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Gordon Parks’ “Atmosphere of Crime” photos, the war in Iraq, a look back at William Manchester, and reader reactions: newsletter, Sept. 4, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,531) on Friday, September 4, 2020.   The idea rattling through in my head for the last few days has been “gentleness.” Our modern human world doesn’t put much stock in the idea of gentleness, but nature does. I’m lucky in that I get to […]

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The queen of pandemic literature, Motown’s founding father, Shakespeare online, and reader reaction: newsletter, April 24, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,587) on Friday, April 24, 2020.     Before the pandemic hit, I had been planning a small display for our library on Motown in order to let patrons know about all of the Motown books that we have on the shelves. That idea, obviously, has been […]

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Bill Mauldin, the voice of the grunt

Those who served in the United States military as enlisted men and women — particularly from World War II through Vietnam — have a particular affinity for Bill Mauldin. Mauldin was an artist whose cartoons depicted, with brilliant perception, brutal honesty, and insightful humor, the life of the everyday “grunt,” the guy who dug the ditches, […]

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Bat Masterson, gunslinger first but then first-class sports writer

The world today knows him as one of the Old West’s most famous gunslingers, fearless associate of the famous lawman Wyatt Earp. But in 1921, the world knew Bat Masterson as a world-class sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph and one of the foremost experts on the second most popular sport of the […]

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The Newspaperman: A poem from the 1880s

In doing some research in 19th century newspapers recently, I found this clever little poem: THE NEWSPAPER MAN Little they know. or even think, Of the work there is in shedding Ink By the busy wielders of pencil and pen, Generally known as newspaper men. “Jottings,” “In General,” “Spice of Life,” “Variations,” and rumors rife, […]

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Newspaper organizational chart

This organizational chart originally appeared in Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

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Newspaper circulation (2004)

The losses were widespread, with two-thirds of papers reporting flat or declining circulation, including The Washington Post and The Daily News, according to an analysis by the Newspaper Association of America of figures released yesterday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. And the industry’s decline was more evident on Sundays.

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Goings-on in Greensboro

Someone once described change in the newspaper industry as occurring at two speeds: slow and stop. Change seems to be occurring in Greensboro, N.C., with the News-Record giving some serious consideration to re-capturing readers with a web site that it wants to become the town’s electronic “public square.”

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Newspaper of the future

The New York Times devoted a great deal of space in its business section last month to a profile of the newspaper in Lawrence, Kan. The paper is devoting many resources to building an innovative set of web sites — innovation that is a part of the newspaper’s history and tradition. The Times article provoked […]

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The New York Times under attack again

The nation’s premier newspaper, the New York Times, is under attack from the government and many of its partisan adherents because of a report about the government’s use of bank records to track terrorists and terrorist organizations. All of this is following a predictable pattern, although the vitriol of those attacking the Times, as Howard […]

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NYT – Talk of the Newsroom

The New York Times, as part of its ongoing effort to open its operation to public view, has begun a series of exchanges by various top editors and people who email questions. The questions are sometimes long but enlightening, and so are the answers. The editors have tried to explain the Times’ point of view […]

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Crowdsourcing the Civil War

In the video below, George Rable, University of Alabama history professor, discusses the sources of information that newspaper editors during the Civil War used for their reports about battles and the war in general. One important source was letters from soldiers — a form of what we could call today crowdsourcing. This means using the […]

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The demise of newspapers – revisited

A few months ago, I wrote a piece about the demise of newspapers being a good thing for the future of journalism. Today, I am using those ideas — and a new more — as a basis for a speech I am giving to the Knoxville Torch Club. Here is the basic text of the […]

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A superior user experience

Those of us who struggle every day trying to figure out this new media thing and worrying about economic models for journalism get distracted by many ideas and lamentations. Thanks, then, to Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president for product management at Google, for this long, thought-provoking, and perceptive piece that helps to refocus on what […]

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The demise of newspapers means better journalism

We who contemplate the importance of journalism look at the future with trepidation. What happens to journalism, we ask, when newspapers continue on their inevitable decline? The question assumes that journalism itself will be diminished.I am coming to a different conclusion: Journalism will improve once newspapers die or decline to a minor medium. Note that […]

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Qualities of the digital journalist

Steve Outing, a well-known thinker and writer about online journalism, has envisioned the not-so-distant future digital newsroom in his January 28 column for Editor and Publisher. (The All-Digital Newsroom of the Not-So-Distant Future) The whole thing is well worth reading and, journalism profs, recommending to your students. Of particular interest is what Outing says will […]

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Mencken on being a newspaper reporter

With the changes in the news business, will succeeding generations experience what H.L. Mencken did as a newspaper reporter at the turn of the previous century? In all of the events of H.L. Mencken’s eventful life, nothing matched his days as a young newspaper reporter (circa 1899): My adventures in that character (a newspaper reporter) […]

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