Thursday, April 9, 2009

Allies Invade France on D-Day

Taylor KennedyJour 300D-Day, or the Allied invasion France, was a campaign that became altered by many unforeseen complexities, many of which resulted in much confusion and loss. The brutal events that took place on the beaches in France on June 6th, 1944 have since been foreclosed, written about, and made into movies and documentaries, but reading newspapers at the time might have left you with a completely different notion.

“Churchill Says Losses Less than Anticipated” were the letters emblazoned across the Los Angeles times on June 7th, 1944, the day following the D-Day invasion. The article quotes and summarizes a press release given by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in which he declares the invasion of the beaches in France had taken place in “a thoroughly satisfactory manner.” Afterwards, Churchill outlines the major points of the operation and claims each had gone off without a hitch. He claims the beach and air landings of troops were on point and successful, aerial bombings had been on target, and “that tactical surprise had been achieved over the Germans.” Churchill’s statement ends with a gratuitous salute to American Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery and an ode to the “ardor and spirit of the troops… when they were embarking.” Had you been reading the L.A. Times on June 7th, 1944 you would have been lead to believe that perhaps nothing out of the ordinary occurred during the D-Day invasion.

Soon enough, however, articles began to surface that painted the true grotesque picture of the D-Day invasion. An article that appeared in the L.A. Times on October 21, 1945 features the first-hand account of Lt. Col. Randolph Leigh who says that “almost nothing went according to schedule” on D-Day. Leigh tells of how foggy weather caused Allied ships to miss their landmarks, letting the troops ashore directly into German fire. Air Force bombing plans were altered at the last second causing the bombs to be dropped half a mile inland, away from hostile forces and onto civilian territory. Naval bombardment also did nothing for the troops in taking out hillside guns, as most of nine thousand rockets missed their marks. All this confusion led to “large losses” before the Allies finally took the beach fronts. At the end of the day “1127 American Army and Navy officers and men lie dead, 3671 are wounded or injured, 24 are captured, and 2674 are missing.” Not exactly the perfect operation that Churchill had described.The coverage of Churchill’s press release was typical of journalism in America in 1944. Franklin D. Roosevelt had long since established the trend of government agencies feeding the “official” story to the press, and in a hurry to get to print first, reporters would print the releases almost word for word. This led to purely objective articles but when considering the source, it is not a far out allegation that government manipulation of reporters occurred. Henry Luce, publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune, claimed the freedom of the press “was no longer self-evident” as it was controlled by “big government” through publicity activities. Later, Joseph McCarthy would build a career on this exact technique of rushing official stories into newspapers. In most cases, there would be no time for a reporter to do a more investigative article on the subject, and it makes sense that more in-depth coverage of D-Day did not occur until about a year later, after the end of the war. SOURCES:

1964- Beatles Tour USA

Taylor Kennedy
Jour 300
In 1964 The Beatles took America by storm when they came across the Atlantic to play their British rock music on their first U.S. tour. In doing so, the four young chaps from Liverpool opened the flood gates for many other British musicians and brought about rapid changes in popular youth culture. At the time journalists, along with most everyone else, were torn as to whether The Beatles, with their long hair and teenage aimed music, were just a harmless pop band or a threat to American society. This difference of opinions is reflected in the news stories written in 1964.
The first news article I found entitled “Americans Decide The Beatles Are Harmless” was published in the London Times on February 10, 1964. The article explains the highly built up image of The Beatles and goes on to state that once Americans “had satisfied their highly stimulated curiosities about these four remarkable young men,” the feeling was “one of relief”. The band had basically been given a bad reputation, to the point that Americans were outraged about them without having ever seen them play. Fears were also heightened because in 1964 the last major teen occurred with Elvis. When another craze was finally adopted by teenagers; its results would be “uncontrollable.” Once The Beatles were televised from “coast to coast” in America, people dispelled rumors. The article quotes a New York critic saying, “We can put away our spray guns. The Beatles are harmless.” Another quote from the Washington Post explains that “The Beatles are not such bad chaps after all. They behaved in a more civilized manner than most of our own rock-and-roll heroes.” An interesting point in the article links The Beatles to better British-American understanding. The author believed that the band had opened Americans eyes to the merits of foreign nations. After the long and arduous cold war, perhaps Americans had lost touch with the outside world and the Beatles were remedying this. The author even ends this point by proposing that, in bringing this new understanding, The Beatles may perhaps help America’s problem with Cuba.
The second article I found seems cynical, even bitter about the arrival of the Beatles in America. It is entitled “After Beatles Came the Deluge,” and appeared in the Los Angeles Times on December 6, 1964. The article basically addresses the British Invasion before it was called that. In winning over adults and disarming critics, The Beatles opened “the door for all their hairy mates back home. The blokes are entering the door by the dozen now.” The author’s use of British slang serves to belittle the bands, making them sound silly. The term “hairy” refers to their longer hairstyles of the Beatles and others which many American teenagers were already emulating at the time, as “suddenly, almost anything British was desirable to American teen-agers.” The article goes on to describe one of the bands that followed The Beatles into America, The Rolling Stones. “The Stones are not handsome or even cute. One of them looks like a chimpanzee. Two look like very ugly Radcliffe girls. One resembles the encyclopedia drawings of pithecanthropus erectus.” The irony is that this obviously unsavory description of The Stones probably did more to heighten their popularity than to belittle them, as they were publicized to be the ugly antithesis of the Beatles. The article ends by assuring the American public that rock and roll is not taking over the music industry by summoning record sales of the year. The author points out that Sinatra and big band record sales were equal to that of “teen beat” groups like The Beatles and The Stones. What the author fails to realize, however, is that the popularity of these rock bands had only just begun earlier that year and would rise steadily for the rest of the sixties while also reforming teen culture into the “adversary culture” by 1965.
These two articles are composed very differently and leave the reader with different meanings. Firstly, the London article quotes many American papers and makes the point that the Beatles had been accepted fully in America. Perhaps in showing a few examples where American papers had accepted the Beatles the author felt he had enough to make Londoners believe that this was really the case. The second article, however, shows that The Beatles were still met with much resistance, and would be for much of their careers. Secondly, it is clear in reading these two stories that the London article championed the Beatles while the Los Angeles article reviled them. This discrepancy of ideas represents a change in journalism that occurred in the sixties. More and more people were becoming disheartened with the government. Just “getting the facts” or the official story was not enough to hold people over anymore. “…objectivity in journalism, came to be looked on as the most insidious bias of all. For objectivity reproduced a vision of social reality which refused to examine the basic structures of power and privilege.” A shift toward more interpretive journalism was occurring. As a result, we get two articles that leave the reader with exact opposite interpretations of The Beatles in America.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tragedy Struck "Unsinkable" Titanic

