Blog Archives

17th Century Pamphlets as Social Media

The Atlantic has just alerted me that the leaders of Twitter and Facebook should know more about the history of pamphlet publishing in the 1600s: “The extraordinary ignorance on questions of society and history displayed by the men and women

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Posted in community, Education, Government, History, International, Magazines, Media History, media studies, Social media

JFK: A president who read Dante

On this day in 1963 we had half-day sessions at my high school, and I headed home with a last-minute stop at the drug store across the street from the house. The radio was on in the store; I don’t

Posted in Connecticut, Government, History, memories

Once we set the software world on fire

Things you find in the bottom of a box of old computer disks. A matchbook. In its heyday when I worked there, 1984-87, “MultiMate Word Processor” was not only international, it was a best seller and, you might say, almost

Posted in Computers, Connecticut, History, wesleyan, writing

When Hearst sang “Cuba, cheer up!”

As the U.S.A. reopens a Havana embassy, and Puerto Rico struggles with financial problems, perhaps it’s time to look back at a century of history — and the news media’s sometimes multimedia role in setting agendas that people might, in

Posted in History, media studies, Music, Newspapers, popular culture

Hemingway & Gellhorn, and The Newsroom

Things are looking up in the “recent examples” department for my fall course on the portrayal of journalists in popular culture. HBO’s famous-writers docudrama about Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway reminds me a bit of United Press’s “Soldiers of the

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Posted in biography, History, jheroes, Journalism, popular culture, students, Television

When a Pickle Showed Patriotic Colors

A reminiscence: According to one of the authors, this was an April Fool story that got misdirected to the Fourth of July. Back in the summer of 1979, I was writing the daily “People in the News” column that ran

Posted in Connecticut, editors, Google, History, humor, Newspapers, Stepno, The Hartford Courant

What writing is…

The “quick Christmas break research project” that I began two and a half years ago keeps leading to new things, most of which I’m recording at my Newspaper Heroes on the Air site (jheroes.com for short), which is primarily about

Posted in History, j-heroes, Journalism, Newspapers, popular culture, writing

Step Away from the Mouse

Macintosh users may just yawn when Jane Wells of WordPress starts out her “Now More Than Ever: Just Write” essay with the demise of Internet Explorer’s old version, but she gets downright inspiring after that: WordPress (and Firefox and Google

Posted in coincidence, History, hypertext, j-heroes, WordPress, writing

When newspapers had…

Editor Carole Tarrant of The Roanoke Times mentioned this picture on Twitter this morning, noting that the dress is made entirely from her newspaper. (The picture was posted by Brent Watts of Channel 7.) That reminded me of a poem

Posted in History, humor, Newspapers, verse

Happy 30th anniversary to my first computer

Harry McCracken, who suffered through being my editor at three different magazines, has written a fascinating history of one of the first “boom, then bust” computer companies: The one I bought my first computer from. In fact, its going bust

Posted in coincidence, Computers, History, Magazines, personal, Technology, wesleyan
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