amazing how with such prolific vendors of the Kawaraban, the government had such a hard time restricting the print! The cause though must be that the public was so curious and the need for news and entertainment was so strong, that the anonymous writers and distributors found a way around the system  in order to continue distributions.

under: Comm 455
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Newsflash for those of us who conceive of organic products as coming from the independently managed wholesome uncle John’s farm down the road.

Apparently, for the most part, this could not be farther from the truth.

Food conglomerates are jumping on the organic food trend now that it has been deemed no longer just a fad. People want natural organic whole some food, with millennials especially showing interest, according to the Wall Street Journal.

… And don’t think that General Mills has not noticed. The majority of your beloved natural, organic and relatable brands are being bought up at amazing speeds by larger organizations such as General Mills, Hershey, PepsiCo, NestleSA and WhiteWave Foods, to name a few.

In addition, it may come as no surprise to somethat many of the brands that are known for selling a handful of organic products are, for the most part not organic at all. In fact, many of these brand owners are “traditional food processing companies with recent forays into organic brands”.

So it comes as no surprise  that these acquisitions tend to be kept rather quiet by the large food processing corporations.

WhiteWave Foods recently acquired Earthbound Farms, giving it the largest market share value in the organic food industry at 4.2%. General Mills however, owns the most number of organic  companies, however still pales in comparison and with regards to WhiteWave Food’s 4.2%.

This may or may not come as a bit of surprise considering that the term “organic”  is government certified.


So consumers with a strong interest in strictly organic diets and supporting organic food production may want to beware of blindly trusting their food labels. Do your research –even more so when it comes to items deemed all “natural” –as according to food market analyst, Phil Lempert, there is currently no legal definition for such term, giving manufacturers wide wiggle room in terms of ingredients.image

under: Comm 455

The year is 1917 when the tide of war brings the United States of America into WWI. After the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat in 1915 and the interception of the Zimmermann telegram, President Woodrow Wilson declares war against Germany and plunges America into war.Comanche_Code_Talkers

During the U.S. war campaign, the Germans were quick to adapt and began deciphering communications between the allies. Faced with a comprise in communication, a company commander in the 36th regiment found a solution to this setback among his men. Overhearing two soldiers speaking in Choctaw, the commander quickly rushed them to his superiors to showcase his findings.

With the Choctaw language virtually unknown to Germans, Choctaw soldiers were dispersed among fields company headquarters to combat the German code breakers. These native Choctaw speakers first began operation on Oct. 26, 1918 in the aid of two companies withdrawing from the front.

Succeeding with remarkable results in the withdrawal, the Choctaw code speakers provided support in two military offensives taking place at a German position called Forest Ferme.

[Lacking the words for certain modern-day military terms, they used “big gun” for artillery, “little gun shoot fast” for machine gun, “stone” for grenade and “scalps” for casualties, among other substitutions, thereby becoming true code talkers rather than simply communications operators speaking a little-known language. ]


The Choctaw soldiers were not the only Native American code speakers among the U.S. military ranks, but were some of the most recognized and would serve an essential influence on the roles of Native American speakers in the second World War to come.



under: Comm 455
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… ok not really, but there are a few new technologies that have emergergered recently that automate news writing and delivery.


1- In China, a new channel is using Microsoft artificial intelligence to all to anchors and deliver weather forecasts.


This is interesting because in the future this could remove weather anchors like Al Roker.


2- Computer programs are writing some Associated Press stories

While the software was used to report on some business stories, this does not mean that repairs jobs will go away. Robots are not able to generate opinions or even formulate interview questions.


Both of these examples show that fact base news is very easy to cover. Subjects like weather and business are very easy to report on because they are just numbers. However, for a story where the reporter has to formulate and discuss opinions, like politics, are difficult for robots to report on.

under: Comm 455, Local news
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Word of mouth is an important aspect of journalism. It is what began the sharing of information from person to person and is still used for that same purpose today. But with the growth of technology and social media, word of mouth has dramatically transformed.

