Current Technology

Friday, January 22, 2016 - 17:00
Mon, 01/11/2016 to Mon, 01/25/2016

Choose a technology that existed before the Internet (aka before approximately 1990). Write a story about how this technology is being used by journalists. This story should highlight a way that this technology has created new opportunities for journalists or editors or readers, and hopefully improved journalism. Be clear about this opportunity: how has this new technology changed and/or re-shaped something about journalism?

Example Technologies:

  • Postal service (US Mail). Telegram. Phones. Cell phones. Automobile. Personal computers. Typewriters. The chalk board. Pencil / pens / paper. Printing press.

You have broad freedom to choose whatever technology you like. Try to choose different technologies than your peers in class.

You also have freedom to choose what kind of story you want to write. You can write a story about a specific time that technology was used (e.g. how Woodward and Bernstein used phones to communicate with Deep Throat). You can write a story about how journalists broadly have adopted and used the technology, citing many different examples. (Try to avoid stereotypes; instead, describe actual instances.) You can write a story about how a journalist once had to go without that technology, and what was lost. You can write a story that highlights how you use that technology to support your work. You can write a story about the potential for that technology to influence journalists' practices. Use your imagination to write an interesting story. I see this story as a case study: we will use it in discussion in class to help understand how technologies like this have shaped the field of journalism and can be used in the future.

Your story must be entered into the system by next Friday (1/22) at 5pm. It should be in the neighborhood of 300-500 words, and should include a relevant image at the top of the article.

Over that weekend or on Monday, be sure to log into the class system. Try to read all of the stories from your fellow students, and (optionally) leave comments to the author about the essay. But noticed that you will be assigned as a "Discussant" for one of the stories. Read that story carefully; you will be asked to present that story on Monday to the rest of the class. You will also "discuss" it by describing whether you agree with the argument in the story or not, and why you think this example is interesting to think about (or not).

daguerreotype camera, one of early type of cameras

Sometimes one picture of a big moment tells us more than

Photo credit: Flickr user ajmexico. See: for commentary.
Karen Hopper

I'd originally intended to write about the fax machine, b


Before the convenience of digital cameras and camera phon


The run-of-the-mill, average, every-day automobile.


At a young age my dream was always to become a sports rep