Thursday, March 05, 2009

Journalism Style= SES & Education

"The New Journalism" talked about two styles of journalism: fact-based and entertainment-based. Each style became associated with social class. The educated middle class seemed to prefer the information/fact style of journalism, while the working class seemed to read the entertainment/storytelling style of writing. Joseph Pulitzer took newspaper publishing to a different level. He adapted self-advertisement and larger and darker headlines and also lowered the cost drastically in comparison to his competitors. He also adapted to the changing times by publishing a Sunday paper that included tips for urban survival for new immigrants. In addition, as the cities became rider-based instead of walking-based, newspaper were created to make reading easier for travelers.

Today's newspapers and magazines are still associated with either one of these dominant styles. While some may include a little of both, it is obvious to see which one is the primary focus. For example, "The Daily News" newspaper and "People's" magazines are more entertainment based while "The Times" prides itself on provided all of the news (which is fact-based).

I find it interesting that users choose different types of newspapers and magazines depending upon what type of news theyare interested in reading at the moment. I tend to read the "The Daily News" for local/borough news in addition to music and entertainment news. I read "The Times" when I want to obtain political, financial, and wordly news. My opinion is that these two distinct styles of journalism should not be associated with social economic status but rather with the interests of the reader. I am certain that there are individuals who are educated and wealthy who read entertainment news just as there are working class individuals who read "The Times" and "Time" magazine.

Thank Joseph Pulitzer for your Newspaper!

When you are sitting on  train, bus, taxi, or even sitting in a car while someone else is driving and you find yourself reading the newspaper or see others around you taking in information from their paper in front of them now did you ever think how did this newspaper come about so easily to us? We should thank the man that gave us this luxury. His name is Joseph Pulitzer. Joseph began his career working at a newspaper in St. Louis he was an Austrian jewish immigrant who came to the United States in 1864, little did we know what knowledge he was bringing with him. He became a reporter, publisher, editor, and a business manager. He states, "The fundamental aims of the paper were middle class-to foster the development of St. Louis as a business center and as an attractive place of residence for the average citizen". Meaning that the paper's goal is to be able to reach out to any class whether it is high or low. Everyone should be able to get a hold of the newspaper and to see what exactly is going on in the world. Pulitzer wanted to change the ways of the newspaper, make it better with attracting the eye with basic news gatherings and make it brighter in style. To be more specific would be one major development which was called self-advertising which is the use of illustrations. This included hiring an artist, which lead to cartoons. "Mark the beginning of the modern era of newspaper illustration". Self-advertising also involved making the headlines larger and darker. Later, he came up with the idea of entertainment, just to remind you on Sunday papers, till this day they are still the most entertaining paper of the week. For example, Pulitzer would include civil war news in the Sunday issue, and special editions. 
Geographic Mobility became one of the most important aspects  for the middle class, which was never experienced before. This is the idea that should be thought about everyday. Improved urban transportation for the middle class into the suburbs meant a lot of miles which were being spent doing nothing but waiting to get to your destination. However, thanks to Pulitzer his idea was to reduce the size of the page and increase the size of the font, headlines, and pictures, and most of all the story that catches your eye that would be concentrated throughout the paper. When all was said and done you were able to bring your paper anywhere you wanted you didn't have to worry about it being so big. So, now wherever you are you can enjoy your paper. "From the 1840s , the "lead " had been pushed by the high cost of telegraphic transmission of news; now it was pulled by the abbreviated moments in which newspapers were being read."

Watch What You Say

Today the term pornography as we know it is described as visual sexual content, but the actual definition of pornography refers to any form of writing, drawing, or photography that contains obscene content. The time period known as "The Great Transformation" is the era in which the United states began filtering published content, establishing laws and tariffs esentially prevented publishers as much as possible from corrupting the people of the states with "pornography." A tariff was developed by government officials in 1842 which banned the import of pornography, leaving deviants with the option of jail if they did not abide by the law. The proclamation society established by William Wilberforce sought to improve public manners through church, but was later replaced by the society for the supression of vice.

1898- The Advertiser and the Daily Press

I totally agree with the paragraph in this reading that says "We have not yet hit on the best plan of getting at public opinion. Elections at best tell us only what half the people are thinking; for no party nowadays wins an electoral victory by much over half the voters". When it comes time to vote everyone clearly does not vote, either they just dont care or for other reasons. This is exactly why people get cheated on in the election. The things that are written in the press is often times not the truth, but its what the readers approve to be posted.