The staggering story of the “unsinkable” Titanic falling down deep into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean will forever be embedded in our minds as a tragedy that stole many lives. Reading the articles that were written about this event by the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle were both very interesting. Unfortunately, since the writers were not present during the sad sinking of the ocean liner, it was difficult for them to lay out the scene for the reader, which was expected. But I do feel that the San Francisco Chronicle did a better job than the Washington Post because I felt that while both articles were successful in laying out many facts and quotes and information for the reader, the San Francisco Chronicle executed it better. And because it was difficult for the scene to be painted for the reader by the writer, the Chronicle was able to embellish the story with some sentences that did draw the reader’s imagination to vaguely envision the starry night with the disappearing ship.

With such a colossal story as this, I think it is important to not just lay out the facts because most newspapers will all have the same facts anyways, but to also conjure emotions and some sort of empathy as well. With the case of the Titanic, people will read the stories and should be moved by the disastrous event that occurred and be shocked at how many did not survive the night. The eeriness should breath out from the newspaper and really grab the reader, which these articles do as best that they can.

It also shows effective how much information both papers have, especially the Washington Post. With the massive flow of facts, the reader can fully comprehend what has just happened even if there are not really familiar with ships or anything of the sort. I think it was smart to include photographs, names, and all of the bulk of the incident as long as the force of the story isn’t dulled by it, in these cases I don’t believe that it was. And sources were named, although it was difficult to get things completely verifiable.

People of that time truly believed that the ocean liner, Titanic, would be unsinkable. And so, the public was completely in shock of the news of its sinking, which was definitely an angle that the newspapers took in writing the stories. Both papers tapped into how shocked the public would be in discovering what had happened and how devastating it was that only a fraction of the passengers aboard the Titanic were saved. The irony being revealed in the papers of how warnings were ignored, the speed of the ship was nearing risky, how lies were said to appease surrounding ship, it all added to the irony and the tragedy that just befell the world. The coverage of both papers were exceptionally done and it went in their favor to add any details of controversy and irony to garnish the story with a little bit more tragedy.

LINER TITANIC RAMS ICEBERG :Largest Vessel Afloat Sinking Off Newfoundland. VIRGINIAS SPEEDS TO AID Women Being Taken Off in the Lifeboats. MANY NOTABLES ABOARD Maj. Butt, President Taft's Military Aid; C.M. Hays, J. Bruce Ismay, W.T. Stead, Isidor Straus, and Others Among Passengers -- Steamer Olympic Asked to Find Sister Ship -- Other Liners Going to Aid of Disabled Ves- sel Off the Banks of Newfoundland. Start of First Trip Marred by an Ac- cident at Southampton.. (1912, April 15). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 1.  Retrieved April 9, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1992) database. (Document ID: 141451462).

San Francisco Chronicle (1869-Current File); Apr 16, 1912; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922)
pg. 1

Abortion Ruling

I looked at two articles from Jan. 22, 1973, the day Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing abortion. The L.A. Times article, “Mother Knows Best,” cited an attorney, Norma Zarky who was active in changing abortion laws, different states’ abortion laws, and the Supreme Court. Weaver’s article was short compared to the NY Times article. It stated the facts and one side of the controversy. The only perspective that the article gave came from one Zarky who explained that the problem with the Abortion ruling was that states would have no control if an abortion occurred within the first three months of pregnancy, which could mean that the state would have no power to require that first trimester abortions be done in hospitals. The article said that the court’s decision could force every state to liberalize its laws on abortions.

The NY Times article, “High Court Rules Abortions Legal the First 3 Months,” by Warren Weaver, Jr., was more well rounded and in-depth. The article explained the facts and gave quotes from judges, gave the opinion of president Nixon, the opinion of Women’s rights groups, and the contrasting viewpoints of the judges.
The NYT article told which judges voted which way and seemed more balanced than the L.A. Times article.
Both articles noted that abortion was a controversial issue.

Abortion is still controversial today and is still discussed in the media.
The book, “Discovering the News,” examines the news story as being a “social form, tightly restrained by the routines of news gathering. Officials are the sources relied upon in newsgathering, therefore, “newsgathering itself constructs an image of reality which reinforces official viewpoints.”

The article from NYT gives the perspectives of officials to validate both sides of the issue. The NYT article uses objectivity as a “strategic ritual which journalist use to defend themselves against mistakes and criticism.” The NYT article uses contrasting opinions of official sources to evaluate the issue. The L.A. Times article does not do this and therefore appears less objective.
The writing style of both articles was pretty un-sensational and fact-heavy.
Much of what I see in journalism today seems to be more literary and interpretive probably because writers are trying to be more entertaining. I still see the use of objectivity as a strategic ritual to some degree today.


Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Jan 22, 1973; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986)
pg. 1

Discovering the News, Michael Schudson

Roaring Flames Demolish San Francisco

Reading about the San Francisco fire that wreaked pure and endless havoc, after the seismic quakes, to our city that we are all so accustomed to and greatly respect was really a unique experience. I used articles from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times that I thought were very beautifully written. Coverage of this event in history was very difficult due to the fact that getting eyewitness accounts and reliable sources was beyond adverse to acquire from the decimating city. Yet, despite that, the articles were suffice to provide the reader with more than just a glance into the current state of the burning city.
Firstly, the article from the New York Times was more brief than that of the Los Angeles Times but very adequate for the reader. Both were able to include statistics of the current dilemma as well as give insight on the buildings that have been drastically affected by the fires. I thought the the Los Angeles Times did an amazing job on letting the reader what was going on in little blurbs throughout the article. Also, making a short list of the identified dead was very successful in grabbing the reader, especially if it was a reader from that day.
Both articles had similar angles to how the story was framed, which was that tragedy befell San Francisco; it’s hard to not see things from this angle. But the most satisfying thing from the way the stories were written was that it could have been written very weak and with dull word usage but thankfully, it was not. Both stories dived into the chaos that swept the Bay area, especially the article from the Los Angeles Times. During the reading of these articles, I found myself thrust into a captivating story of chaos and misfortune, and then realized, wait, this really happened. The power of the way that these stories were written was so poetic in form that the reader can almost smell the smoke, taste the ashy air, feel the warmth of raging flames, and clearly see the emblazoned city disintegrating before their very eyes.
I feel that journalism now, has lost some of that compelling power to steal the reader and not only inform of the occurring news but to invoke infinite interest. A great article should be written to make the reader’s heart rate rise, especially when the content of the story is so groundbreaking as the San Francisco fires. The coverage today of events can be so draining to read because of the lack of power in the journalist’s words. With a story like this you can even get a sense of the melancholy in the writer because you know that he or she knows what fatal effects this fire will have on the city of San Francisco. Now, looking back on this event from the future, because of the framing of the story and from being a San Franciscan myself, you cannot help but truly sympathize with what had happened. Even with more than a century after the fires, making a reader feel something from the article is truly the most amazing way to cover and write a piece.

HEART IS TORN FROM GREAT CITY :San Francisco Nearly Destroyed By Earthquakes and Fire--Hundreds of Killed and Injured--Destruction of Other CoastCities--California's Greatest Horror.. (1906, April 19). Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File),I1.  Retrieved April 9, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986) database. (Document ID: 349538652).

ALL SAN FRANCISCO MAY BURN; CLIFF HOUSE RESORT IN SEA :Flames Carried From the Business Quarter to Residences PALACE HOTEL AND MINT GO; BIG BUILDINGS BLOWN UP. Other Shocks Felt During the Afternoon -- Insane Asylum Is Wrecked and Hundreds of Former Inmates Are Roaming About the Country -- Reports of Heavy Loss of Life at San Jose.. (1906, April 19). New York Times (1857-Current file),p. 1.  Retrieved April 9, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 101775031).

“We Don’t Want Another Oswald!”: The Media’s Reaction to Robert F. Kennedy’s Assassination

The panic and confusion following the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy the night he won the Democratic nomination in California translates to the television and written coverage of his death. Because the assassination occurred during an important event, the media was able to provide the public with a shaky yet strong understanding of the night that RFK was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, an unstable man who claimed that he wanted more attention directed towards Palestinians.
The public first found out Kennedy was assassinated through the TV news. An article published by Time on June 14, 1968 titled “What Was Going On” relays how the media reacted. The article has no byline; it was probably a group effort by the editors.
Because the press was so hotly covering the celebration, members of the media became subjects of news articles and radio and TV broadcasts. Members of the media who had been injured or near the assassination understood the necessity of eyewitness testimony more than a normal person would. Thus, elaborate and panicked accounts were available for newspapers and networks.
An especially notable—and widely used—description came from Andrew West, who worked for a radio network. West recorded his reaction to the shooting while it was happening. According to the Time article, he said:
“Senator Kennedy has been . . . Senator Kennedy has been shot! Is that possible? It ispossible, ladies and gentlemen! It is possible! He has . . . Not only Senator Kennedy! Oh myGod! . . . I am right here, and Rafer Johnson has hold of the man who apparently fired theshot! He still has the gun! The gun is pointed at me right this moment! Get the gun! Get the gun! Get the gun! Stay away from the guy! Get his thumb! Get his thumb! Break it if you have to! Get the gun, Rafer! Hold him! We don't want another Oswald! Hold him, Rafer . . . The Senator is on the ground! He's bleeding profusely . . . The ambulance has been called for, and this is a terrible thing! . . . Ethel Kennedy is standing by. She is calm, a woman with a tremendous amount of presence . . . The shock is so great my mouth is dry . . . We are shaking as is everyone else. I do not know if the Senator is dead or if he is alive . . ."
The way West spoke about the shooting and how the Time article was written depicts how devastated and shocked the media was. Time’s respect for and mourning of the figure reflects a loss of hope that even the media could not hide. There were few attempts to be objective. The article also reflects how much the media wanted to make sense of the assassination and deliver that understanding to the public.
Following the assassination, the print media focused more on the aftermath and the chronology than the shooting itself. On June 6th, a day after the assassination, the Los Angeles Times wrote a story titled “Despair Grips Youth in Wake of Shooting: Hopes for New Politics Dashed.” The press accurately depicted the youth’s devastation. “I have a sort of gut feeling, deep down inside, that this shooting and whatever happens to Kennedy will make young people completely unreachable,” one girl said. In many following articles, the focus was more on the despair people felt; this despair seemed to be shared by the media and proponents for changeas well.
In an interview almost a year after the assassination, Sirhan claimed that he wished the president was still alive, but he believed that “the cause of the Palestinian Arab people was worth both Senator Kennedy’s life and his own.” In an article published by the New York Times “Sirhan voices regret at having killed Kennedy,” the focus of the article was more about the fact that Sirhan wished the Senator was still alive to be President than that Sirhan, in his mentally unstable mind, assassinated Kennedy in order to draw attention to injustice in Palestine (Israel becoming a state is also one of the top 100 stories of the century). Although the article contains his comments about the Palestinian people, the headline and the pull quote—the parts of the article that receive the most attention—are about him wishing Kennedy could have been President.

