Friday, September 28, 2012

Writing assignment #5: Find an issue of a periodical or journal at the Broadcasting Archives from before you were born. Pick an article, summarize it briefly and try to give the subject some historical context. Describe any illustrations for the article. If appropriate, describe the magazine itself – its style, its intended audience, the kind of advertisements included. (250-350 words; 2-3 secondary sources).


  1. The periodical I found from the Broadcasting Archives is Broadcasting Vol. 83 July-September 1972. The article I picked was an editorial written about Jim McKay and his handling of the 1972 Munich Massacre at the Olympic Games where 11 Israeli hostages were killed by “Black September” terrorists.

    The editor says that McKay and ABCs coverage of the event re-emphasized “the incredible ability of this medium to draw together and entire planet in both the glory and the tragedy of the real world. Television, again, was all things to all people last week.” He also commends McKay who, “without missing a beat, switched from the reporting and analysis of athletic prowess to the eyewitness of terrorist blackmail.”

    I found this very interesting because while I understand the impact of McKay and his handling of the hostage situation has had on today’s society, to see that it had a similar impact only a week after the event proves that it was just as important then as it is now. McKay will forever be remembered for his calm and collective composure during those tense hours but to find a source that says his impact was nearly instantaneous just proves it even more.

  2. I found a very interesting article about a person’s experience on participating on a television game show in the 1950s. One of my favorite game shows on television today is “Wheel of Fortune,” so I was incredibly surprised when I saw an article about the show in a book full of magazine articles from 1952! This really made me want to research the history of the show and I was surprised with what I found.
    Though they are not connected now, “The Wheel of Fortune” actually ran for a year in 1952 and was hosted by Todd Russell. In typical 1950s fashion, the way that you were invited on the show is if you were a person who constantly did good deeds. The wheel was spun and contestants could win up to $1,000 (Schumin)!
    The article I found discussed what Mrs. Ottilia Stearns did to earn her spot on the show back in 1952. She said her friend, without her knowledge sent in a letter about how she has done outstanding community service, which allowed her to go on the show. One example that she gave is that she shipped several hundred pounds of children’s clothing for war orphans and displaced children. Another example is that she found rooms and homes for United Nations workers and their families to stay when they didn’t have anywhere to go. On the show she won a typewriter and a stove. She ended up keeping all her winnings and giving her old stove and typewriter to friends in need (Stearns).
    “Wheel of Fortune” was off the air until 1975 lasting only a year as well. From 1983 on, “The Wheel of Fortune” is the show we know it as today with host Pat Sajak (Stearns).

  3. I found the coolest advertisement from 1926 in the broadcast archives! The ad was for the Bradley-Amplifier which was an item that amplifies the sound of instruments and gives the sound better clarity. It was a full page advertisement that had illustrations in shades of red, white and black. the coupon was part of the full page advertisement but I noticed that you couldn't cut it out like today's ads. Everything looked classic and old0fashioned. The literature of the advertisement was basically an article. NO advertisement today would have that much text. Today's ads are all about color and capturing a few seconds of attention from an audience. People have very short attention spans today, so giving them more than "140 characters" to read is mainly a no-go. There was a diagram of the amplifier as well describing it's structure and functions. In addition, the ad included the amplifier's "retail prices" for the US and Canada ($15 and $21). It was interesting that the prices were simply written like that.

    On a vintage radio forum I found a PDF displaying many Allen-Bradley radio devices, including the amplifier:

  4. I found a small section on presenting styles in Radio Broadcast Magazines from 1925. It was a small section from "The March of Radio," telling about the need for an authoritative voice when presenting a subject over the airwaves. It is quite remarkable considering how it would be quite odd to hear an authoritative presenter on radio today. Instead, most presenters tend to be quite nice, until you get into the talk radio circuit. Then the voice becomes more authoritative, saying what they believe is right and wrong. What was amazing were the pages of advertisements before going into the actual writing. There were advertisements for so many products for radio broadcasts from home. Some were for broadcasts from Quaker Oatmeal tins, which made radio seem like quite the hobby nearly 90 years ago! This was primarily for those who were using radio as a hobby more so than an actual profession, as they received guidance from the stars above and many more ads about what they could buy to make their radios better.

  5. I found an article by Kenneth Walker in the 1992 edition of the Communicator on blacks suffering from industrial biases in the journalism field. It basically just highlighted that in the annual survey that takes place identified a problem that has existed for many years, which is having diversity within the workplace for reporters in the journalism field. The study found that of all network journalists, no African Americans placed in the top 56 in appearances on the flagship evening news broadcasts. George Strait, who is a medical correspondent for ABC news tied for 57th. NBC news was found the least diverse while CBS was found the most diverse. Rev. Jesse Jackson made comments about the situation saying it was harder for the black journalist because you have to be as competent and professional as Edward Murrow, but had to have the passion for justice of Mal Goode (the first black network correspondent.) Finally Walker ended the article with a sense of pessimism saying that the next year the numbers will be no different, because the networks that have room for Murrow these days won’t make room for Mal Goode. I overall found this article very interesting because I have attended many panels and other things discussing why minorities aren’t as represented through the media with journalist reporters. I always just thought that it was a field that was less sought after in the African American community, but this article is a little bit of a wake up call. I would hope that the numbers today would reflect at least somewhat better than it did in 1991.