Rise in Technology

"In rise of any new medium, a key factor is its relationship to the dominant technology of the day. Since organizations with a large stake in existing technology are likely to try to preserve their investment-into- days idiom, they are reluctant to "cannibalize" their current business-any policies or legal decisions that give them influence over the new medium may retard its introduction"(193).
With every day that passes and as technology becomes more and more advance there's an abundance of new things being made and distributed. Which means there's always a new something trying to replace an old something. There's always a new cell phone device being made, a new mp3 gadget being introduced to the world. These things cause a constant need for improvement from companies to keep up and to keep their business's from falling under. The current owners try to keep all their rights and try to prevent any other creation from out doing what they already have on the market.

Paul Starr, The Creation of the Media 193

Anthony Comstock

For most of his life, Anthony Comstock, was dedicated to the prevention of the spreading of impurity and vice. The majority of Anthony’s time was used in stopping pornographic publishers. Some people felt he was a sneaky meddler, while others gave him respect for his above mentioned dedication. In 1873, the Comstock Act was established. It was an American law which stated that it was “illegal to send any obscene materials through the mail.” The law was named after Anthony. In 1874, in just about a year A. Comstock had confiscated 194,000 indecent pictures and photos and 134,000 pounds of obscene books. A few years before he died Comstock said, “In the forty one years I have been here I have convicted enough people to fill a passenger train of sixty coaches containing sixty passengers each. I have destroyed 160 tons of obscene literature.”

Paladin of Purity
Comstock laws

Comstock was quite concerned with the morals of young people and society. He felt they were endangered by any obscene “book, pamphlet, picture, paper, print or other publication of an indecent character, or any article or thing designed or intended for the prevention of contraception or procuring or abortion”. What is shocking to me is that he really hunted people down like criminals that opposed him. Anthony apparently did all of this for God. I think he was a bit over vigilant, self righteous, and too rigid. He sort of led his own campaign for moral censorship.

Paladin of Purity
Paul Starr, The Creation of the Media, pg. 243

Path for the Telephone

Through out my reading of chapter 6 I found the history of the telphone to be interesting because there was a personal connection being that I depend (along with the rest of the world) on the use of a telephones and cell phones tremendously and probely couldn't function without some sort of daily use. The first piece of history I found interesting was the fact that some looked at it as unreliable with limtied range while the telephone was also overlooked because no one noticed the importance it would have for the furture or the money and busniess that it would bring. The telephone was built to just improve the the telegrpah at first but instead it soon replaced it. Soon some took notice to the telephone such as Alexander Graham Bell, Greene Hubbard and Orton and with their recognition one of the best invention was created. The second point I found interesting was that the European countries didnt hop on the band wagon right away because they held many doubts about the expansion of the telephone. This was until telegraph authorities realzied there could be potenial lsot if they didnt confine it in two ways which was geographical limits on the connections and dates for the furture when the state miight take possession of the networks.


Cameras: A Link to the Past and Future

"I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything." This quote, originally uttered by author John Steinbeck in 1962, stands out to me because it really shows how with the rise of cameras a sense of innocence was lost. In the time before cameras the only visual a person could recieve of a foreign lands and its people was the one created in his or her head. It left people to see what they wanted to see and leave things the way they wanted to see them. With the birth of cameras, it was no longer up to the everyday people as to what people from Greenland wore to keep warm, for example. Society began to lose that old world feel and seemed to be on the cusp of a total technological revolution. As true with many new inventions, the camera left people bewildered, yet filled with wonderment. It was in many ways a portal to the future and the past. It connected people to ancesters and cities that were before one's time while keeping people looking forward to the other technological breakthroughs that have had people marvelling for the past century.

The Makings of "The Comstock Act"

After reading through chapter 7, I find it funny how Anthony Comstock (a 27 year old dry goods clerk?) personal crusade turned into a public outcome. He started ratting out local dealers in his area. Not satisfied with just taking out the dealers, he turned to the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) to help him on a vigilante crusade. The YMCA then formed a group of rich people to aid Comstock in his "personal" crusade.

His operation was kind of low key, until the big Woodhull-Claflin prosecution in 1872, which turned Comstock into this huge public figure. Comstack had the two female publishers of a weekly prosecuted because they accused a preacher of having an affair. A preacher was accused of having an affair, and the publishers of a weekly are arrested? Was the preacher even put on review through this whole scandal? There's freedom of press for you.

Then he, and two of his rich pals, went to Washington D.C. to discuss the issue of obscenity. Eventually, The Comstock Act was a result of this meeting with Capitol Hill. A little stricter than its predecessor enacted in 1865.

Though I do kind of agree that some of these actions needed to take place, I was almost lost when I got to the end of this section. These actions led to the idea to stop the publishing of criminal activities such as ..."criminal news, police reports, or accounts of criminal deeds, or pictures, or stories of deeds of bloodshed, lust or crime." Maybe it's cause of the world we live in now that I'm against this concept of censorship, but the people have a right to know what's going on around them.

Where I feel these events may have needed to happen, I still feel that some of the actions were ridiculous.

