Thomas Jefferson and the Free Press

Jefferson’s faith in free presses was ultimately faith in the people with a moral sensibility sufficient to be a check on abusive government. By Dr. Mark Andrew Holowchak / 09.15.2018 Professor of Philosophy University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Perhaps not unlike other prominent politicians of his time, Thomas Jefferson had an ambivalent relationship with[…]

When Journalists Unintentionally Normalized Fascists

Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in Munich, Germany. National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958 In the 1920s and early 1930s, American journalists tended to put the ascendant fascists on a normal footing. By Dr. John Broich / 12.11.2016 Associate Professor of British History Case Western Reserve University How to report on[…]

How Woodrow Wilson’s Propaganda Machine Changed American Journalism

The censorship board. George Creel is seated at far right. Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress An executive order signed in 1917 created what’s been called ‘the nation’s first ministry of information.’ The media are still feeling its impact. By Dr. Christopher B. Daly / 04.27.2017 Professor of Journalism Boston University When the United States declared[…]

Media and Culture

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.03.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Pop Culture Mania Figure 1.1: Just as fans could purchase Jerry Lind hats, Beatles fans could purchase Beatle wigs. / Paul Townsend – 1960s Beatlemania Fashion In 1850, an epidemic swept America—but instead of leaving victims sick with fever or flu, this epidemic involved a rabid craze[…]

Censorship and Freedom of the Press in the Early Modern Period

Illustration showing a printing press designed in 1850 by Hippolyte Marinoni and called L’Universelle (the Universal) / Public Domain By Dr. Jürgen Wilke / 05.08.2013 Professor of Journalism and Communications Johannes Gutenberg University Introduction Censorship as a means of controlling communication has existed since classical antiquity. However, it became significantly more important in the early modern period[…]

Early 18th-Century European ‘Spectators’, or ‘Moral Weeklies’

Combined image of Beer Street and Gin Lane, by William Hogarth / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Klaus-Dieter Ertler / 06.28.2012 Institute for Romance Studies University of Graz Introduction The early eighteenth century witnessed the birth in England of the “Spectators”, a journalistic and literary genre that developed in the wake of the Glorious Revolution (1688). Beginning in 1709[…]

The Magazine that Inspired Rolling Stone

‘When you look back on it, where else would those articles appear? The Saturday Evening Post?’ Nick Lehr/The Conversation via flickr, CC BY-SA By Dr. Peter Richardson / 11.08.2017 Coordinator, American Studies San Francisco State University The 50th anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine has arrived, and not without fanfare. Joe Hagan’s biography of co-founder Jann Wenner appeared in October[…]

Betwixt Nature and God Dwelt the Medieval ‘Preternatural’

Telling-tales; a comet above Augsburg in 1618. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Laura Bland / 10.30.2017 Visiting Assistant Professor in Medieval Studies University of Houston After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the American pastor John Hagee became notorious for blaming the devastating storm on the ‘sins’ of the people of New Orleans. The outcry forced him[…]

Press Attacks during the Administration of George Washington

At the time of his inauguration, George Washington was described in almost universally glorified terms by the national presses. However, by the end of the President’s first term, hostile newspaper writers were attacking the administration’s domestic and foreign policy. These attacks escalated in Washington’s second term into personal attacks questioning his integrity, republican principles, and even military[…]

Techniques of a 19th-Century Fake News Reporter Teach Us Why We Fall for It Today

German journalist and novelist Theodor Fontane. Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Petra S. McGillen / 04.05.2017 Assistant Professor of German Studies Dartmouth College Donald Trump appears to have a straightforward definition of fake news: Stories that are critical of him or his presidency are “fake,” while those that praise him are “real.” On the surface, the[…]

The Challenge Facing Libraries in an Era of Fake News

How can students think critically about information in today’s age? UBC Library Communications/flickr By Donald A. Barclay / 01.04.2017 Deputy University Librarian University of California, Merced Imagine, for a moment, the technology of 2017 had existed on Jan. 11, 1964 – the day Luther Terry, surgeon general of the United States, released “Smoking and Health:[…]

“They Don’t Give a Damn about Governing” Conservative Media’s Influence on the Republican Party

By Jackie Calmes / 07.27.2015 A paper by Jackie Calmes, Joan Shorenstein Fellow (Spring 2015) and national correspondent for The New York Times, examines the increasing influence of conservative media on the Republican Party’s agenda. Calmes traces the history of conservative media, from its founding after World War II to the present-day proliferation of talk[…]

News Coverage of the 2016 General Election: How the Press Failed the Voters

By Dr. Thomas E. Patterson / 12.07.2016 Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press Harvard University A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzes news coverage during the 2016 general election, and concludes that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump received coverage that was overwhelmingly negative in[…]

Misinformation on Social Media: Can Technology Save Us?

Sharing election hashtags: Dots are Twitter accounts; lines show retweeting; larger dots are retweeted more. Red dots are likely bots; blue ones are likely humans. / Clayton Davis By Dr. Filippo Menczer / 11.27.2016 Professor of Computer Science and Informatics Director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research Indiana University, Bloomington If you[…]

O Canada, Why?! Over Half a Dozen Journalists Revealed to be Monitored by Police 11.04.2016 On Wednesday, a scandal involving police monitoring of a Quebec journalist expanded after police confirmed that at least six other members of the press have been spied on in recent years. The scandal began Monday, when Montreal newspaper La Presse reported that Patrick Lagace, one of the paper’s columnists, had been repeatedly made the[…]

Calling for Prosecution of Its Own Source, Washington Post Slammed for ‘Towering Cowardice’

(Image: ACLU/with overlay) Prominent newspaper received for reporting on NSA programs leaked by Edward Snowden — Now they want him locked him away for it By Jon Queally / 09.18.2016 Shocked by the “towering cowardice” of the Washington Post‘s Sunday editorial calling for Edward Snowden to be prosecuted, journalist Glenn Greenwald led the charge against[…]

Verdict: Lauer Was Lousy in Moderating NBC ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Forum

By Joe Gandelman / 09.08.2016 The Moderate Voice Editor-in-Chief The verdict is most assuredly in: NBC’s Matt Loauer was Matt Lousy as the moderator in Wednesday night’s NBC “Commander-in-Chief Forum.” It featured Lauer interviewing Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The reaction from most professional journalists was a combination of[…]

Social Media is Changing Our Digital News Habits – But to Varying Degrees in US and UK

Same news, different medium? Elvin   By Dr. David Levy (left) and Dr. Damian Radcliffe (right) / 06.14.2016 Levy:  Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford Radcliffe:  Professor of Journalism, University of Oregon Digital technology has dramatically reshaped the news and media industries in the past decade. We’ve left[…]

Couric Destroys Own Credibility in 8 Seconds

The question, and then the non-existent pause By Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.05.2016 Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Former CBS news anchor and current Yahoo “Global News Anchor” Katie Couric recently produced a documentary, “Under the Gun”, about gun violence and control in the United States. It was admittedly a POV (point-of-view) documentary, and that’s fine.  What is[…]