Ramblings & ephemera

Newspaper readership declining

From Sasha Issenberg’s “On Notice” (Legal Affairs: July/August 2005): Just over 50 percent of Americans say they read the newspaper in an average week. That may seem like a formidable number, but it is in steady decline, down from 77 percent in 1970.

A history of the public notice

From Sasha Issenberg’s “On Notice” (Legal Affairs: July/August 2005): In the Middle Ages, the Crown designated a half-dozen sites in London where a herald would read proclamations from the king. These announcements first found their way into print in 1665 when the London Gazette, considered the first English-language newspaper (at least as we now understand […]

Alcatraz: reality & Hollywood

From Dashka Slater’s “Lights, Camera, Lockdown” (Legal Affairs: May/June 2003): The first two Alcatraz films, Alcatraz Island and The Last Gangster, arrived in theaters in 1937; the most recent, Half Past Dead, came out last November. In the 65 years in between, Alcatraz has been the subject of some two dozen movies and has made […]

When newspapers began to cover trials

From Caleb Crain’s “In Search Of Lost Crime” (Legal Affairs: July/August 2002): In American cities in the 1830s, 1- and 2-cent newspapers for the working class abruptly challenged 6-cent newspapers published for merchants and political parties. As Patricia Cline Cohen explains in The Murder of Helen Jewett, an account of the 1836 killing of a […]

When to have your name in the newspapers

From Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville (190): As a southern gentleman [Lloyd Tilghman] believed there were only three events in a man’s life which warranted the printing of his name [in the newspapers] without permission: his birth, his marriage, and his death.

Edward R. Murrow on the business of news

From Edward R. Murrow’s 15 October 1958 speech to the Radio-Television News Directors Association: One of the basic troubles with radio and television news is that both instruments have grown up as an incompatible combination of show business, advertising and news. Each of the three is a rather bizarre and demanding profession. And when you […]