Clinton Impeached

In 1998 President Clinton was impeached over his illicit affair with Monica Lewinsky. Although the public was outraged over Clinton’s moral wrongdoing and lies, many did not feel Clinton’s personal cheating was enough to have him impeached. Others believed he was a liar and not to be trusted and wanted him to be impeached. However, the outcome of the trial was that Clinton was in fact impeached of both articles he was charged with. I examined two articles from varying coasts, New York and San Francisco, to find out what the underlying message of the article was and how it was presented to readers. The first article by The New York Times,
“Impeachment: The President” does a thorough job describing the tone the day Clinton was impeached. The San Francisco Chronicle article “Clinton Era Marked by Scandal, Prosperity” describes how even though Clinton left office with a tarnished reputation, the change he brought to the administration is not forgotten.
“Clinton Era Marked by Scandal, Prosperity” describes the State of The Union address as one that was beyond original, mostly based on the fact that six days previous the Washington Post published an article accusing Clinton of his infamous affair. This article does a really good job of setting the stage for the reader with all of the emotional undertones, for example, “Never before had the nation seen its leader so publicly embattled by such intimate matters.” The article goes on to discuss how scholars will remember the Clinton era as either prosperous or regretful. This article does not discuss the process and depth of the impeachment so much as the aftermath.
“Impeachment: The President” talks more about Clinton’s denial of being impeached, saying he never used the word “impeached” because he didn’t want it to be bound to his name. This article tells how the whole ordeal began, starting with Kenneth W. Starr’s investigation. This article gives more detail about the actual events rather than just focusing on the mood.
Both articles give the reader a lot of information about the event, but they also bring their own ideas. It seemed like in “Clinton Era Marked by Scandal, Prosperity” the author really wanted to make the point to discuss how this whole process would affect the Clinton name. It also used some details that may be deemed unnecessary. “Impeachment: The President” did a really good job of incorporating quotes, but some seemed a little biased on Clinton’s side, maybe using them for reader apathy. However, both articles did a fine job on staying impartial, you couldn’t tell a clear bias from either side. Additionally, both articles offered concrete facts for the reader so that they could make up their own minds on whether Clinton being impeached was a good or bad thing.

Standard Oil Busted

Between 1902 and 1904, “muckraker” Ida Tarbell published the culmination of 2 years of meticulous research: a 19-part series exposing the Standard Oil Company’s corruption. The articles explained heavy research and complicated documents to the public with clarity. Tarbell’s “History of Standard Oil” tore down the mythical illusions about the company while revealing Rockefeller’s unethical practices and the mistreatment of his employees to the public.
In one article she wrote that “The oil men as a class had been brought up to enormous profits, and held an entirely false standard of values.”
Although McClure’s popularity flourished after the articles were printed, some mainstream newspapers did not publish the story at first. One can believe that reporters from papers like the LA Times, the NY Times, and the Washington Post were reluctant to associate themselves with the muckrakers and their reporting methods. When the story first broke, the kind of investigative journalism the muckrakers were producing at the time was not popular amongst most reporters, and many found the muckrakers to be crude. By writing off the muckrakers, big papers missed out on a major story at first. Instead of publishing their own stories, many papers wrote disparaging accounts of Tarbell and her findings. In one LA Times article, titled “The Standard Oil Legend: Ida Tarbell May Be Called a Writer of Folk Lore and Fairy Tales as Well,” condescendingly says that Tarbell’s work had “interestingly combined fact, rumor, common reputation, and current fiction regarding the great industrial giant.” Later, the reporter quotes someone saying that “the historical facts have been dressed in the motley of popular legend.”
As the story of the Standard Oil’s and Rockefeller’s schemes progressed, mainstream newspapers started printing stories and alerting even more people to Standard Oil’s misdeeds. The New York Times published a series of articles, especially after Standard Oil raised the price of oil, to which one reader responded in a letter to the editor saying “Its monopolistic power is well illustrated by taking advantage of the present necessities of the people.”
In 1904, the LA Times published an article titled “Where Standard Oil’s Real Interest Lies: Smoked Out at Last—It Means Desperation—An Unknown Quantity. Amazing Misstatements, Concessions of Defeat.” The article writes about a trial in which Standard Oil said it did not help to nominate a politician, and then said that it was not interested in industries besides oil (a statement that the New York Times editorial staff takes to be a gross lie). Some papers had criticized Tarbell for her grand language initially, but this article takes on quite a theatric tone itself. The article says that “the big fact of Standard Oil is that from its immense ganglion of wealth a million nerves radiate, binding scores of banks, and industrial companies into one large, consistent commercial body…If Standard Oil was not willing to tell the whole truth about its commercial power, it was probably still more unwilling to tell the whole truth about its political power.”
Tarbell started an intensive written battle against Standard Oil that the mainstream media eventually joined. Although I am not likening the muckrakers’ work with articles published the National Inquirer and other sensationalist celebrity magazines, the tendency of the elite media to disregard certain publications (or writers, in this case) as vulgar sometimes works to the media’s disadvantage today (other times, it is completely rational to ignore claims that Bat Boy is on the loose again). It is interesting to note that John Edward’s affair—a revelation that changed the makeup of last year’s election—was reported for months by the National Inquirer before the mainstream media picked it up after the Inquirer published photos of Edwards and his videographer.

WHERE STANDARD OIL'S REAL INTEREST LIES :THE CONTEST OF 1904. Smoked Out at Last--It Means Desperation--An Unknown Quantity. Amazing Misstatements--Confession of Defeat. Standard Oil and Parker. Smoked Out at Last. It Means Desperation. An Unknown Quantity. Each Speech an Evasion. Amazing Misstatements. The Parker Primer. Troubles of a Candidate. Justifying Hill. Parker's Inconsistency. Confessions of Defeat. A Guarantee of Peace. Caught With the Goods.. (1904, November 3). Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File),p. 11. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986) database. (Document ID: 322838262).

NY Times, The Rise in the Price of Oil:

LA Times, Prejudice Against Oil Men.

The American Experience: the Rockefellers. A Journalistic Masterpiece. The Top 10 Media Blunders of 2008

The End of Apartheid

Dolly- The Cloned Sheep

I found four articles from the New York Times written by Gina Kolata between 1997 and 2002 in which she covered the cloning of Dolly, the sheep, and the consequences that resulted from the procedure. Even though one of the articles mentions that “macabre jokes” evoked from the sheep’s cloning, the articles themselves are not written with sarcasm or ridicule. Rather, I saw all four articles to express the biological complications and success encountered by scientists and the sheep in a way that is easily understood by the public who does not have a scientific background.