  6. I chose an article from a 1989 February issues of National Lampoon titled “The Michael Deaver Apologias” by Andy Simmons. The piece consists of four fictional letters written various members of the White House, explaining away all manner of absurd and ridiculous behavior with the excuse of Deaver’s alcoholism. The letters are addressed to Mikhail Gorbachev, Roy Cohen, Margaret Thatcher, and Ivan Boesky, all major players in the White House at the time. In the upper right-hand corner is a black and white picture of an annoyed-looking Michael Deaver.
    Deaver was at the time an advisor for President Reagan and had just been found guilty of perjury about his lobbying activities on the behalf of corporate clients. He was able to escape the worst of the charges by explaining he was suffering from alcoholism, and as a result only received a fine for his behavior (Clymer). The Lampoon article explains the events surrounding Deaver and compiles letters essentially mocking them in their entirety. It is very much like an SNL skit, which is appropriate since many writers for the Lampoon magazine, television, and radio show would eventually compile SNL’s original cast—Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and John Belushi to name a few (NPR).
    The Deaver letters were composed by Andy Simmons. He and his brother, Michael Simmons was hired on as writers for the magazine by their father, and one of the original producers of Lampoon, Matty Simmons (Castellani).
    The magazine is made of coarse, plain paper and is filled with parodied articles, comics, and spoof ads. The cover is done in the style of pop-art, with bright colors and cartoon-ey illustrations of a teary-eyed Mike Tyson being berated by his scantily-clad wife. Lampoon was known for their eye-catching covers, their most notable one a photo of a gun held to a doleful looking dog’s head and the caption “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog”. The cover ranked 7th on the American Society of Magazine Editor’s “Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years” (American Society of Magazine Editors).
    Lampoon embodies all the values that magazines like Mad and shows like SNL, and Mad TV hold dear—shocking, clever, boundary-pushing, raunchy, and above all, funny. Comedy sketch shows also have roots in its tradition of invoking current events and public events, as evident by the Deaver spoof”. The major turning point the magazine has from its future counterparts is it pushes the envelope further. One section is titled “The Naked Truth” and is made up of five nude photos of the “women you’ve always really wanted to see naked”. Readers are invited to thank the publication “by buying the next issue. Horny fucks.”
    Lampoon spawned dozens of successful films including the infamous Animal House, as well as numerous Lampoon Vacation series. It has been credited with revolutionizing the direction of American comedy. American satirist Stephen Colbert “credits the Lampoon with introducing satire that not only eviscerated its subjects, but also did so in the style of its target, like the magazine's letters to the editor, none of which were ever real, or myriad magazine parodies” (Tapper) Lampoon took a major shift in comedy, going from self-deprecation, to aggressive, targeted, mockery .

  7. I found two articles about the 1980 Winter Olympics within the Broadcast Magazines. The first was an article based on ratings for the first week of coverage. ABC claims to be pleased because it beat ratings compared to the 1976 Winter Olympics in Austria, but that specific night, more tuned into “The Exorcist.” In the same article, it is mentioned that NBC was having problems getting ready for the Summer Olympics of that same year in Moscow. $4 million worth of equipment was being held up because Russia invaded Afghanistan and there was a possibility that the U.S. would boycott the 1980 games, which they eventually did.

    The second article was information about the ratings at the end of the Olympics. This time, ABC swept their timeslots because of the U.S. Men’s Ice Hockey team. The American’s win over the Soviets to play for the gold medal created a “wave of nationalism” that helped 170 million people nationwide watch at least some of the Olympic coverage.

    I think it’s interesting that the opening week couldn’t even beat The Exorcist, but by the time the men’s ice hockey team won gold, ABC was, for lack of better words, killing it in the ratings. The Winter Olympics always come second to the Summer Games, but the same thing was seen in 2010 when the U.S. Men’s Ice Hockey team played Canada for the gold medal: ratings spiked when nationalism takes over.

    I also found it interesting that in 1980, ABC paid $15.5 million for the rights to the winter games in Lake Placid. In 2010, NBC paid $2 billion for the rights to the games in Vancouver. My how times have changed.

