When the Press Stepped in to Silence the Lies of a Nazi-Sympathizing Priest in 1938

Broadcasters silenced Father Charles Coughlin in 1938, just as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook Trump’s incitements. Introduction In speeches filled with hatred and falsehoods, a public figure attacks his enemies and calls for marches on Washington. Then, after one particularly virulent address, private media companies close down his channels of communication, prompting consternation from his supporters[…]

Readers of the Local Press in Victorian England

Starting from the reader rather than the text allows a new picture of nineteenth-century reading to emerge. Overview If we want to read periodicals because they were what the Victorians read, the work that must be done to bring them to life suggests they are not quite what they were.[1] James Mussell As Mussell’s epigram[…]

What Today’s News Has in Common with Early Execution Ballads

Violence, corruption, and murder dominate our modern headlines, Little has changed since execution ballads in sixteenth-century Europe. By Lisa Needham Introduction Since the start of 2020, it’s felt like the news has lurched from one catastrophic disaster to another. First came Australia’s devastating bushfires that ripped through the country, swiftly followed by a deadly global[…]

“Jitterbugs” and “Crack-pots”: Responses in 1938 to “War of the Worlds”

Of the 1,770 people who wrote to the main CBS station about the broadcast, 1,086 were complimentary. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. From the Meridian Room in the Park Plaza in New York City, we bring you the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra.” The sounds of “La Cumparsita” began to fill the airwaves.[…]

Remote Learning during the 1937 Polio Epidemic

In Chicago’s 1937 ‘radio school’ experiment, technology filled the gap during a crisis. Introduction A UNICEF survey found that 94% of countries implemented some form of remote learning when COVID-19 closed schools last spring, including in the United States. This is not the first time education has been disrupted in the U.S. – nor the first time[…]

The First Commercial Radio Broadcast of Election Results in 1920

With the advent of radio, the ability of politicians to engage and entertain became crucial components of their candidacies. Introduction Only 100 people were listening, but the first broadcast from a licensed radio station occurred at 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, 1920. It was Pittsburgh’s KDKA, and the station was broadcasting the results of that[…]

How the New York Media Covered the Stonewall Riots

The coverage of Stonewall is a reminder of what’s lost when alternative media outlets wither away. Introduction The Stonewall riots were a six-night series of protests that began in the early morning of June 28, 1969, and centered around the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Four days earlier, on June 24,[…]

How the Media Covered the Children’s March in the Civil Rights Movement

Not only was the children’s march relegated to lesser news, it was delivered without many pictures. Images of young black protesters being hit with fire hoses and police dogs in 1963 Birmingham are considered iconic. Hank Klibanoff saw them too. He was a fourteen year old paperboy in Florence when the Children’s march took place.[…]

An Ancient Roman Legacy in the Age-Old Art of Propaganda

Propaganda tactics are timeless. While the game has moved on since the time of Augustus, the rules remain the same. Until the reign of Augustus, no one in Rome had come close to creating a personality cult.  A striking image, a catchy phrase, shocking material – these are the bread and butter of propaganda. It[…]

5 Effective Tips to Improve Your Science Writing Skills

Whether you are into writing and need polishing your style, or you are a newbie trying to survive in the world of academic rules and standards, this article is definitely for you. We have examined the most common mistakes students make and outlined the 5 effective tips to boost your writing skills today. Check them[…]

Did William Randolph Hearst Really Manipulate News to Spin Up a War?

“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”. In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be[…]

The Founders and Cries of ‘Fake News’

George Washington tired of those he called “infamous scribblers”. By Harlow Giles Unger “American Nation Debauched by WASHINGTON!” screamed a newspaper headline before charging the Father of Our Country with “the foulest designs against the liberties of a people.”  President Donald Trump would call it “fake News” and George Washington most certainly would agree.  After[…]

VP Spiro Agnew’s War on the Press during the Nixon Administration

When Vice President Spiro Agnew gave a speech in 1969 bashing the press, he fired some of the first shots in a culture war that persists to this day. Introduction Americans witnessed an unprecedented event 50 years ago: live television coverage on all three national networks of a speech by the vice president of the[…]

I.F. “Izzy” Stone: The Lessons of a Courageous 20th-Century Journalist

Remembering what one of last century’s most courageous Jewish journalists taught us. By Peter Dreier In this era of Donald Trump—with its widespread corruption and abuse of power—the world of journalism could use the voice of I.F. Stone, one of America’s greatest muckraking reporters, who died 30 years ago today at 81 on June 18,[…]

The Unlikely Journalist Who Dethroned America’s Robber Barons

Thanks to Ida Tarbell, we’re not to afraid to expose the shenanigans of the super-rich. Over the last few years, the idea of “the one percent” has become a popular way to discuss the gap between the fantastically wealthy—the one percent of Americans who control more than 20 percent of the country’s wealth—and the rest[…]

“Nancy Grows Up,” the Media Age, and the Historian’s Craft

If, as historians, we took such a turn, we could open up new horizons for historical scholarship. The Challenge of “Nancy Grows Up” It begins with anxious crying. The plaintive sound only lasts a few moments before the screams drop into a slightly lower register and transform into a calm murmur. The sound repeats, then[…]

Think The Press Is Partisan? It Was Much Worse for Our Founding Fathers

A scheming and salacious newspaper reporter targeted Hamilton and Jefferson – and nearly ruined them. It is a common complaint that the drive for traffic at news sites in the digital age has debased our political dialogue, turning a responsible press into a media scramble for salacious sound bites. But partisanship and scandal-mongering go way[…]

Sitting on a Scoop: The Story behind the V-E Headlines of May 1945

As we commemorate Memorial Day, the drama behind the headlines announcing Germany’s surrender in World War II. There’s quite a story behind the story of the end of the fighting in World War II in Europe. As we observe another Memorial Day, it is worth remembering the events of that busy May of 1945, when[…]

What Would Thoreau Think of Our 24-Hour News Cycle?

He believed that faster news meant diminished quality. According to a recently released Pew Center survey, almost seven in ten Americans feel worn out by the amount of news that’s generated each day. Henry David Thoreau complained of much the same thing in Walden, his celebrated account of a two-year experiment in simple living that[…]