“Cloned Sheep Showing Signs of Old Cells, Report Says,” is an article published May 27, 1999 where Scottish scientists- whom created Dolly- reported that the sheep’s genetic material in her cells may cause premature aging. The article mentions that if the assumption is confirmed, then genetic abnormalities would be associated to animal cloning, which would delay the possibilities of human cloning.

This article provided a lot of information regarding telomeres, which were defined as a “virtual aging clock for cells grown in the laboratory… the telomeres in older animals tend to be shorter than they are in younger animals.” I enjoyed reading this article because it presented the opposing views of various scientists. In my opinion, the article was objective because there was a balance between the success of a cloned animal and the genetic problems that resulted. The controversy in the article is whether or not Dolly’s telomeres are shorter than what they had been reported to be earlier.

Dr. Judith Campisi, who studies cellular aging at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, responded, “I’m not convinced the results are meaningful,” to cancer researcher, at the Whitehead Institute of Technology, Dr. Robert Weinberg’s statement that “it is difficult to distinguish between 22-kilobase-long telomeres and 19-kilobase-long telomeres.”

On February 14, 1998, Gina Kolata from the New York Times wrote an article about Dr. Ian Willmut’s acceptance at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that he intended to try to clone an adult animal once more.

Critic Dr. Norton D. Zinder, a microbiologist at Rockefeller University in Manhattan challenged that Dr. Wilmut did not provide sufficient evidence to prove that Dolly was the clone of an adult. Because the cloning of Dolly was possible through the udder cell of a dead ewe, Dr. Zinder and other critics do not validate Dolly’s creation; hence, these scientists expect the process to be repeated.

Dr. Wilmut responded that attempting to successfuly clone a sheep from an original udder cell would take one-thousand tries and half a million dollars. Furthermore, Dr Wilmut reassured the audience that further tests were in process at other laboratories to prove that Dolly was certainly “a clone derived from the adult sheep.”

Dr. Ted Friedman, gene therapy researcher at the University of California in San Diego stated, “We will never reach an ethical consensus on this any more than on abortion.”

Coverage of Dolly the sheep provided, in my opinion, adequate information to inform the public sphere about the pros and cons regarding cloning. Cloning is a very controversial topic because it touches on religious, humanitarian, scientific, and spiritual concerns. For readers who want to base their support for cloning on scientific facts, the New York Times and reporter Gina Kolata used scientists from various parts of the world, specialists in a broad selection of science, and those with opposing views. I think it is important to emphasize that not all coverage regarding Dolly was comical or mere “macabre jokes.” The articles I read did not make me change my mind about cloning; however, I admire the scientific advances that are happening and the human potential to explore and maneuver lives.

Cloning, abortion, and gay marriages: all topics of controversy that as Doctor Friedman said, we will never be able to reject or support as a country. These three topics are subject to scrutiny because of people’s religion and morality. Hence, it is the newspaper’s responsibility to provide solely facts and or opinions, but not fancied with sarcasm, ridicule, and “macabre jokes.”

By GINA KOLATA. (1998, February 14). Creator of Cloned Sheep Says He Will Try to Repeat Process. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. A7. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 116988636).

By GINA KOLATA. (1999, May 27). Cloned Sheep Showing Signs Of Old Cells, Report Says. New York Times (1857-Current file),A19. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 117178516).

The "Unsinkable" Titanic

“Rule of Sea” an article by the New York Times on April 16, 1912 reported that the Titanic sank at 2:20 a.m. Monday April 15th after “the biggest steamship in the world” was sunk by an iceberg and went to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean; possibly taking 1,400 passengers and crewmembers.

The article emphasized that members from the White Star Line, the company that owned and built the Titanic, did not want to admit that everyone aboard the Titanic was not safe. In addition, the article includes Mr. Franklin’s (Vice President and General Manager of the International Mercantile Marine) confession that it was impossible for neither one of the two ships sent to answer the Titanic’s call for help had reached the Titanic’s location before ten o’ clock, which would have been seven and a half hours after “the big Titanic buried her nose beneath the waves and pitched downward out of sight.”
Furthermore, the New York Times’ article revealed that Captain Haddock, from the Olympic, the Titanic’s sister ship, gave the public false reassurances saying that the Titanic was being towed to port by another ship. Only the White Star offices were aware that the Titanic sank.

The article concluded that no one ashore could say what caused the great ship to hit bottom because the Titanic could have sunk as a result of a mechanical error or a collision with an iceberg.

In Discovering the News, Michael Schudson writes that during the first two decades of the twentieth century, even at the New York Times, it was not common for journalists to see a clear separation between facts and values. However, I would argue that The NY Times article did a great job investigating and illuminating to the public about the two different stories that were told from members of the White Star. Though, I thought it was interesting that at the beginning of the article, the article affirms that an iceberg sank the Titanic; yet, at the end, the article poses two possibilities for the incident.

I learned that Carr Van Anda, an editor at the New York Times, organized coverage with survivors of the Titanic who had returned to New York by renting one floor of a local hotel and setting up four phone lines. The New York Times was the only newspaper to report that the Titanic had sunk.

I researched the Washington Post and the earliest article reporting on the Titanic I found was dated July 31, 1986.

“No Gash From Iceberg Seen on Titanic: Discovery of Buckled Hull Plates Casts New Light on Collision,” by Boyce Rensberger, says that explorers who completed eleven days in small submarines observing the Titanic did not find the presumable “300-foot gash” torn on the ship’s side as a result of a collision with an iceberg. The article provides six distinct pictures and a picture diagram with labeled sections of the ship.

Robert D. Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was the Washington Post’s source. Ballard examined most of the “882-foot Titanic’s hull” and stated that most likely, the separation of steel plates facilitated leakage to sink the ship.

