Tuesday, 10 November 2009


The lecture about American expansion and Europe helped me understand why the individuals I am learning about are relevant to Journalism.

The first evidence of photojournalism as we know it today came from the American Civil War in the 1860s. Chris said that we could see those iconic images from that war were in our minds, in some way or another, I certainly could. He couldn't have emphasized his point any clearer.

William Randolph Hearst's methods appear to be the reason why News City was taught to us in the way it was last year.

First rule: 'Tell' the news (although Hearst made a fortune with the San Francisco Chronicle by exaggerating what he told of where the gold was in 1849!)

Second rule: Be aware of your audience. Much of his readership were semi-illiterate migrants whose first language varied massively, so simplified English was employed to reach out to them. This became known as the 'yellow press.'

Back in this country, Lord Northcliffe was adding his part to Journalism history, and it is still relevant today. He had a lot of success with what could be described as the early 20th century's version of 'reader response.' We have comments and blogs. They had letters.

In his paper Answers, readers would send letters with questions...and yes, you guessed it, they would be answered. This is a clear example of what is now known as a feature.

Louise Owen, Northcliffe's Private Secretary 1902-1922 said: "...his gift of acquiring information startled me; his knowledge of affairs was uncanny. He had a curious instinct for asking questions, and seemed to know each subject as thoroughly as the specialists themselves."

I am being trained to be something resembling this description.

More comparisons between Reporting Skills and Northcliffe: The 250-word rule. When churning out stories to fill a newspaper, this is the guideline. However, if you're doing September 11 - the morning after, it would probably be wise to temporarily ignore this!

In the words of Chris and Brian: "Give it what it's worth!"

(P.S - I originally thought it would be clever to make this post exactly 250 words, but I'm trying to get marks for my degree, so gave it a tad more depth!)

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