Assignment 2: Comparing New York Times Commentary on Communication Revolutions, a Century (Plus) Apart

For the second primary source assignment, read the two articles linked below and, in your post, explore how their discussions of the impact of technology compare and contrast. As you read, think about how communication and information are closely overlapping concepts. The railroad, the electronic telegraph, and internet are all technologies that, at their heart, allowed for more rapid communication and linked together society in a new way, while provoking a lot of discussion about just how things were new.

Some questions that might help guide you, suggested but not required: What powers or changes in society do each author attribute to communications technology? How would you describe the overall tone or attitude about the effects of new technology in each piece?

Beyond the themes these articles address, you can also think about the language at a more basic level: What kind of words are used and can this tell you something about the broader culture that each piece emerged out of?

Finally, say something–at least briefly–about how themes presented here relate to our readings and/or class discussion on the history of information.

Good luck!

GEORGE STEPHENSON’S CENTENARY. (1881, Jun 09). New York Times (1857-1922)

Friedman, T. L. (2013, Jan 30). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as much as I.Q. New York Times (1923-Current File)