Chapter 7 The Rise of Moral Censorship

Great Transformations

Top Photo: Alexander Cockburn Lord Chief Justice
Left Photo caption: (Morality tale of the kept woman: Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience, 1853 (c) TATE LONDON)

As Americans we refer to Martin Luther King as a human rights icon. He stood for equal rights in the 1950’s. As I read chapter seven I found that in early 19th century the United States was ethnically diverse already. This diversity was one major impact on the “Great Transformations.” “American’s great transformation, however, followed a different pattern from Europe’s because of an additional dynamic overlaid upon industrialization and set in motion by a radical increase in ethnic diversity that affected nearly every aspect of American Society, including communications.” (Starr p.233) It wasn’t until the after the 1870’s that we received an increase in immigration. Previously immigration was strongly from Germany and the British isles. This dramatically changed to the greater increase of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. This increase was beneficial because it the new immigrants began to live in urban areas, which was important to our cultural life and voting process. African Americans who lived in the south also began to move to the northern and mid-western cities. The “Great Transformations” affected all industrial societies. With new people and diverse culture affected protest, reform, immigration restriction as well as culture and moral behavior. America and Europe’s media had many similarities, but it went in different directions of development. This was because of the differences in social conditions, key political and legal decision. One difference in development of modern communication was “the expansion of cheap popular newspapers in 1800’s.”(Starr P.234) European Countries had high taxes on press and low literacy rates, which held back this expansion.

The Rise of Moral Censorship

The word “pornography” in society today is usually referring to sex is some aspect. The actual definition is the obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, esp. those having little or no artistic merit. This was a one of the major influences on the “great transformation” in the United States. Obscenity was illegal but there wasn’t very much effort in removing or destroying it, until 1842 tariff law. “A band on the Import of indecent and obscene print, lithographs, engravings and transparencies.” (Starr P.236) It wasn’t until after the Civil War efforts to control obscenity in print increased and Federal as well as State laws became stricter. This influenced American’s private organizations that specialized in preventing obscene publications and other offensive items. This sent many people to prison and congress then approved the Post Office as a device for “censorship and moral regulation.” The United States was not alone; many other countries were having the same issues mainly linked to the rise of cheap print. Starr brings to our attention that the British were actually the ones that established the “cultural forms, organizational prototypes, and legal principles that moral reformers adopted in the United States.” (Starr P.237) It was known as Victorian morality; a distillation of the moral views of people living at the time of Queen Victoria. (reigned 1837 - 1901)* Before Victoria’s became queen in 1837, Brittan wanted greater prudery. In 1787 while King George III was in power he issues a “Proclamation for the Encouragement of Piety and Virtue, and for the Preventing and Punishing of Vice, Profaneness and Immorality.” These placed strict restrictions on obscene works. William Wilberforce approached politics from a position of strict Christian morality. He founded the Proclamation Society which plan was to control and improve public manners through church. But in 1802 The Society for the Suppression of Vice replaced it. The vice society began to prosecute the authors as well as the people that sold obscene publications. Agents were employed mainly by the elite to seek out vendors. This formed a semiofficial means of law enforcement. The groups were known to target the poor while ignoring the rich. It is said that the elite’s influence changed moral and cultural life. As time went on, the worry about obscenity influencing disorder among the lower class shifted toward “ the protection of that increasingly segregated and morally problematic section of the population.” (Starr P.239) In 1857 parliament adopted the Obscene Publications Act to help make the act more effective they authorized judges to issue search warrants on vendors selling obscene items. In 1868 there was a case, Regina v. Hicklin, where Alexander Cockburn who was Lord Chief Justice (the second-highest judge of the Courts of England and Wales.) Cockburn defined the test of obscenity as, “whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall.” He also “declared the intention of an author irrelevant: “where a man publishes a work manifestly obscene, he must be taken to have had the intention which is implied from that act.”(Starr P.239) These principles were picked up by the United States. And eventually became a means of enforcing purity and decency in literature. During the antebellum era the people objected free speech grounds, and the federal involvement in censorship of the mail. As John Calhoun expresses the federal government should stay out of the mail and leave it to the states. During and after the Civil War the federal power grew, this led to new authority for the Post Office. In 1865 soldiers were receiving an increasing number of obscene books and pictures. Congress then enforced that the sender of obscene materials would be prosecuted, and could receive up to one year in prison. Americans eventually requested the same solution that Britain used, “privately sponsored law enforcement.” The problem was the founders and directors of similar organizations that wanted to impose moral regulations, were mainly wealthy men that privately controlled the belief that public enforcement was unreliable. Soon became the COMSTOCK ACT in 1873. The act prohibited the dissemination of any "article of an immoral nature, or any drug or medicine, or any article for the prevention of contraception or procuring of abortion" through the U.S. mail or across state lines. The purpose of the act was to delete references of contraceptive devices, forbid the use of the mail to distribute obscene material and anything "which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to lead another to use or apply it for producing abortion...." The act was a major influence in many cases; it pushed the boundaries of the First amendment.

