Instructions for Final Assignments

Presentation (tomorrow, 4/27):

  • Over 2-5 minutes, explain the topic of your research, an idea of what you will have to say about it, and what media you looked at.
  • Using Zoom screen share, show us some portion of your digital presentation/WordPress page (as I said, it can be just an opening section/introduction or as much as you have completed to date)
  • Tell us about what you have found out through your research—it can be an explanation of your argument, merely something interesting or unexpected you discovered, etc.

Final Digital Project (due last day of finals week)

  • This should be a summary of your research, presented on your WordPress site.
  • Include an 1) explanation of key themes (what’s the historical or social context, what about it made it newsworthy?, etc.) about your topic and 2) themes or key details that have emerged from your research on that topic in journalism outlets. As I’ve said in class, the easiest way to approach this–and your paper–is to think of a “story” or narrative you are telling about your subject, then give a presentation of that story.
  • You can include media as well—videos or images or visualizations of data
  • In terms of the length of your digital project/WordPress page, between text and images, aim to make it fill at least 2 pages if it were in a Word document or PDF—not covering every inch of 2 pages, but spaced out and presented in a readable visual arrangement. In terms of giving readers a substantive experience and overview of your work, you might make it longer but that is not required.
  • That’s it. You can look here for some ideas, but there are no stipulations on how you present beyond the above.

Final Essay (due last day of finals week)

  • 5 pages. This should be just like a research paper you would write for any class of intermediate level: give an introduction that offers a broad view of your subject and indicates the direction of your argument or themes; in the body of the paper, balance your analysis of news articles or images or other aspects of visual layout with an incorporation of secondary articles and books that provide historical, social, or cultural context for what you’re writing about; close with a conclusion that brings back in a wider view and says something about the significance of your subject.
  • Use at least 3 scholarly sources—articles, chapters, books—in your paper, and aim for incorporating at least 6 articles.
  • Give either in-text (parentheses) citations or footnotes. It can be MLA or APA format. Bibliography at the end.
  • That’s it. Reach out if you have any questions about your paper.

Videos in Class

Manufacturing ConsentThe “agenda setting” function of the press. Start about minute 32 for an example of the strongest interpretation of the agenda setting theory.

Cambodia: Year Zero – Advocacy journalism. This is an example of advocacy journalism in the Vietnam war era: journalists arguing for change of some sort even as they also do traditional reporting. It is also an example of “adversarial” and “watchdog” journalism, where journalists 1) take a strongly critical stance toward the insitutions and/or individuals involved in the story or 2) approach their work as providing a check on abuses of power.

“What is Media Studies? Key concepts explained!” – A useful summary of key concepts of media studies. This gives an introduction to analyzing all different kinds of media–especially how to look at visual form and representation–and it can all be applied to journalism.

“Cultural History Advice for Students from Professor Ken Bartlett” – He’s kind of condescending, but explains cultural history well.

Every NYT Front Page Since 1852” – A digital journalism history project by Josh Begley.

“Blackface: A cultural history of a racist artform” – From CBS news, with interviews with two cultural historians who explain how they look at media from the past to understand the history of race.

Ray Kurzweil: The Coming Singularity – Google’s Director of Engineering predicts the coming singularity, or the point when humans and supercomputers will merge.

This is Marshall McLuhan – The Medium is the Massage (1967) Interview with Marshall McLuhan explaining his ideas about the consequences of living in an “electric age.”

In-Class Activity

Some useful links/resources

1) Emory United States History Guide Use the left-hand menu to get to “Primary Sources,” and from there, choose an era to find links to news databases. From the “Newspapers” section you can find ProQuest Newspapers and ProQuest Historical Newspapers, which cover the more recent past and the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively. You can also find the database we looked at in class this week, American Historical Newspapers. has also become a very good database. Additionally, you can find databases for periodicals (magazines) further down this page.

2) Emory Libraries US History specialist Dr. Bruchko’s contact information for help with research:

3) BBC Timeline of North American/US History Excellent timeline that lays out major political and cultural events since the Colonial Era.

4) Library of Congress, Chronicling American History: Recommended Topics List Offers short summaries and research suggestions for each topic.

5) Reader’s Companion to American History Fairly comprehensive alphabetical collection of short articles on a large range of events, people, and themes in US history. Offers linked topics at the bottom of each page.

6) Encyclopedia of American Studies Similar resource as above, but puts topics in a cultural scholarship context.

7) American History Now Very useful for getting ideas about what topics recent historians have written on. The first half is an overview of history by era and the second half is an overview by themes.

8) Oxford Research Encyclopedias: American History Huge collection of topic articles, summaries of literature, and further reading

9) Oxford Companion to US History

10) EBSCOhost American History & Life,ip,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=ahl

11) Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political and Legal History

12) A Companion to American Cultural History

13) Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History

14) Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History

15) Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History

16) Cambridge Companion to Modern American Culture

17) A Companion to 19th-Century America

18) Reader’s Companion to the American Presidency

19) International Encyclopedia of Political Science

20) Oxford Encyclopedia of American Business, Labor, and Economic History

21) American Immigration: A Student Companion

22) Project MUSE


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)

Class Schedule

Week 1: Overview Jan. 15

Week 2: Introduction to Digital Archives Jan. 22

Reading: “Archives in Context and As Context,” Kate Theimer, Journal of Digital Humanities.

Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web, “Introduction”; Ch. 1: “Exploring the History Web”; Ch. 3: “Becoming Digital: Preparing Historical Materials for the Web.”

Week 3: The Information Society Jan 27 & 29

First primary source analysis/blog assignment given Due Monday, Feb. 3

Reading: “The Idea of an Information Society,” in Frank Webster, ed., Theories of the Information Society (London: Routledge, 2006).

Marshall McLuhan, selection from The Gutenberg Galaxy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011).

Week 4: Is the Digital “New?” Continuities and Discontinuities in the Culture of Information Feb. 3 & 5

Reading: Selections from: Alex Wright, Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008).

Lev Manovich, “Database as a Genre of New Media,” AI and Society.

Marshall Poe, “The Internet Changes Nothing,” History News Network, 28, 2010.

Week 5: History of Newspapers in the US Feb. 10 & 12

Second primary source analysis/blog assignment given Due Mon., Feb. 17

Reading: Selections from: Christopher B. Daly, Covering the Nation: A Narrative History of a Nation’s Journalism (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012). Pgs. 56-66 and Pgs. 112-150

Week 6: Diversity in Historic Print Media and Its Audiences Feb 17 & 19

Reading: Selections from: David Paul Nord, Communities of Journalism: A History of American Newspapers and Their Readers (Urbana-Champlain: University of Illinois Press, 2006).

Week 7: Journalism as an Economic Force Feb 24 & 26

Reading: Selections from: Gerald Baldasty, The Commercialization of the News in the Nineteenth Century (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993). Chapter 3 Chapter 6 (short conclusion)

Week 8: News and Politics Mar. 2 & 4

Selections from: Paul Starr, The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications (New York: Basic Books, 2005).

Week 9: Spring Break

Week 10: The History of Journalism in an International Context Mar. 16 & 18

Third primary source analysis/blog assignment given Due Mon., Mar. 23

Reading: Selections from: Anthony Smith, The Newspaper: An International History (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1983).

Week 11: Media as Social and Cultural Practice from a Sociological Perspective Mar. 23 & 25

Reading: Selections from: Michael Schudson, Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (New York: Basic Books, 1981).

Week 12: Digital History Projects Mar. 30 & Apr. 1

Week 13: Modern Journalism History/Digital History Projects: The Texas Slavery Project Apr. 6 & 8 Submit a blog post analyzing an article/news feature of your choice and say something about your process finding sources/navigating databases. See “Assignments” section above for more details, 350 words.

Reading: “Examples of Collaborative Digital Humanities Projects,” Lisa Spiro, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities.

“Building New Windows into Digitized Newspapers,” Andrew J. Torget and Jon Christensen, Journal of Digital Humanities.

“Mapping Texts: Visualizing American Historical Newspapers,” Andrew J. Torget and Jon Christensen, Journal of Digital Humanities.

Week 14: Digital History Projects: Coded Racism in Toledo Journalism/Class Project Presentations Apr. 13 & 15 Send me your 3-page project overview. See “Assignments” section above for more details

Reading: Timothy Messer-Kruse, “Racial Proxies in Daily News: A Case Study of the Use of Directional Euphemisms,” Digital Humanities Quarterly.

Week 15: Anticipating the Future of Digital History/Class Project Presentations Apr. 20 & 22

Reading: “The Pasts and Futures of Digital History,” Edward L. Ayers, History News (2001).

Christine L. Borgman, “The Digital Future is Now: A Call to Action for the Humanities” Digital Humanities Quarterly.

Week 16: “Digitization and Its Discontents” Apr. 27 – LAST DAY OF CLASS – Come ready to give a short overview of your project and have at least a little of your digital presentation to share on the screen while you talk (fine if only an intro section). Say what it’s about, what news media you are using, maybe something interesting/surprising you’ve found.

Anthony Grafton, “Future Reading: Digitization and Its Discontents,” The New Yorker, 2007.

Roy Rosenzweig, “Digital Archives are a Gift of Wisdom to be Used Wisely,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2005.

Week 17: Finals Week April 29-May 6

Complete and submit final research project during finals week

Assignment 1: “Atlanta Race Riots,” 1906: Atlanta Constitution and New York Times coverage

For the first primary source analysis, look at the two linked articles about the 1906 Atlanta Race Riots from the Atlanta Constitution and the New York Times, and compose a 250-word response comparing what each publication printed about the events. For this assignment, I want you to concentrate on the language of each article. What do the authors say about the riots? What information do they choose to emphasize to readers about what happened? How does each article frame the events and what, if any, difference is there between the Constitution and the Times coverage?

Please post your response to your WordPress blog by the time of class next Monday, Feb. 3. Be sure to send me an email letting me know the address of your site by next Monday. You can find instructions for setting up WordPress by clicking the folder icon at the top of the left-hand menu of our syllabus homepage. If you have any issues setting up WordPress or accessing the articles here, contact me at nblood [at] emory [dot] edu or talk to me in class. Links below:

Pendleton, H. K. (1906, Oct 13). RESTRAIN NEGRO FROM CRIME BY MAKING HIM RESPECT SELF. The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945)

THE ATLANTA RIOTS. (1906, Sep 25). New York Times (1857-1922)