Monday, October 22, 2012

Writing assignment #8: A 250-word status memo. It should give an account of your search for relevant primary records and secondary sources, the approach you are taking in your research, and the most interesting of your initial findings.


  1. For my semester term paper I am choosing to write about the Amos and Andy show. It was one of the most popular and long running radio shows of all time. It was then turned into a television show which ran for a few years in the early 1950s. The premise of the show consisted of following two friends-Amos and Andy around in the big city in their search of fortune. The show was under a lot of criticism for the way that it portrayed African Americans in the public spotlight in the early 20th century. This is what I am going to be basing my term paper around. Since the show was on first in radio in the 30s and then on television in the 50s, public opinion on the show will change a great deal.
    One of my main allies in writing this paper is looking at the primary sources that are the historically black newspapers. In my research already I have found many papers that discuss why the television show should be taken off of the air. Pressure by the NAACP eventually got the show canceled, so I would like to look at the reasons why and what the criticism against it was. I also have read that some African Americans enjoyed the programs because it was the first time that they were featured in the public spotlight like that. I believe that is another thing that I need to examine in order to complete my paper.

  2. I had about two ideas in mind for my paper: either women in broadcast or something in sports journalism; specifically, the early days of women in broadcast or the 1980 Winter Olympics. From a past assignment in this class I researched and learned about Kate Smith and her impact in broadcasting. For another, I found information about ratings from the 1980 Winter Games and the exponential effect patriotism has on said ratings when the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team made it to, and won, the Gold Medal Game (even though we remember the game against the Soviet Union more often).

    There’s plenty of historical content that I can find in the Broadcasting Archives on either topic for primary sources and the library’s databases has many secondary source options for context, biographies, information about the time period, etc.

    I would like to definitely find a more narrow focus soon. I think doing more research will help me find what’s available for what topics and if I can produce a paper from it. Also because both of the general topics are popular and could relate to someone else’s I’d like to find a clear subtopic that is unrelated to another’s.

    If there isn’t much research on the 1980 Winter Games and it’s relation to broadcasting, I’d also look into researching live television and why viewers love it. Whether reality programming or a special event, live TV attracts viewers the way pre-recorded shows do.

  3. For my semester term paper I'm planning to do a comparative study on the patent battle between Lee De Forest vs Edwin Howard Armstrong and the recent Apple vs Samsung case. A look into how the legalities of developing mass media devices has changed and what the legal battle fronts look like today. A couple sources that I am considering are the 1919~1920 issues of "Radio News" where De Forest was a frequent contributor as well as their respective biographies and the book "Empire of the Air" for first hand sources, I'm planning to dig up a bunch of their patents.


  4. Topic: media dispersal comparison
    Thesis/ Objective: A dissemination of the popular myth that radio brought everyone together through a comparison of the radio versus online video formats. My primary sources will be radio programs and youtube videos (I can legitimately say that I’m watching youtube cat videos for research!). My secondary sources will books on radio history, as well as analysis periodicals on “who’s listening”.My paper’s approach will follow this general structure:
    + A history of radio
    + Breaking it down
    - listener audience demographics
    - news on the WWII front, as an example
    - The model at the time could not sustain a national program (technological limitations and regional differences).
    + analysis of effect on society at the time
    + A brief history of youtube
    + breaking it down.
    - youtube demographics
    - types of videos being viewed
    + Analysis of youtube’s effect on society
    + Similarities
    - everyday occurrence,
    - accessibility for all groups, not restricted
    - argues for greater democracy, a better educated populace

    So far in my research I’ve found that it’s easier to find sources on the history of radio and radio’s impact. But despite initially slow progress in finding sources for the youtube side of the comparison, I’ve recently been able to find a myriad of sources on the perceived effects of youtube (thanks prof). My favorite source so far has been The Cult of the Amateur: How blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and the rest of today’s user generated media is destroying our culture, economy, and our values. It’s actually been pretty funny reading the author’s apocalyptic view on how participatory media will ruin society.

  5. Thesis/Objective:

    Why is Christiane Amanpour considered one of the most influential international correspondents in the world?


    1) Gutgold, N. (2008). Seen and heard: the women of television news. (pp. 91-112). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

    Seen and Heard deeply looks at the “lives, careers, and communication styles” of twelve of the most prominent women of television news. The in-depth examination of Christiane Amanpour in this book helps my paper because it gives more personal stories and perspectives on her famous interviews and personal life.

    2) Marlane, J. (1999). Women in television news revisited: Into the twenty-first century. Austin: University of Texas Press.

    Women in Television News Revisited has 70 of the most important women in television reflect on their “professional successes, the personal and professional sacrifices, and the barriers that still confront women in the news business.” This will help my paper because I will get personal accounts of Amanpour’s career and what led her to being so successful in journalism.

    3) Anne, B. (2006 , July 23). Amanpour on the front lines. Broadcasting & Cable, p. 3 and 16

    The article is an interview with Amanpour about her experiences as a war correspondent. She discusses her beliefs on the war between Israel and Lebanon and describes the war situation. This will help me with my paper because she describes how even with the distraught at hand, she does her job with “much survival instinct.” This is a characteristic that contributes to her importance in foreign correspondence.

    4) Amanpour, C. (2012, May). Interview by A Beard [Web Based Recording]. Christiane amanpour. Life's Work:, Boston., Retrieved from

    This is an interview with Amanpour by the Harvard Business Review discussing her upbringing and start in her career with additional stories of her life and interviewing. This will help me with my paper because Amanpour answers questions about her foundation and progress in her field. It is also a recorded interview, so it’s beneficial to actually hear Amanpour speak and listen to the journalist get interviewed.

    5) Christiane Amanpour: Profile. Forbes. Retrieved November 6, 2012, from

    This profile of Amanpour on Forbes lists her as the #53 most powerful woman in the world. It not only goes in depth of her life, but also updates her profile with the most recent news about her. This will help me on my paper because it will give me in depth information on her as a journalist and articles about her and her interviewing to accompany it. The most current news is on her role in the elections.

    For my research I have been reading profiles and interviews on Amanpour. I have also researched some of her coverage on different wars, especially the ones that made her so prominent. She reported from places no one dared to step foot. I also wrote her a letter, in hopes of contacting her for this project and interviewing her myself…but not much luck there. It’s hard to ask the journalist the questions. Nonetheless, she is one of the top influential women in the world, so it’s SO interesting and inspiring to hear her stories, especially of her childhood and how she climbed up the ladder. I hope to follow in similar footsteps as her one day!

  6. For my paper I will write about the 1972 Olympic games, specifically the journalistic impact of Jim McKay and his reporting of the Black September terrorist attacks on 11 Israeli athletes and coaches. McKay is well known for his many hours of reporting throughout the event and is possibly best remembered for his famous line, "They're all gone" after it was reported that all 11 hostages had been killed by the terrorists. I want to look into the impact the event and McKay had on journalism reporting as a whole in future years and decades because still to this day McKay is known for his amazing handling of a life changing moment. Also, there were many other important journalistic adventures going on throughout the day. ABC had several other reporters dressing up as athletes in order to get a better look at the terrorist. And possibly the saddest thing is that the German newspaper had reported before the night had ended that the hostages were safe. The world woke up to find out that in fact the hostages were all gone, as McKay first reported to the world over the air on ABC. McKay and the 1972 games is an unknown source of journalism at its finest and set the bar for future journalists reporting events of this nature live on television.