If you grew up, as I did, in a household where you heard stories from the Bible, the phrase “cedars of Lebanon” has special meaning. They were trees used in building King Solomon’s temple. That temple had the best of everything, so nothing but the best cedars would do. And the best cedars came from […]
Well into his adult life, Cump Sherman considered himself a failure. So did others. He had attended West Point and had accomplished some relative successes in his military career. But when he left the army, he proceeded to fail at everything he tried. His health — he suffered from asthma — and his mental stability were […]
Pour yourself a cup of coffee or make yourself a strong cup of tea and settle back to read this important but difficult article in The Guardian by Michiko Kakutani on why we seem to have given up on facts. Kakutani is the former chief book critic for the New York Times. She has taken a deep […]
Good journalism saves lives. In this Age of Hyperbole, that’s no exaggeration. A couple of weeks ago in the newsletter, I mentioned John Carreyrou, investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and the book he has written title Bad Blood. The book tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes. the wunderkind of Silicon Valley, and her […]
What’s a female crime-writing author, who owes so much to Raymond Chandler and who loves him dearly, to do in this age of #MeToo? Megan Abbott (Give Me Your Hand) has some interesting observation in a delightful and insightful essay on Salon.com. Abbott is unabashed in her love for Raymond Chandler and the noir world […]
In a newsletter earlier this year, I had an entry on the phrase “Bloody Mary” and mentioned that the drink to which it refers was named after Queen Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, who persecuted Protestants in an attempt to return England to Catholicism. A newsletter reader, Frank C., wrote to say that this “persecution” was […]
Top 10 books about gangsters, Trumbull’s portrait of Washington, and hurricane news: newsletter, July 13, 2018
This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,197) on July 13, 2018 Hiding in plain sight in the American psyche is the concept of The Road. The Great American Highway is not just a tool to get from place to another. It’s an indelible symbol of the freedom to move, the sense […]
OntheMedia, the radio show about all things journalism, has produced an excellent piece to counter some of the predictable narrative that you are likely to hear as we approach another season in which high winds and waves slam into various parts of the U.S. Members of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Nebraska Task Force One […]
Artist John Trumbull had been in London only a short time in 1780 when he started working on a full-length portrait Great Britain’s arch American enemy George Washington. Trumbull, a former colonel in the Continental Army, was clearly violating the pledge he made to British officials not to participate in political activities. Ostensibly, he was […]
If you’re like me, you’re a bit of a sucker for “top 10” or “10 best” lists — especially when it comes to books about topics that interest me. So here’s a good one. Crime novelist Ron Reynolds has written an intelligent and entertaining piece for The Guardian on his top 10 books about gangsters. […]
Great art and an even better story behind it: John Trumbull, the Revolutionary War painter; newsletter, July 6, 2018
This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (x) on July 6, 2018 Note: We’re on a road trip from East Tennessee to the Western states, and that will take a couple of weeks. Consequently, this newsletter is shorter than usual. I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to a […]
Wilson, in declaring war on Germany in 1917, also declared war on a good portion of America as well.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thomas Dixon, and a couple of examples of excellent journalism: newsletter, June 29, 2018
This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,238) on June 8, 2018 First an apology: Many of you with Gmail addresses received last week’s newsletter with a big red warning label at the top and no way to click on the links. When I began to hear from you about it on […]
It’s one of the best paintings of George Washington that you have probably never seen. And the story behind it is even more interesting than the painting. The painting is John Trumbull‘s portrait of George Washington at West Point. Washington is pictured in a heroic stance with his slave/servant Billy Lee to his left and the […]
Good journalism is hard to do — I have said this many times — and when I find some, I tend to pay some attention. A couple of examples of excellent long-form journalism that I have come across lately are American Fire by Monica Hesse and Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. American Fire: Love, Arson […]
A survey across multiple countries shows that podcast are on the rise. People love audio, and they listen. Overall, a third of our sample (34%) listens to a news-related podcast at least monthly but there are significant country differences. In Asian countries like South Korea (58%) and Taiwan (55%), strong smartphone penetration together with high […]
Suffice it to say that Uncle Tom’s Cabin took over the American mind (and many minds beyond America’s shores), and the novel has held its grip on a portion of that mind ever since. Immediately after its publication, the debate about slavery — and ultimately the debate about America — was never the same.
The New York Times is often cited by me as a balanced, thoroughly researched, and well-written source of information. But in a recent article about the supposed health benefits of bee products (The Wellness World’s Buzzy New Best Friend – The New York Times), such as honey and pollen, the Times reporter, who shall go […]
Sometimes a successful writer, both in his life and in his writing, gets it all wrong. Such was the case with Thomas Dixon. Dixon was born in 1864 in North Carolina and grew up during the Reconstruction era as an unreconstructed Southerner. He attended Wake Forest and later Johns Hopkins, where he befriended a young […]
This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,263) on June 8, 2018 Our lives these days seem to go in lots of different directions at once. Some folks are bothered by that, saying it doesn’t allow them to focus and concentrate. In my life, however, I find it interesting and exciting. Last […]
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Since 2004 JPROF.com has been providing journalism instructors and students with material and ideas for teaching and learning journalism. Jim Stovall is the site's creator and operator.
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