Archive | journalism RSS feed for this section
JRRTolkien

Tolkien exhibit looks into a vast imagination

In 1930 J.R.R. Tolkien, a veteran of the trenches in World War I and by then a professor at Oxford University, was marking student papers when he noticed that one of the exam books had a blank page at the end. On that page he wrote: “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.” […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
HW02-01

The courtroom sketch artist: art in a pressure-cooker

Courtroom sketch artists are people who can draw (or paint) quickly, accurately depicting what they see and unafraid to allow others — maybe millions of others — to see what they have done. They work under seemingly impossible deadlines, sometimes only a few minutes, at best a few hours. There’s very little chance of editing or […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
SeymourHersh

Spending his life as a ‘Reporter’: Seymour Hersh 

My Lai. If you know anything at all about the war in Vietnam, you know this word. It was the village where more than 100 unarmed civilians were killed by American soldiers during a 1968 offensive. The word has taken on literal and symbolic meaning. We might not know the word at all if it […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
51+SwUMW7pL._SX294_BO1,204,203,200_

David Douglas Duncan, the photographer every photojournalist aspired to be

If you were a news photographer in the 20th century, you probably wanted to be like David Douglas Duncan — courageous, fearless, adventurous, and constantly seeing what others don’t see. Duncan died this past week at the age of 102. His legacy of photography — particularly combat photography — is unmatched. Here’s part of what […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
ClaudeChappe

A telegraph network 50 years before the telegraph – le systeme Chappe

A full half-century before Samuel Morse demonstrated his electric telegraph system in America, a long-distance and extremely effective communication network existed in France. The network was developed by Claude Chappe (1763-1805), a scientist who realized that the human eye was an excellent device for discerning angles, even at long distances. He took that idea and developed […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
GenGrant

Ulysses S. Grant, D-Day, and the French telegraph system of the 1790s; plus Solon and a solon: newsletter, June 8, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,364) on June 8, 2018   The rains we had in East Tennessee last week worked their usual miracles on our garden. Everything we planted is growing, and I was able to get into the garden with a hoe and tiller early this week to […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 6.53.09 PM

The surprising source of the first news of D-Day

Every June 6 (which came and went this week) American news media faithfully observes the Normandy invasion by Allied forces during World War II. It’s an important anniversary because it marked an important point in the defeat of Nazi Germany. But how did America first learn of the Normandy landings? The first news came from […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
words

Alliance of Independent Authors: 7 Errors Grammar Checkers Miss 

7 Errors Grammar Checkers Miss | Alliance of Independent Authors: Self-Publishing Advice Center If you use an electronic grammar checker to help you with your writing, this is a good list. The seven errors: cliches, homophones (words that sound alike but are spelled differently), redundancies, readability scores, repeated words and phrases, sentence length, and vague […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
USGrant-1

The life of Ulysses Grant: ending with a triumph

Ulysses S. Grant lived a life of devastating defeats and mind-boggling triumphs. As such, he gives biographers a rich mine of material to work with. The latest biographer, Ron Chernow, seems to have done fairly with the material of Grant’s life, according to the book’s critics. One such critic is David Blight, an American History […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Winston Churchill caricature

Reading notes: Churchill’s insight and the willful ignorance The Times of London

Author William Manchester called it “unfathomable.” Manchester’s magisterial three-volume biography of Winston Churchill (The Last Lion) contains an interesting description of the attitude of The Times of London toward the rise of Adolph Hitler in volume 2, Alone. While Churchill in the mid-1930s was the single voice among the upper reaches of the British ruling […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
WilsonasSherlock-2

The president and the detective novel – a continuing love story

The President Is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. Coming to your physical and digital bookstore in June. Watch for it. Pre-order from Amazon if you like. This won’t be the first time that a president has ventured into the mystery/detective/thriller genre, as Clay Fehrman points out in an interesting and enlightening article in […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Dostoyevsky and the current ‘true-crime’ craze 

Interest in true-crime and the justice system is not a new thing. It dates back to Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who was a victim of the judiciary system of his time. That’s the view of Jennifer Wilson, who has an interesting article in the New York Times: Dostoyevsky was obsessed with the judiciary. He spent […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
JFK

John Kennedy’s words are still worth our attention

This week saw the passing of the birthday — almost without notice — of a recent American president: John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, and there was no special reason to note his birthday. He was in office for less than three years, and one could argue that his death — […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
LouisaMayAlcott

Louisa May Alcott, journalist

Louisa May Alcott, author of the classic of American literature Little Women, was for a brief time in her life Louisa May Alcott, journalist. Despite the picture presented in her famous novel, Alcott’s childhood and formative years were anything but idyllic. Her family was always on the edge of poverty, and her father, Bronson Alcott, […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
IMG_1196

Farewell, Philip Roth; Mencken on the language; how we got Sherlock, and more: newsletter, May 25, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,081) on May 25, 2018   Thanks to all who wrote or commented on Facebook about the dulcimer that I made and showed off in last week’s newsletter. I am going to start on another one before long. Sadly, for the second week in a […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Roth-head

Philip Roth, 1933-2018

The death of Philip Roth on Tuesday (May 22) removes one of the great names from the living giants of American letters. In fact, many consider him to be the last of those giants, and they may well be right. Obituaries in the New York Times, Washington Post, and many other publications have praised and […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

The woman who wrote the first American crime (not detective) novel

Metta Victoria Fuller Victor authored and published The Dead Letter in 1867. It is thought to be America’s first full crime novel. (Edgar Allan Poe’s stuff was short stories.) In its day, it was known as a sensation novel. But it’s not America’s first detective novel. The Dead Letter has a crime, of course. There […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Beetons-christmas-annual-1887

How Sherlock Holmes came to be – a gap in the market

“It’s all so obvious,” Holmes said after a long draw from his pipe. Holmes’ eyes pierced through my sideways glances. He was expecting an answer. I didn’t have one. “Really, my dear friend, you must see it,” he said, his voice mixed with delight and exasperation. “Look closely at the market. Tell me what’s not […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Giving through the arm, not the nose

Australian James Harrison knows how to give — and fortunately, he has a gift that has saved many lives. Harrison is 81 and has been donating blood since the 1950s. At some point, medical researchers found that Harrison had something special in his blood. According to the New York Times: Mr. Harrison’s blood contained a […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
IMG_1196

H.L. Mencken and The American Language: the writer defends his native tongue

H.L. Mencken, writer and journalist, comes to mind when the American public or American culture needs criticism and a bit of biting satire. He knew how to do that and did it better during this 40-plus-year as a newspaper columnist and magazine editor than anyone else. He did it so well that we forget that […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Share