Because a gash was not evident and survivors did not recall feeling a sudden collision, Ballard, along with other analysts believed that the “ship suffered not so much a crushing blow as a slicing by a sharp wedge of ice.”

I thought both articles were controversial because the one published in 1912 focused on challenging facts that the captain and manager provided. The Washington Post’s article proves that the Titanic sank due to a mechanical complication, which is controversial because then the public realizes that the incident could have been avoided if more careful attention would have been devoted to the structure of the ship.

The stories of the Titanic reminded me of September 11 coverage. News media gathered information and “informed” the public that the U.S. was under attack, it told us the number of passengers on the planes, the rescue plan, and it showed us emotional images continuously. As time passed, analysts began questioning the event and now, the public has sufficient news stories and documentaries where we learn that September 11 had been planned and that even former President Bush was involved.

I see that the event of September 11 is of greater magnitude compared to the Titanic because more lives were lost. But both events rose emotional and controversial stories that are still talked about and questioned today. What really happened?

Bill Clinton Impeachment

First Cloned Sheep Dolly

First Cloned Sheep, Dolly, Creates Scientific Stir

In 1997 the Scientific community was changed forever as Britain embryologist, Ian Wilmut along with a team of researchers announced he had cloned the first sheep Dolly. Wilmut took the DNA of a sheep and created a cloned lamb, Dolly. This discovery shocked many on a broad range of levels, varying from scientific shock to ethical uneasiness. Two articles from The New York Times report on the discovery of Dolly with two varied outlooks. “Scientist Reports First Cloning Ever of Adult Mammal” explains the cloning process in great detail and can be intriguing to a scientific mind or quite dry as I experienced. “With Cloning of A Sheep, the Ethical Ground Shifts” debates whether cloning may become potentially beneficial or harmful.

In “Scientist Reports First Cloning Ever of Adult Mammal” the process of cloning Dolly starting with a mammary cell is explained intricately. This article, published February 23, 1997, states, “The method could work for any animal and that he hoped to use it next to clone cattle.” This article is all-encompassing as it provides scientific knowledge of how Dolly was cloned and implications for the future of cloning. This article also provides many quotes from Doctor Wilmut and counters his points with quotes from other medical researchers. This article is well written, although it may be hard to understand for some readers who get bored by facts. The article sticks to the point and doesn’t shy away from the facts for the most part, besides a few quotes.

In the article “With Cloning of A Sheep, the Ethical Ground Shifts” although this is article is somewhat contemporary, I feel that it may have some bias as it starts out with, “When a scientist whose goal is to turn animals into drug factories…” Whether that is true or not, I’m not sure, but Dr. Wilmut never said that was his goal in the article and thus I think it may be a presumption. The article than goes into greater depth in the scientific way Dolly was cloned. It also offers points and counterpoints of why Dolly and future cloning may be beneficial or harmful. This article is also well written and even includes implications for cloning such as genetic engineering. This article allows the reader to understand the issue at hand and make a good decision for him/herself about cloning.

Although I believe both articles to be well written and not have a lot of fluff, I personally like the article, “With Cloning of A Sheep, the Ethical Ground Shifts.” I prefer this article, because it made me think more of what my viewpoint on cloning would be if there ever were decisions to be made about it. This article also kept my attention longer because it was more about ethics than just the scientific way of how cloning came about. However, I found both of these articles to be in the AP style and all the quotes they had for the most part were applicable and added more depth and analysis to the issue at hand.


“With Cloning of A Sheep, The Ethical Ground Shifts” :

“Scientist Reports First Cloning Ever of Adult Mammal” :

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Home PC Future

It was the late 1970s and the age of home computers had just begun. Soon, computers would run entire households: turning on lights, doing your taxes, balancing your checkbook and even preparing your meals. They would do every single menial task using a chip that was the same size as the one that existed in pocket calculators, but with the power of the 1949 ENIAC computer, which was the size of a city block. The home computer would completely take control of our lives, and we’d be living the lives as seen on the cartoon “The Jetsons.”

Well, they were pretty close.

In 1977 the Apple II home computer launched and it rang alarms declaring the future had arrived. The New York Times picked this up as an opportunity to explore the realm of home computers. In their coverage, they sought to find a purpose, a reason for owning a home computer. The Apple II cost $1,300 when it first came out, and was a lot of money for a regular consumer to invest in. There simply had to be a reason to buy this computer. They interviewed other computer makers, who all boasted the fact that their computers were going to make people’s lives easier, especially businesses. There was no real reason why the average household should have this computer, but the possibility for them to have it lingered.

The Los Angeles Times took a different approach. They seemed excited about the future of technology. The story that particularly struck me started out by outlining an outlandish detail of a computerized lifestyle, where the computer did everything you could possibly think of. It recognized that computers to many were something belonging to the elite, but pointed to a future where everyone had one. They also recognized people’s fear in the use of computers. They noted that children would most likely be the ones who fully grasp technology, which struck me because often adults will say that today; that their kids know how to use computers better than they do, despite it not being an integral part of their lives.

These stories are easily compared to contemporary stories. Technology moves so fast that coverage is very much accelerated as well, but always look ahead. Tech stories often involve new technologies and how they are supposed to changed people’s lives, or how they can be applied with other technologies. For instance, the advent of web applications has brought a whole new dialogue into the tech community: is cloud-computing, that is, applications running on servers on the Internet and accessing the data through a web browser (ex. Google Docs), relevant? Many speculate its future and its possible uses, while others disagree and say its useless, much like the newspapers did back in the 1970s when discussing home computers.

It is interesting to see how confused and shocked people were of home computers nearly 30 years ago when we think about how we use them today, and how important they are in our daily lives. Back then, they didn’t know what to do with them, and now we don’t know what to do without them.


• Cook, Loiuse. "Your Own Computer May Soon Combat Bill Gremlins." Los Angeles Times 24 Oct. 1977: D12.
• Dembart, Lee. "Computer Show's Message: 'Be the First on Your Block'" New York Times 26 Aug. 1977: 10.