  8. For this week’s assignment, I selected the spring 1986 edition of the “Journal of Communication”. The cover alone sported a dizzying amount of topics; “Testing geographical bias in international news”, “earthquake coverage by the press”, “television coverage of natural disasters”, “Re-evaluating stereotypes and the Media”, “Pirate Radio in Britain”, “Computers in the ‘Virtual Classroom’”, “‘Family Reunion’ on Korean TV”, “Hollywood History and Culture”, “Holy Wars and Christian Propaganda”, and “Consumer Spending on mass Media”. What first attracted me to the publication was the focus on international media and then I was engrossed by the cultural commentary also included.
    One of the first things that popped up was“Family reunion on Korean TV”, in which the author talks about the South Korean collective national response to a television show. While seemingly esoteric, the analysis of a cultural phenomenon can lead to insight about the state of a society.
    Reading through it, another paper that caught my attention was entitled “Pirate Radio in Britain”. Not too long ago there was a popular movie about Pirate Radio. Because the BBC is the model that US media outlets are most often compared to ( with the advertising vs. government funded model) it was intriguing to explore what could have been. The youth of Britain obviously felt disenfranchised by the lack of programming aimed towards them and so found other outlets. It goes to show, that even in government funded (and therefore government controlled) media, citizen ingenuity will always find a way to dictate content.
    Continuing with my reading my eyes strayed to a line that stated, “Saints were ideal vehicles for conveying prot-national or state messages”. The power relationships between countries and religion is a fascinating subject. This relationship is also deeply entrenched in contemporary society, and has been captured by journalists and the media. Which relates back to my motivations for picking this periodical; it had an encompassing global focus. And yet, this wasn’t meant to be an international policy analysis periodical. It is a collection of papers addressing the role of the media in various contexts.
    But let us pause for a second here in this historical exploration of the archives and consider what effects these periodicals have on today’s journalist. It’s a little sad to read these titles and realize that the issues in 1986 are still afflicting the world today (if in different guises). It almost seems that even 30 years later, we’re still covering the same news. And so the periodical I held in my handl seemed to affirm Socrate’s old adage, “History has taught us that we have learned nothing from history”.

  9. For this assignment I chose to analyze an article from the magazine Radio News. The issue is from November of 1920. The article is called “Registering Radio Messages on Tape: Are the familiar head telephone receivers doomed?” and was authored by A.D. Keogh.

    This article provides a description of how the “Radio signal recorder” worked, and its possible applications for the future. The radio signal recorder was a rudimentary fax machine, invented by William G. H. Finch. Although prototypes existed before Finch’s, his interest in perfecting radio facsimile “led him to amass a portfolio of patents that eventually numbered in the hundreds,” according to

    One of the great things about this article is that the author’s tone is so excited. The introduction reads: “Here is a device which promises some interesting developments in future radio…” The community, both amateur and professional, was so excited by all of these burgeoning new technologies.

    Another thing is that this invention was patented about the same time as a host of other new inventions that would change the world: the remote control. After describing in detail how the radio facsimile device worked, the author goes on to acknowledge the Marconi Company’s new invention that “[rung] a bell upon the receipt of a radio distress signal at sea.”

    According to Finch’s obituary in the New York Times, “He also developed a process for a "talking newspaper," that would produce a printed sound track on newsprint, and a device to allow a reader to reproduce the sound at home.” I find this very interesting because we learned in class that at first radio and newspapers shared a close bond. Newspapers felt it was a public obligation to report show times and supported the growth of radio. However, with Finch’s inventions and his desire to bring radio facsimile to the general public rather than using it purely for commercial applications, according to, I imagine that newspapers were worried such devices would run them out of business.

    Of course, newspapers are on the way out now, but I venture an educated guess that it is much more from the growth of first television, then the internet, then social media and not the radio facsimile that caused the decline of circulating newsprint.


  10. Charlotte Garnett
    Assignment #5

    I found an article from the TV Radio Mirror magazine about Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett’s love lives, in a sense. The two female comedians shared the cover of the magazine in March of 1963. “The Tragedy of Being Funny” was the article I read. As we all know, both women had successful careers in show business. But with laughter, comes the tears. Throughout this article, both women basically explained what they paid for love and what they didn’t get in return.
    The article starts off with an interview Ball did explaining about the love she didn’t bargain for. Before the interview could begin, the reporter had to wait on Balls’ husband, Gary Morton because it was their one-year wedding anniversary and Ball was still wrapped in a golden glow, so she wanted her husband there during the interview. Once the interview began, Ball went on to explain to the reporter about the lavish gifts her and Morton bought for one another and their private sayings they say to one another. She basically went on and on about their love for one another.
    Carol Burnett on the other hand explained during her interview segment of the article about her love life that everyone criticized because she was dating Joe Hamilton, a producer who had 8 kids and was still married when they got together. She tried to explain that she wasn’t dating a married man and the only reason the media talked about it so much was because Hamilton and his wife had 8 children. Burnett felt that if the couple only had about 2 kids, then people wouldn’t have cared so much that she was dating someone who was technically still married. Burnett went on to explain more about her relationship with Hamilton and what she enjoyed doing with him and what kind of person he is.