Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Women in Old School Journalism (Last Blog Post)

Read the linked article. Discuss what you find most interesting, surprising, or shocking about the conditions it describes and why. Your response is due by Sunday, Nov. 24, 4 p.m.

And a link to photos of newsboys, many by Jacob Riis:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Why We Were the Way We Were

Please read the article linked below. In a response due Wed., Nov. 20, by 4 p.m., describe how Smythe's explanation for how journalism operated in the era under examination differs from Streitmatter's.

Link to "Front Page"

Monday, November 4, 2013

Positives of the Internet

By Wed., Nov. 6, at 4 p.m., please post on the blog a link to a Web site or blog that to you illustrates the benefits of the Internet for either journalism or the culture at large. Be prepared to explain your example to the class on Thursday, Nov. 7.

The blog posts have been largely ignored by some of you, who are accumulating F's at an alarming rate. I have done what I can to motivate participation. The actual participation is your responsibility and, I suppose, choice.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Who Owns the Future? (3)

Below please find a link to a story about technological obsolescence. Discuss how the last part of Lanier's book might help us to understand and/or cope with this phenomenon.

Your response is due by 4 p.m., Sun., Nov. 3.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Who Owns the Future? (2)

How does this article illustrate Lanier's thesis? Your response is due Wed.., Oct 23, by 4 p.m.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who Owns the Future? (1)

What does Lanier see as the primary threat posed by digital networks?  How would a proponent of the traditional libertarian  theory of the press understand or interpret the threat?

Your response is due by 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct13. Thanks.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Are You Being Tracked?

And other links of interest:

The Deep 2

Read the handout from the book Deep Ecology. Now apply the questions it asks of technology to  screen -- TV, laptops, portables, etc. Based on Postman's analysis in Amusing Ourselves. . . and your own experience, do screen media meet the criteria for a "fully informed, appropriate technology"? Please post your comments by  4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct 2.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


In the last few pages of AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH, Postman makes several suggestions for fixing the problems represented and created by modern media, particularly TV and computers. Do any of his suggestions strike you as feasible? Which one seems most feasible? Why? Do you have a suggestion of your own? You should. Please respond by 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29.

Wordsworth -- on Technology?

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. --Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


What do you think is the main point of Chuck Klosterman's essay, "Fail"? (Or, to put it another way, why is the essay titled "Fail"?) Can you relate to his predicament vis a vis technology?  How so? (Or, conversely, why not?)

Please respond by 4 p.m.,  Wednesday, Sept. 25. No late responses will be accepted.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Attention, Please

How does King and Elliott's explanation of the existence of infotainment -- and the blurring of genres in general -- differ from Postman's?  Do they have a solution? Do  think realistic? Why or why not?

Your response is due by  4 p.m., Sunday, Sept 22.

Please remember that I accept no late assignments. Refer to the syllabus for more details.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Evening News

Would Postman approve of Stafford's evocation of the news in his poem? Why or why not? Would he approve of his solution to the kind of threats that TV news seems to pose? Why or why not?

Your response is due by 4 p.m., Wed., Sept. 18.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Amusing 3

Describe what Postman means by the term "information-action ratio." Now answer his question: How often does it occur that news causes you to alter plans, take some action, etc.? (He's not talking about weather or traffic news, but so-called "serious" news, the kind that shows up on the network evening news or the front page of a newspaper or as the lead item on a news Web site.) What does your answer tell you about the nature of what passes for news today?

Please respond by 4 p.m, Sunday, Sept. 15.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Amusing Ourselves. . . , Part 2

Please follow the link below to a NY Times article;

Please discuss by  4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11, whether and how "The Daily Show," as described in the New York Times article and as you have possibly experienced it on TV, confirms, modifies, or refutes Postman's thesis in Amusing Ourselves to Death.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Electronic Book Burning

After you have read chaps. 1-4 in Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, please respond to the following question:

Would Postman agree or disagree with the author of the essay below? Why or why not? Draw directly on the reading to support your interpretation.

In addition, do you agree with the essay? Why or why not?

Your response is due by 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 8.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Journalist vs. Journalist

10 Most E-Mailed Stories

Examine the list of the 10 Most E-Mailed Stories on the home page of the New York Times Web site for  Tuesday, August 27. When you consider them as a whole, do any consistent themes or preoccupations (on the part of journalists or readers or both) emerge? What does the list suggest is the primary function of the press in America today (informing, entertaining, rumor-mongering, counseling, editorializing, advertising, etc.)? Why do you think this function predominates (ideological reasons, economic reasons, cultural reasons, political reasons)? How does that make you feel (optimistic, dizzy, despairing) about the direction of the press and the society it serves? Your response is due -- remember, no late responses are given credit -- by 4 p.m., Wednesday, August 28.