There are now various platforms in which information is shared, and this is not solely limited to print newspapers and magazines.

download (1)


The internet is blossoming with numerous platforms for people to share information. Along with social media and blogging websites, platforms such as The Odyssey, HerCampus, Elite Daily and other media content hubs mainly geared towards millennials allow for individuals to use their voice and unique perspectives to spread knowledge and information. This is much like the messengers who were assigned to spread information by word of mouth back in day when they would have their own unique flare in their storytelling.



While some of these content driven platforms do raise questions of credibility since almost anyone can write and submit to these websites, it begs of the question of: in today’s age, is everyone a journalist? 

I think the answer to this question is kind of.

I do not think that just because you write a blurb and post it online that you instantly become a journalist. However, because information can be spread in so many different ways, everyone at some point in their lives becomes a source for content and spreads it in some way. Someone could tweet about attack they witnessed (or just retweet it). Someone could write a blog post about their personal experience with sexual assault. Someone’s video of a presidential rally could go viral within minutes. An article about an incident can be shared on your facebook wall. The possibilities are endless.

We are all walking media content hubs at this point and if we are smart about it, that can be used to our advantage. We can use our unique perspectives and personal experiences to add depth to the conversation. Our voices are very powerful and are being heard, so let’s use them wisely.

Our developing word of mouth is what is and will continue to transform journalism and create some great journalists in the process.

under: Comm 455
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As distribution systems have evolved over the last few centuries, journalism has been forced to evolve as well. Over time the shift in these systems have had both positive and negative effects on journalism over time.

Distribution systems have always had an impact on journalism. In the early days of the printing press, before movable type, printing was a modest means of distribution, but not powerful enough to make mass production either affordable or useful.

With the development of movable type came an increase in distribution as the system became more efficient and less expensive. The result was the spread of information like Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in ways that were impossible before this new system had been implemented.

Digital versions as well as the front page of the print edition available at nytimes.com

Digital versions as well as the front page of the print edition available at nytimes.com

Today we see the most obvious effects of a change in distribution systems in the amount of newspapers that have been forced to close due to lack of print circulation. Papers like the Baltimore Examiner, Kentucky Post, and Tuscon Citizen have all gone under during the shift from a print only distribution system to a print and digital system.

This shift in distribution systems has changed not only newspaper companies themselves, but also consumers. As the digital platform gained popularity, news consumers became accustomed to being able to read breaking news stories immediately whereas print newspapers could only report on what had happened before the time they were sent to presses.

Print is still the most popular platform (PRC)

Print is still the most popular platform (PRC)

The shift to digital media also came with new sources of news. Newspapers were not the only entities now beginning to publish content online, as many other media companies, as well as individuals on social media also were able to use the digital platform. Newspapers were not prepared for this increased competition, as well as giving away content for free as many unofficial news sites like Twitter can.

That being said, the rise of the digital platform has not wiped out the print distribution system or the appeal of print news for that matter. In fact, as the chart to the right shows, most news consumers still heavily use the print format.

This combination between print and online content has become the feature of many news companies like the Washington Post, New York Times, and USA Today. The next shift in journalism is hard to imagine, but if it is anything like movable type shift or the digital medium shift, it should be an incredibly interesting time to be a journalist.





under: Comm 455
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There are essential elements that make up every good news story.

News stories answer the: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Most news readers are aware of these six questions and look for the answers early in the article.  If an article is structured correctly, a reader should be able to find these answers right in the lede or the first two paragraphs.

(Courtesy of www.Tes.com)

(Courtesy of www.Tes.com)

Although, there many other values that contribute to the definition of news. Gerald Lanson and Mitchell Stephens, authors of Writing and Reporting The News, emphasize eleven judgments that journalism students should make when evaluating newsworthiness.

The facts and events have a great effect on the audience that are most newsworthy.  This would define the impact the story has on the reader.  Weight of the event or facts in the article have significance in its value. The arguments, debates, charges, counter charges and fights increase the value of controversy in the news. Emotion is great to have in a piece because it takes into account the human interest that touches the reader’s feelings. The unusual always catches a reader’s eye- using the old journalistic cliche- if a dog bites a man, it isn’t news.  But when a man bites a dog, it is news.