The Radio Act of 1912

The Titanic tragedy of April 1912 showed to the public the usefulness of wireless communications. By using the wireless system over 700 passengers were saved, but the press agued that more could have been saved if there was a stronger wireless regulation in effect. The press would argue that there was a lack of standards regarding the proper use of this wireless technology on ships in particular, but also there needed to be regulation to protect the citizens in general.

In order to rectify the problems that the press was talking about Senator Smith introduced The Radio Act Bill of 1912. This bill required that all maritime companies that owned ocean ships needed to enhance the security of its passengers by providing coverage by a wireless duty officer 24 hours a day. This would grantee that all ships could contact one another in case of any disaster that they might encounter eliminating another Titanic tragedy. In addition the law proposed that the each government agency would be given a specific wavelength, power level and operational hours to counter the Marconi Company’s monopoly of the spectrum.

As soon as the Titanic went down, radio regulation moved up on the public agenda. Press reports noted that if one of two nearby ships had its wireless working and its operator on duty (instead of its engines off and its operator asleep), it could have saved all the lives that were lost

The feeling at that time was that long wavelengths of 250 meters and over provided the best means for communications. Amateurs were therefore given those wave lengths of 200 meters and below, what we know and call today the AM band. Senator Smith felt that over time the amateurs would loose interest and funding and all the wavelengths would revert to the government. The Radio Act of 1912 reduced the amateur stations from 10,000 to just fewer than 1,200 by the end of 1912.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Rise of " the New Journalism" truth or entertainment?

In today's world of media , how do we find out about the events of the world around us? We have endless possibilities at our very fingertips, from the newspapers, to magazines, to radio and TV and of course the Internet. We take it for granted that we can flick on the TV and see the anchors, and the field reporters in action delivering to us the news that is happening at that very second. So how did this mass media and the idea of journalism come about? Many believe that it started from the early times of the penny press and from individual nation-state newspapers. In actuality the idea of journalism and of "reporting" the news is actually very recent.
In the article " The New Journalism", by Michael Schudson he claims that " reporting was an invention of the end of the nineteenth century" . Reporting at its origins however was not the same as the reporting of today. As Schudson explains in his article, there was only a few big papers circulating within this era of time, and there was distinct types of reporting associated with each one. These papers, such as World and the Journal , were seen as representing " the new journalism".
These papers were also seen as slanting towards a more entertaining viewpoint. This is where the idea of a newspaper or magazine becoming more entertaining than truthful. George Herbert Mead was famous for stating how some parts of the news, things such as financial and election results emphasized " the truth value of news" , whereas most other parts of the news were about "enjoyability" and "consummatory value".
These same issues still stand today. Many people claim news to be "politically slanted" or biased in so many different areas. A lot of people also believe that different news stations and papers, such as CNN or The New York Times are more of an acceptable and credible source of news. Whichever view point you take, it is important for us to realize that these issues were risen from the origins of journalism, and that even today the world of journalism is affected by these new issues.

Wireless Opened A New Wave

Wireless Telegraphs were used by the military and commercial uses during its beginning. Although at first the average person didn't have access to wireless the mere invention of it paved the way for so many peoples lives to be made more entertaining, to be easier. Wireless technology lead to the inception of radio, which has such importance in word history. Wireless telephone would have been unimaginable when the invention of the telephone occured, now it is an every day use. After World War I the united states saw the value in wireless communication, and investing money in this technology imporved the United States as a world power. British interests were lost as America gained control of industries. Not only was wireless important to individuals it was important to this country as a world and financial power.

In June of 1876, many people witnessed an invention that most believed would not be successful. Today in 2009 it is the most commenly used way to communicate along with the cellular phone and internet. Alexander Graham Bell who because of his aspirations is still an icon and successor in todays history due to his invention of the telephone. His first display of the telephone took place at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia of June, 1876.
Bell was not a wealthy man and to invent something that was meant to be global, he of course needed some help in the financial department. During his time as a teacher of the deaf, he met many people and found his way into wealthy homes. One being Gardiner Green Hubbard who was an entrepreneur as well as a Boston Brahmin Lawyer. " Hubbard became the driving force in the earliest days of Bell Telephone, founded in July 1877" (Starr p.195)
I had and always will find Alexander Graham Bell to be Truly inspiring for the simple fact that he invented something that we "need" today. Yes there is internet and cell phones but around the world people may not be able to afford them. In my eyes the man is not only a genius but an icon and because of him, our world is much easier to communicate with one another.