Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Prestigious Source in News and Information

As we all may know, the New York Times has reached milestones in distributing reliable and resourceful information. Micheal Schudson's "The New Journalism" captures a very interesting theory on which kind of readers the Times may attract during the 19th century. He questions if its high status is a result of its respectability or because of the kind of readers it attracts. I believe both go hand in hand. Today, readers that are of a prominent position in work in our society, such as lawyers, doctors, professors, and especially businessmen gravitate mostly toward reading the times than any other newspapers. As a result, a decent assumption have been made by noting that high culture outranks popular culture in relationship to sales of this particular newspaper. The information that has been mounted, the details specified and the style of writing contributes to its respectability of course, but one can determine that high scholars are noted be great participants in its success by reading it on a daily basis.

I Make A Crime Wave

"Every now and then there occurs the phenomenon called a crime wave. And they sweep over the public and nearly drown the lawyers, judges, preachers, and other leading citizens who feel that they must explain and cure these extraordinary outbreaks of lawlessness." (Steffens 285) First, in this article you have to consider the various newspapers and circulation wars taking places in newspapers in 1895. The reason for the crime wave occuring at this time was not an increase in crime just the increased reporting of crimes that have already taken place. Another fact is that "The public's perception of the crime rate, based in part on the amount of media coverage has important political implications." An example in the article is when Teddy Roosevelt removes Superintendant of the detectives in New York, Byrnes because he dealt with professional criminals. (Steffens 288) It was not until Chief Detective Parker told Roosevelt to talk to Riis and Steffens two reporters who started the crime wave. Parker explained that, there was no increase in crime at all; actually there was a decrease at the time and if it wasn't for the increased reports of crime in the newspapers there would not have been a crime wave occuring.
This article is interesting because it shows the power of the press and newspapers during this time in New York City's history. A time when the power of the press and the articles that it communicated to its readers influenced political, criminal, and other activities taking place in the city.

Starr Chp 6 Technology of Civil Society

"From 1894 to 1907, wide open competition at the turn of the century set in motion the expanded adoption and use of telephones,..." (Starr 204) Due to the emergence of the competitive market at this time, the rivalry between Bell and the independent phone companies had become extremely cutthroat. Independent phone companies started developing in rural areas for the first time. They provided cheaper prices and other services. Unforturnately, they faced numerous problems such as long-distance services, shortages of capital, and they were poorly organized compared to Bell's service. These companies also had dual service in some areas and their main purpose was to undermine Bell's service. The main reason Bell was so successful besides its patents was that it "was able to use its political influence and financial clout to prevent its rivals from gaining a foothold in New York, Boston, and Chicago. The failure of independent phone systems to penetrate these centers was a serious handicap...".(Starr 205) Unfortunately, for Bell's phone company his patents and long distance service were unbeatable and still stand at the forefront of communications today.


According to The New Journalism by Michael Schudson, "Information" is a novel form of communication, a product of fully developed capitalism, whose distinguishing characteristic is that it "lays claim to prompt verifiability"

My opinion about this quote is that information is the way that people communicate to each other. It also states that communication is used by the rich to control production and distributiton that are privately owned by the wealthy class. This quote also means that information received from people doesn't give the truth.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Satiating Innovation

Though the telegraph had an outstanding effect on technological success, inventors during the 19th century believed that there was room for further innovations. Hence, they produced a significant source that was the cutting-edge of technology; the telephone. Starr mentions the impact that this technology had on society. After the end of Bell's monopoly, it brought about the expansion of telephone companies producing a wide-ranging connection throughout and between local and rural areas; "The role of cooperative institutions underscores a key point about the expansion of telephone service at the turn of the century. While competition was crucial to the process, the development was a phenomenon not just of the market place but also of civil society" (Starr, p.203). The telephone had become a business connecting a businessman's home and his office (due to private lines) and simultaneously linking rural communities, which became a heavy or "desirable" demand. The telephone at this point in time was beneficial to all sorts of entities within society, whether it satisfied businesses or the community.