The New York Times reports this week that only 1 in 8 of New York’s public high schools has a student newspaper — and many of those are published just a few times a year. A few more are online, which can leave out poorer schools.
The national figures are a little higher. But as Rebecca Dwarka, an 18-year-old senior in the Bronx who works for her student paper, The Dewitt Clinton News, told the Times, “Facebook is the new way of finding out what happened. Nobody wants to actually sit down and read a whole article about it,” which makes a “whole article” sound a little like a long sentence in solitary confinement.
Scott Simon, High School Newspapers: An Endangered Species, NPR.
FJP: And then there are things like Rhode Island’s 2011 anti-bullying law, which banned the use of social networks on school grounds. Here’s the Xtranormal take (video: 3 min 13 sec) on what high school journalism classrooms would look like without Facebook.
Q: Do you save yourself wear and tear by not troubling to entertain men bores?
A: A grave mistake. Bores have their uses since a clever girl can practice her conversation on them, with nothing much to lose. Besides, they often have attractive friends.
How Attractive Are You to the Opposite Sex? Esquire’s 1949 survey.
From Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts: A Time-Honored Guide to the Perfect Party (public library), originally published in 1949 and brimming with the era’s most flagrantly preposterous gender stereotypes, comes a set of questionnaires designed to help the ladies and bachelors make themselves more attractive to each other. And though at first glance the lists might appear to reveal the era’s appalling standards of good womanhood, encrusted with all kinds of superficial qualities and completely vacant of intellectual merit, they in fact reveal far more about the Esquire man and his own sensibilities in what he desires in a mate.
H/T: Brain Pickings for the find.
I’m a journalist. I believe in journalism, and I believe in our communities. I believe in holding those in power accountable. I believe in building civic knowledge. I believe in celebrating the good and trying to understand and solve the bad. But mostly I believe in storytelling.
A newspaper published a story about the Surgeon General’s office that contained information about the size and location of the Army of the Potomac. A furious Hooker complained to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton that the chief of the Secret Service “would have willingly paid $1,000 for such information” about Confederate forces.
Ford Risely, The New York Times, Birth of the Byline.
Risley, a professor of communications and head of Penn State’s journalism department takes us through Civil War era journalism and how the byline came to be.
Indeed, during the first two years of the war, an increasingly aggressive and competitive press had published stories that infuriated military leaders on both sides. The Civil War was the first war widely covered by American newspapers. And in their zeal to report the greatest event of their lives, newsmen produced a decidedly mixed bag of stories.
On one hand, many reporters honestly and faithfully chronicled the fighting. Tireless correspondents went to extraordinary lengths to report stories, often on tight deadlines. However, other newsmen mistakenly, and in some cases recklessly, reported the conflict. Correspondents less concerned with the facts and more interested in rushing stories into print wrote damaging stories that hurt their side.
Following the journalistic practice of the day, correspondents wrote anonymously during the war, most using a pen name or no name at all. Newsmen liked the custom, believing the secrecy allowed them do their work better. As one reporter wrote, “The anonymous greatly favors freedom and boldness in newspaper correspondence … . Besides the responsibility it fastens on a correspondent, the signature inevitably detracts from the powerful impersonality of a journal.”
However, commanders did not like the practice because newsmen often could not be held accountable for what they wrote. McClellan had complained to Stanton of reporters repeatedly “giving important information” about the Army in their stories. “As it is impossible for me to ascertain with certainty who these anonymous writers are,” he wrote, “I beg to suggest that another order be published holding the editors responsible for its infraction.”
After the news leak, General Order No. 48 was issued, which required that all reporters with the Army of the Potomac—of which Hooker (mentioned above) was commander—“publish their communications over their own signatures.”
And the byline was born.
Related: A few more thoughts on journalism history from our archives.
We get stories much faster than we can make sense of them, informed by cellphone pictures and eyewitnesses found on social networks and dubious official sources like police scanner streams. Real life moves much slower than these technologies. There’s a gap between facts and comprehension, between finding some pictures online and making sense of how they fit into a story. What ends up filling that gap is speculation. On both Twitter and cable, people are mostly just collecting little factoids and thinking aloud about various possibilities. They’re just shooting the shit, and the excrement ends up flying everywhere and hitting innocent targets.