My last column of the year focuses on the rising levels of income inequality in the United States and potential solutions to the problem.
While many argue that journalism is to be learned through experience and inherited through intuition, much can be gained from a classroom education. Today’s journalists must be well-versed not only in the classic skills of the field, but in the increasingly vital tangentials of technology and data that now play an active role in modern journalism. At the University of Notre Dame, the Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy minor presents the ideal opportunity for aspiring journalists to learn the essentials while simultaneously purusing additional courses of study in other realms. As many scholars and field experts note, truly great journalists often draw from a wealth of knowledge that spans much further than the specifics of the trade itself. With this holistic attitude in mind, the seven following courses encapsulate the “ideal” JED minor, to be paired with a major in a complementary field:
Chapters 7 through 10 of Christopher Daly’s Covering America cover forty-three years of journalistic history that include the nation’s worst depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and a president’s assassination. Accompanying these historical monuments are the simultaneous rises of nationally circulated magazines, radio technology, photojournalism, media stars, and television. As the United States develops as a country, the field of journalism continues to adapt as well, as new technologies and economic forces emerge.
“Professionalizing the News in Peace and War” chronicles the rise of professionalism through the early twentieth century and into modern journalism’s first major test: World War I. Christopher Daly begins the sixth chapter of his engaging telling with the introduction of journalism’s move toward a true career discipline. By the late 1800s, prominent members of the field were considering the future of their newly developed artform and how it should develop in the professional sphere. While most agreed that a good journalist was born with many of the qualities she needed to be successful, including “imagination, initiative, impulses, enthusiasm, and a sense of humor and irony,” it was also decided that much could be taught—including “clear, concise English prose, law, ethics, research skills, history, economics, statistics, modern languages, and science—and improved in a classroom setting guided by experts. The University of Missouri was the first to institute a formal journalism school in 1908 that included specialized classes taught both by professors of other disciplines and former editors of existing newspapers, as well as a student run newspaper for hands-on learning. Columbia University quickly followed, thanks to a $2 million gift from Joseph Pulitzer (only to be accessed after his death). Its world-renowned school, housed in its own building, and the famous Pulitzer prize were both born in 1912, paving the way for 109 additional schools to come. Continue reading
Christopher Daly’s “Putting the News in Newspapers: 1833-1850” was both interesting and relevant to discussions of the news media today. His analysis of technology, culture, and society as the three major aspects of the field’s history ring true today, as news continues to develop and adapt according to the same three factors. In 1833, technological advances in the forms of steam-powered printing presses and vastly improved modes of communication and transportation (literally) paved the way to a nation capable of sharing information closer to real-time than ever before. Simultaneously, American cultural norms had contributed to the literacy of an exceptionally high percentage of the adult population. Whether this normalcy was because of the need to read religious texts, ballots, and almanacs or if such things prompted it, the United States “was probably the first country on earth where it was considered normal for adults to be able to read.” Finally, the social construction of the country at this time was highly conducive to the spread of newspapers: larger cities and a growing middle class perfectly set the stage for an explosion of media that has lived on to the present day.
I feel that I’ve yet to fully realize how lucky I am to have spent Tuesday evening with John Jeremiah Sullivan, a gem I just recently discovered. If you find yourself unable to recognize the name, as I did a short week ago, relieve yourself of ignorance by exploring his extensive trove. Sullivan, like legends David Foster Wallace and Joan Didion to whom he has been rightly compared, captures the fabric of our weird, vast American culture in a way that makes the ordinary deliriously funny and the strange surprisingly sympathetic and real. In his works, he recounts marching with impassioned Tea Partiers, befriending Appalachian Christian Rock fans named Bub and Pee Wee, and toking up before “It’s a Small World” with the slightest hope of enduring the saccharine parallel universe that is Disney.
With virtually no rain for over 11 months, California’s cattle ranchers are forced to take extreme measures to ensure the health of the thousands of animals under their care. See above for the story of one local rancher who has turned to hauling water on a daily basis to fill the troughs that have run dry.
For my final project in Gender & Popular Culture (AMST 3010), I have decided to explore the spectrum of representation of gender in American popular music. The creative aspects of the project include a video compilation and an accompanying graphic and “festival poster.” They portray eleven songs that serve as case studies for the vast variation of gender attitudes across genres and eras. For my Final Paper, I take an in-depth look specifically at the positive representations of gender and explore the intersectionality and various feminisms they incorporate.