Bean Press: How to Consume News While Maintaining Your Sanity

The daily deluge of information produced by the news media can drown consumers in confusion and anxiety. Introduction The amount and variety of news produced today often tests people’s ability to determine its value and veracity. Such a torrent of information threatens to drown news consumers in a river of confusion. Media coverage of the coronavirus, for[…]

Education and Communication versus Propaganda and Manufactured Consent

America’s public sphere is broken because propaganda has replaced political communication. Introduction The U.S. is in an information war with itself. The public sphere, where Americans discuss public issues, is broken. There’s little discussion – and lots of fighting. One reason why: Persuasion is difficult, slow and time-consuming – it doesn’t make good television or social media content[…]

Bean Press: The Value of Local Newspapers and Local Issues

The best op-ed pages operate like a town square, allowing readers to discuss and debate issues important to their communities. By Dr. Johanna DunawayAssociate Professor of CommunicationTexas A&M University By Dr. Joshua P. DarrAssistant Professor of Political CommunicationLouisiana State University By Dr. Matthew P. HittAssistant Professor of Political ScienceColorado State University Introduction If you’re confused[…]

‘Newsies’: American Newsboys during the Great War and the Flu Pandemic

Movies and songs about newsboys proliferated during the period. By Dr. Vincent DiGirolamoAssociate Professor of HistoryBaruch CollegeCity University of New York (CUNY) World War I presented new opportunities to honor newsboys, particularly those who joined the armed forces. The Boston Globe made a minor celebrity of Fifekey Bernstein, the first Boston newsboy to enlist in the war.[…]

Bias: Journalism’s Longstanding Achilles’ Hell since the 19th Century

The accusation of bias is like kryptonite for responsible news organizations. Introduction When the Associated Press fired Emily Wilder for violating its social media policy, it caused a firestorm in the media industry. Critics noted that the firing came only days after GOP activists called her biased, re-animating an ongoing debate about how responsible news organizations should deal with[…]

Elijah Lovejoy Faced Down Violent Mobs to Champion Abolition and Press Freedom in 1837

Lovejoy belonged to a small fraternity of editor who used their printing presses in the decades before the Civil War to call for an end to chattel slavery. By Ken EllingwoodFormer Staff WriterLos Angeles Times It was gratifying that Rep. Jamie Raskin would invoke an obscure 19th century newspaper editor while laying out the impeachment[…]

A History of American Journalism in the 20th Century

In the quest for increased readership, newspaper editors began to publish sensational headlines and lurid stories. By Dr. Rick MusserProfessor Emeritus of JournalismUniversity of Kansas Introduction This article focuses on American journalism from 1900-1999. Although history does not often compartmentalize itself into convenient pieces, this focuses on the 10 decades as if each 10 years[…]

A History of Journalism since the 16th Century

In 1556, the government of Venice first published the monthly Notizie scritte (“Written notices”), which cost one gazzetta. Introduction The history of journalism spans the growth of technology and trade, marked by the advent of specialized techniques for gathering and disseminating information on a regular basis that has caused, as one history of journalism surmises, the steady increase of[…]

Digital Culture and Social Media

How evolving information and communication technologies (ICTs) can influence the mass media and contribute to social and cultural change in the process. By Dr. Mark PoepselAssociate Professor of JournalismSouthern Illinois University Origin in Anarchy “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have[…]

Media, Society, Culture, and You

Defining media, society, culture, and communication broadly. By Dr. Mark PoepselAssociate Professor of JournalismSouthern Illinois University The Role of Mass Media in Society “Society not only continues to exist by transmission, by communication, but it may fairly be said to exist in transmission, in communication.” John Dewey in Democracy and Education, 1916 More than one hundred years[…]

A History of Advertising, Public Relations, and Propaganda

Advertising has always been about tapping into consumers’ existing needs or about creating a need and inserting a product to fill it. By Dr. Mark PoepselAssociate Professor of JournalismSouthern Illinois University Introduction “What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.” Don Draper, fictional advertising executive from the AMC series Mad Men Advertising[…]

History and Development of Radio Broadcasting, Podcasting, and ‘Superbug Media’

These new technologies made it possible to influence the public opinion of whole populations at once. By Dr. Mark PoepselAssociate Professor of JournalismSouthern Illinois University Introduction “We thought we were doing this little experiment, and it became this huge thing.” Sarah Koenig, host and co-producer of the Serial podcast The Serial podcast is a true crime drama that calls[…]

Propaganda and the American Public during World War II

Despite his reservations about the dangers of propaganda, President Roosevelt created the Office of War Information (OWI) in 1942. Introduction For most Americans today, the term propaganda brings to mind lies, brainwashing, and tyranny. Yet, like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the United States saw a great increase in the use of political messaging[…]

John Adams and ‘Fake News’ in Early America

“Fake news” and disinformation have been part of the conversation as far back as the birth of the free press. In the margins of his copy of Condorcet’s treatise Outlines of an Historical View of the Progress of the Human Mind, President John Adams scribbled a cutting note. Writing in the section where the French philosopher predicted that[…]

A History of the Broadcast Fairness Doctrine in the United States

The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. Introduction The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so[…]

Reading Times for Newspapers and Periodicals in Victorian England

Time, like place, is socially constructed rather than ‘natural’, and so one might expect ideas of time to be influenced by cultural change. Introduction Time is part of the very name of ‘newspaper’, with its promise of something new, and of ‘periodical’, suggesting something published at regular intervals. Time is also part of their nature,[…]

Reading Places for Newspapers and Periodicals in Victorian England

These reading places confirmed the centrality of periodical print to Victorian culture. Introduction We need to know where the local newspaper was read to understand how it was read, because the same texts take on different meanings in different places.[1] The same report of a Preston football victory over Blackburn has opposite meanings, of success[…]

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[…]