The ENIAC Super Brain

The ENIAC computer was heralded as a super brain by the press. It was marveled as a great technological advance in a time where technology was just beginning. The ENIAC was unveiled in 1946 and was funded by the U.S. Military. Its main use seemed to be centered on calculating missile paths during wartime. The press was either amazed by this grand computer brain and its use in the field or its use in the advancement of technology.

The New York Times reported that this was a “mathematical brain” that could do computations 5000 times faster than a human could. The stories seemed to focus around its technological aspects, going over countless figures discussing how fast it was compared to other computers in that era. It doesn’t even mention its main purpose as a machine to help the military project missile paths during war. The story revolves around how this machine is smarter than a human being. In the 40s, I’m sure that this news came as a shock. A machine better than a human being, not physically, but intellectually? The headlines made sure people wondered that and used that to hook them into reading the article, where it bombarded them with facts and figures.

The Los Angeles Times barely mentioned the speed or the figures in the articles I found. Instead it focused on how it will be a great help to troops out fighting wars. This makes complete sense since the purpose of the ENIAC was to do just that. They also tended to call the machine a ‘weird robot,’ which sort of speaks to a fear in the use of these devices. Robots are almost analogous to monsters; if they aren’t helping us, they are taking over the world. There were still stories about how this will help man solve problems, and talk about its technological aspects, but always start right away in telling us how useful this will be for military use.

It makes sense for a country to be enamored with wartime technology. They had just gotten out of a war and a machine boasted as a giant brain could solve problems that might prevent anymore bloodshed would probably seem like a great idea. Computers today are very much presented in this fashion. Access to technology is regarded to be an essential aspect of one’s life, yet there is still this amazement and wonderment in it. It is still seen as a way to better our lives and the lives of others, just as the ENIAC was supposed to better the lives of mathematicians back then.


• "Era of 'Thinking Machines' Forecast in UCLA Preview." Los Angeles Times 30 July 1948: 1.
• Lissner, Will. "Mechanical 'Brain' Has Its Troubles." New York Times 14 Dec. 1947: 49.
• "Mechanical Brain Can Work Problems Too Deep For Man." Los Angeles Times 22 Aug. 1949: 24.

Genocide in Rwanda

Exactly fifteen years ago today, the three-month massacre of hundreds of thousands of Tutsi and moderate Hutus began.

While South Africa was celebrating the end of 40 years of apartheid, a mass extermination campaign in Rwanda was in full swing. The Hutu ethnic group, comprising 90 percent of the population, efficiently executed a campaign of ethnic cleansing that resulted in a genocide that the world noticed too late. The United Human Rights Council estimates up to 800,000 deaths.

“Why was there no intervention?” is the question many ask.
Also, why wasn’t this tragedy listed in Newseum’s 100 most newsworthy stories? Finally, how does media coverage and hesitation to use the word “genocide” compare to the situation in Sudan’s region of Darfur now?

One reason for the limited awareness of the enormity of the situation, in both Darfur and Rwanda, is the lack of journalists and foreign presence in the country. The Star Tribune’s article, “Americans, other foreigners flee Rwanda violence,” was published April 11, five days after the Rwanda violence started.

The article details the evacuation of foreign citizens and United Nation employees early on in the genocide, stating that “ethnic violence appeared to slacken” but that a rebel advance on the capital could “tilt the country into a full-scale civil war.” Without reporters present to witness the turmoil of the country, and the use of words like “civil war”, the severity of situation is not fully communicated to the international community.

Currently, it is difficult for foreign journalists to obtain visas in Sudan. Also, as U.S. Marine Brian Steidle wrote in his book “The Devil Came on Horseback”, the African Union forbid him from photographing victims and burned villages in Darfur because his high-end camera was “too imposing”. In both Rwanda and now in Darfur, the misunderstanding of the severity of the situation can be attributed to the lack of reporters on the ground, partly because of the government’s attempts to hide the reality.

Finally, I looked at an article in the Journal Bulletin Washington Bureau: “Pell decries Rwanda’s ‘genocide’ but opposes U.S. invasion”. Published June 14, 1994, the article describes Sen. Claiborne Pell’s belief that the violence in Rwanda was indeed genocide, despite the Clinton administration’s hesitation to classify it as such. However, he believed intervention should be left to the U.N.
“Rwanda is a more remote part of the world than Europe (where the Holocaust took place), and more of our citizens' ancestors came from Europe” he said, in reference to his support for U.S. intervention of the Holocaust but not of Rwanda.

“African solutions to African problems” is an ideology some follow, but no matter what one’s beliefs, the media underestimating the extent of a situation, intentionally or not, can be detrimental to efficient international response. (Which is arguably a reason why the U.S. and the U.N. initially hesitated to call Rwanda a genocide).

I believe this should have been on the list of Newseum’s top stories not only because of the magnitude of the event, but because of the media’s specific role in the interpretation, which arguably didn’t prompt enough international response. The Rwandan genocide is a clear example of how the angle and extent of coverage can effect the public's awareness and understanding of a tragedy.



Apartheid ends in South Africa

Fifteen years ago, the segregated public facilities between racial groups and relocation to barren plots of land and denial of citizenship to black Africans came to an end in South Africa.

The black African population, comprised of nine official languages and dozens of ethnic groups, accounted for nearly 80 percent of the population. However, it was oppressed by the minority ruling party for over forty years.
On April 27, 1994, the first all-inclusive election took place, electing self-proclaimed freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, as president.

However, the end of apartheid in this former British-colony did not happen overnight. Nor was the negotiation process between the dominating National Party, and Mandela’s ANC (African National Congress) an easy process.

I compared a news article from the New York Times and a story from The Guardian. The NY Times article is a positive hard news story about the election, and the UK editorial is a commentary about South Africa’s future under this new government, analyzing the hurdles South Africa must still overcome in its quest for equality.
In conclusion, the second article provides more background and analysis of apartheid by placing it in historical context, while the American story focuses solely on the result of the 40 year struggle: the election, without providing background leading up to the election.