Prominence plays a factor into good news stories because more prominent individuals are given more attention.  Proximity of the piece gives us news that is of local interest.  The more people can relate to it, for example if it is close to home, the better. Timeliness is key, news emphasizes on what is new.  The stories being published must be relevant. The reporter must take into account what is on people’s minds, also known as currency. The article can also answer questions on the reader’s mind and help them solve problems in their daily lives.  It must be useful.

Lastly, the article must have educational value; making the reader more knowledgeable about the topic then they were before reading the article.


under: Comm 455
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On Nov. 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Around 68% of Americans learned about the assassination within 30 minutes. This estimate is mentioned by Mitchell Stephens in the chronology of his book A History of News. Stephens also emphasized that there was nonstop coverage by television of Lee Harvey Oswald who was accused. There is no denying that the JFK assassination completely transformed media coverage.

Official photographic portrait of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1961-1963) by Fabian Bachrach, Bachrach Studios.

(source: jfklibrary.org)

It is interesting to analyze the effect of the media throughout the life of JFK and after his death. Going back to September 26, 1960 there was the first televised debate. The debate between Kennedy and Richard Nixon portrayed the power that television can have. It has been estimated that around 74 million people tuned in to watch the debate that night. After winning the election Kennedy stated, “It was the TV more than anything else that turned the tide.” Fast forward to 1963 his assassination would change television reported breaking news stories, and it would set new standards. Tierney Sneed reporter for U.S. News & World Report in an article portrayed just how extensive the coverage actually was. She stated,

“Not only did news of Kennedy’s death reach Americans quickly via their TV screens, it stayed there for the days to come…The Big Three broadcast much of their assassination coverage without commercials. By Mayo’s count, CBS clocked in with 55 total hours, ABC played 60 hours and NBC – airing an all-night vigil from the Capitol Rotunda on Sunday – broadcast 71 hours of coverage that weekend.”

In an article written by Jon Herskovitz for Reuters, he explained the significance of the reporting. There wouldn’t be this much live coverage of news events until the September 11, 2011 attacks. 9 percent of households in the U.S. had televisions, whereas in 1960 it had gone up to a staggering 90 percent. In his article Herskovitz reported,

“”The Kennedy assassination became the template for coverage,” said Bob Schieffer, who 50 years ago covered the event for the Fort Worth Star Telegram and is now a veteran broadcaster with CBS…”This is when America became a TV nation,” said Patty Rhule, a senior manager of exhibits at the Newseum, a museum for the news industry in Washington…”The fact that the tragedy was brought live into people’s houses made for compelling viewing, no matter where you were,” said Gary Mack, curator of The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas…”

The JFK assassination has been written about in at least a hundred different books and publications. It is regarded by many as one of the most controversial cases in modern American history.


under: Comm 455
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He said, she said

Posted by: | April 4, 2016 | No Comment |

Everyone tells stories. Whether we are telling a friend about what we saw on our morning commute or sharing an old family story that is passed down through the generations we all take part in storytelling. By definition storytelling is “the telling or writing of stories;” and the definition of a story is “a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader.” Both of these definitions are very broad and that allows all people to be considered a storyteller.



Social media has become a large contributor of storytelling. Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram captions allow for anyone with an account to tell all of their friends and followers stories of what is going on in their lives. Hashtags are make it easy to find interesting stories about a plethora of things. Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show did a series of segments on his show where he asked viewers to tweet using certain hashtags such as #WeddingFails and #OneTimeInClass. These segments are incredibly hilarious and they are extremely relatable.



Twitter is definitely not the only media platform that allows for people to tell stories. Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, and Youtube all allow for storytelling to thrive. Tumblr and Youtube both are great platforms for storytelling. Tumblr, a blogging website, allows for people to share stories, pictures, gifs, and videos with a large audience which often results in a story being spread to a large amount of people. Tumblr posts fall under many different categories; they can be humorous, awkward, happy, sad, angry, or any other emotion that the blogger wants. Youtube allows for an even larger audience to take part in storytelling as either the storyteller or the audience. Professional storytellers can share their stories as small animated or live action videos draw in the attention of viewers. Anyone with access to a computer and internet can go onto Youtube and find just about any story that they want to hear.

under: Comm 455, social media
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