Posts by David Shedden

Today in Media History: Hindenburg explodes and a reporter cries out, 'Oh, the humanity'

On May 6, 1937, the German airship Hindenburg exploded over Lakehurst, New Jersey after a flight from Germany. A reporter for Chicago radio station WLS described the accident, "It burst into flame and it's falling....this is terrible, this is one of the worst catastrophes in the world....oh, the humanity." The front page of the Mount Carmel (Pennsylvania) Item: … Read More

Today in Media History: 1953 Pulitzer winners included Ernest Hemingway

One year before Ernest Hemingway won a Nobel Prize, he was awarded a Pulitzer. The prizes were announced on May 4, 1953, and the news media soon reported that Hemingway's book, "The Old Man and the Sea," earned the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (Trivia question: How many times are newspapers mentioned in the book? The old man … Read More

Today in Media History: In 2011, Twitter broke the news of Osama bin Laden’s death

Were you following Twitter four years ago today? On May 1, select journalists received simple, three-word e-mails from the White House: "Get to work." The President had an announcement to make, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said. Almost immediately, speculation of the news erupted on Twitter, and many zeroed in on a possible Osama bin Laden … Read More

Today in Media History: News reports described the end of the Vietnam War

Although United States military involvement officially stopped in 1973, it was South Vietnam's surrender on April 30, 1975 that marked the end of the Vietnam War. The news media first began reporting on U.S. involvement in Vietnam during the late 1950s. And the press was there when the war ended in 1975 as North Vietnamese forces … Read More

Today in Media History: Wall Street Journal launched its first full online site in 1996

On April 29, 1996, The Wall Street Journal launched its first full online news site. It was called "The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition." The newspaper had earlier experimented with an online dialup service and a money & investing website. They described their new site in a story titled, "The Wall Street Journal Launches Interactive Edition": … Read More

Today in Media History: News apps were still years away when iTunes opened in 2003

The Apple iTunes music store opened for Mac users on April 28, 2003. iTunes for Windows was released a few months later in October 2003. On July 11, 2008, Apple’s iTunes App store opened with 500 third-party applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. By the end of 2009 there would be more than 100,000 applications available. The … Read More

Today in Media History: The big computer story of 1981 was about a little mouse

We mentioned in an earlier "Today in Media History" that computer mouse technology can be traced back to the 1960s. But it wasn't until April 27, 1981 that the mouse was introduced commercially as part of the innovative, yet very expensive, Xerox 8010 Star Information System. The Xerox Star workstation was a commercial failure, but the mouse lived … Read More

Today in Media History: The U.S. aborted a rescue mission to free the hostages in Iran

Thirty-five years ago, the U.S. aborted a Delta Force operation to rescue the U.S. hostages in Iran. Here's a story excerpt from The Washington Post: "The United States tried and failed to rescue the American hostages in Iran with a commando-style raid in which eight U.S. crewmen were killed, the White House announced today. The military … Read More

Today in Media History: The future was introduced at the 1964 World's Fair

On April 23, 1964, the media described the opening of the World's Fair in New York City's Flushing Meadows Park. The fair, which had opened the day before, even received a detailed review from Edwin Newman and NBC News. The 1964 World's Fair was not a financial success, but as this AP/CBS story reminds us, … Read More

Today in Media History: The seizure of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez

Fifteen years ago today the news media reported on the seizure of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez by armed U.S. federal agents. The story had begun a few months earlier: "On Thanksgiving Day 1999, 5-year old Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez is discovered floating in an inner tube by fishermen off the coast of Florida. Two days prior, a small boat … Read More

Today in Media History: World War I news stories described the end of the Red Baron

It didn't take long for newspapers to print the news that German World War I fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen (aka the Red Baron) was shot down and killed in France on April 21, 1918. The April 22, 1918 edition of The (New York) Evening World published a short article and front page image of Richthofen. More information came … Read More

Today in Media History: 2006 Pulitzers honored Hurricane Katrina coverage

On April 17, 2006, the Sun Herald and the Times-Picayune were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Their award-winning work, along with other great journalism honored that year, is posted on the Pulitzer website and linked to below. Public Service The Times-Picayune, New Orleans and Sun Herald, Biloxi-Gulfport Breaking News Reporting … Read More