The NY Time’s article, “ The South African vote: The overview; Mandela proclaims a victory: South Africa is ‘Free at last!’”, published May 3, 1994, only quotes two political figures. The first is Frederik de Klerk, the leader of the National Party which dominated during apartheid’s 40 years reign. The second is Mandela, representing the anti-apartheid struggle. Only positive quotes recognizing the negotiation efforts between the two men are used, as well as quotes explaining the structure of the new power-sharing government.

Details like “a choir of 70 voices erupted into a liberation song” and Mandela toasting to the new South Africa “with a flute of sweet sparkling wine” are details sprinkled throughout the story to create a more cinematic feel. The article reports the statistics of the election and ends with quote by de Klerk, “After so many centuries, all of South Africa is now free.”

By focusing solely on the statistics of the election and using only positive quotes to enhance the “happy-ending” feeling of the story, the article fails to acknowledge the complexity of the relations between faction groups within the equality movement and the concern among the National Party to hand over power in writing a new constitution. Is South Africa really free as de Klerk proclaimed?

This story is reflective of American journalism in the early 1990s because the build-up of drama enhances the “cinematic” feel of the story, while also making sure to report the facts of an event. However, as Lippman argued, reporters needs to provide background of events in their stories and not merely report facts and info without context. For example, Mandela’s over 27 years in prison for his cause was not even mentioned in the story. While all the facts are here, it is the omitting of facts that is a disservice to the public's understanding of this complex transition of power.

The article “A moment of limbo before the dawn of a new epoch” in The Guardian, published May 3, 1994, starts out, “In practice nothing has changed...In theory everything has changed.” This skeptical attitude is arguably a more realistic observation of what was occuring.

The article quotes an officer of Transitional Exec. Council, who provides insight into what will happen to the “black homelands” that existed under apartheid. An ANC lawyer says the transition process will be “plenty of confusion, a fair amount of corruption and a great deal of frustration. But in the end we'll muddle through - we always do."

Unlike the first article, the UK story doesn’t quote political leaders but instead officials with insight into the power structures of the government. Instead of hailing the election as a triumph over evil, it prompts examination of the future effects and difficulties of the new regime.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Chernobyl Disaster

On April 26 1986 a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union exploded. Today the Chernobyl disaster is considered to be the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history, and the only level 7 nuclear accident on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

I looked at two articles from 1986 in the NY Times and one article from the BBC from April 28 1986, the day the Soviets announced the accident.

The article in the Times from April 28, “Soviet Announces Nuclear Accident at Electric Plant,” By Serge Schmemann, was printed on the front page in the far upper right column with a small graphic of a map depicting the location of the Chernobyl plant. The article shared the page with stories such as: Judge Puts Off Gotti Crime Trial Until August to Revamp the Jury, Cuomo Presents Legislative Plan to Combat Craft, and New Ring of Suburbs Springs Up Around City. Two of the other articles had larger photos than the Chernoble graphic.

Schmemann referred to the Soviet announcement as being, “terse,” and wrote that a Soviet dispatch followed the announcement saying that there had been many nuclear mishaps in the United States and that an American antinuclear group registered 2,300 accidents, breakdowns and other faults in 1979.
Schmemann writes that, “The practice of focusing on disasters elsewhere when one occurs in the Soviet Union is so common that after watching a report on Soviet television about a catastrophe abroad, Russians often call Western friends to find out whether something has happened in the Soviet Union.”

The article cited Tass, the Soviet Government Press Agency, the Whitehouse Chief of Staff, a Swedish diplomat, the Swedish Minister of Energy, Birgitta Dahl, a Swedish official at the Institute for Protection Against Radiation, Scandinavian authorities, and United States experts.

Schmemann also wrote that the Soviets did not admit to the nuclear disaster until hours after Sweden, Finland and Denmark reported unusually high radioactivity levels in their skies and that Scandinavian authorities said the radioactivity levels did not pose any danger. The writer of the article wrote that although this was the first nuclear accident that the Soviets admitted to, the U.S. believes there were two others.

According to the NYT article by Schmemann, the full extent of the damage was not yet clear, but that U.S. experts said that although it could be environmentally disastrous, it would probably pose no danger outside of the Soviet Union.

In this article, casualties are not mentioned. Schmemann briefly mentions that 25,000 to 30,000 people live in a settlement surrounding Chernobyl. The article’s focus is on relations between the Soviet Union and the U.S. and The Soviet Union and Scandinavia. The article published on the same day found on the BBC’s “On This Day” page, titled “Soviets admit nuclear accident,” paints a different picture. The BBC article focuses on the possible casualties, the potential for radiation sickness, and the construction of the nuclear reactor. While Schmemann’s article downplays the fallout that reached Sweden, the BBC article reports that, “The discharge of radioactivity was so great that by the time the fallout reached Sweden, 1,000 miles away, it was still powerful enough to register twice the natural level of radioactivity in the atmosphere.”
The NYT article states that the levels in Sweden were 30 to 40 percent higher than normal. It seems to downplay the nuclear disaster aspect and highlight the bad attitude of the Soviets.
The NYT article was concentrated on the behavior of the Soviets and the fact that they initially denied any problem when Sweden suspected that the radiation was coming from the Soviet Union.
Neither article gives much information on casualties because it was difficult at the time to get that information from the Soviets. Tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union were high during this time and that is reflected in the NYT article.

In a NYT article by Stuart Diamond from August 1986, Diamond wrote that experts were disagreeing over the expected Cancer deaths from Chernobyl. Some experts were saying that they had misinterpreted Soviet data and that estimated Cancer victims would be far less than they had originally estimated. Diamond wrote that, “The Americans reacted with anger to the lowered projections and said there was an attempt to deflate the figures out of concern that public reaction would hurt the nuclear power industry around the world.”
The Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath and the victims are still written about by journalists today who still question the accuracy of Russian casualty reports.

Both NYT writers give viewpoints from both sides of the issue, but the writer’s perspective is evident in both articles. During this time journalists were encouraged to be objective just as they are encouraged to be objective today. Although journalists often include opposing viewpoints in their articles it’s common to get a sense of the writers perspective even today.