David Shedden

David Shedden is a researcher and the library director at the Poynter Institute. Poynter Online daily feature: "Today in Media History"

P-1968 Pueblo

Today in Media History: Coverage of North Korea’s 1968 seizure of the USS Pueblo

On January 23, 1968, the U.S. navy ship Pueblo was seized during an intelligence mission off the coast of North Korea.

Eighty-two crew members were captured when North Korean planes and ships attacked the USS Pueblo. (One member of the crew was killed during the ambush.)

They were held prisoner for 11 months.

The Arizona Republic, January 24, 1968

The Arizona Republic, January 24, 1968

“In January 1968, Massie and 82 others, including Capt. Lloyd ‘Pete’ Bucher, steamed into the Sea of Japan on the Pueblo’s first mission: to gather electronic intelligence while stationed off the coast of the Soviet Union and North Korea. The ship was lightly armed with two large machine guns. The United States, at the time, was deep into the Cold War and fighting in Vietnam. It hadn’t been at war with North Korea in 15 years.

….Suddenly, North Korean gunboats appeared and began to circle the U.S. ship. North Korean jets streaked through the sky.

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P-1984 Apple Ad

Today in Media History: ‘1984’ Super Bowl ad introduced the Apple Macintosh

During the Super Bowl on January 22, 1984, Apple introduced its new Macintosh computer with what has become one of the most famous television commercials of all time.

The ad featured images from George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four and was directed by Ridley Scott.

It ends with this voice-over: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce the Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.”

“But for all the accolades ’1984′ has won over the past three decades — among them the Grand Prix award at the 1984 Cannes Lions Advertising Festival and the No. 1 slot in TV Guide’s list of the greatest commercials of all time — the ad almost never saw the light of day.

Though Apple co-founder Steve Jobs loved the ad from the start and drew wild applause when he showed it to employees at a national sales meeting during the fall of 1983, the company’s board of directors was less impressed with the work of ad agency Chiat/Day.

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Today in Media History: Novelist and journalist Charles Dickens started a newspaper in 1846

“The principles advocated in the Daily News will be principles of progress and improvement; of education, civil and religious liberty, and equal legislation.”

– Charles Dickens quote about his newspaper, “The Daily News”

Although he is best know for novels such as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens was also a journalist.

On January 21, 1846, you could buy the first edition of his newspaper, “The Daily News.”

"The Daily News", January 21, 1846, Kenyon Starling Library Image

“The Daily News”, January 21, 1846, Kenyon Starling Library Image

“Charles Dickens was a supporter of the Liberal Party and in 1845 he began to consider the idea of publishing a daily newspaper that could compete with the more conservative The Times….The first edition of The Daily News was published on 21st January 1846.

….Dickens employed his great friend and fellow social reformer, Douglas Jerrold, as the newspaper’s sub-editor. William Henry Wills joined the newspaper as assistant editor.

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Today in Media History: Iran releases American hostages in 1981

On January 20, 1981, the media covered two important news stories at the same time. The 52 American hostages in Iran were released and Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president.

The hostage story began in November 1979 when Iranians seized the American Embassy in Tehran and took more than sixty American hostages. A few of the captives were released, but the remaining 52 hostages were held for 444 days.

It came to an end when a plane with the hostages took off just moments after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. Here is an excerpt from a UPI story:

“Ronald Reagan took the oath of office Tuesday, pledged an ‘era of national renewal’ and pronounced his first day as the nation’s 40th president ‘perfect’ because the 52 American hostages were released.

Less than half an hour after Reagan was sworn in, Jimmy Carter’s around-the-clock efforts that climaxed his term in office finally resulted in release of the hostages by Iran on their 444th day in captivity.

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Today in Media History: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the news stories from Selma

On January 19, 1965, the press reported on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to Selma, Alabama.

During this, his second January trip to the city, King addressed a voter registration meeting and outlined his civil rights goals for Selma.

The following excerpt comes from an AP story published soon after Dr. King’s arrival in Selma:

“King had returned only a few hours earlier to lead the voter registration campaign and a test of public accommodations facilities.

Several sources said downtown restaurants had agreed to desegregate.

King arrived with his corps of civil rights workers and went into a strategy session for the first step in what he has said would be a massive assault on segregation here.

The integration leader, who flew to Montgomery and then traveled the remaining 45 miles by car, said he would take part in the desegregation attempt.

With him were the Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, a close associate in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; The Rev.

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P-1991 Gulf War

Today in Media History: The Gulf War’s 1991 Operation Desert Storm

On January 16, 1991, the news media reported that Allied forces had launched air strikes against Iraq.

News on the Web was still a few years away, so most people first turned to television for coverage of the Gulf War’s Operation Desert Storm.

CNN’s Bernard Shaw, Peter Arnett and John Holliman described the beginning of Operation Desert Storm from the ninth-floor of a Baghdad hotel.

They broadcast with audio only.

Their reporting and the sounds of anti-aircraft fire reminded some of Edward R. Murrow’s stories during the bombing of WWII London.

(Additional video footage has been posted.)

“U.S. and allied forces took control of the skies over Iraq by hitting Saddam Hussein’s forces with 1,000 air sorties that claimed one U.S. pilot’s life, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said. Cheney and Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed satisfaction with the initial results of Operation Desert Storm — but both stressed that there could well be other casualties in what is expected to be a protracted campaign to drive Iraq from Kuwait.

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Today in Media History: 2009 Hudson River crash-landing photo sent with Twitter

On January 15, 2009, using Twitter, TwitPic, and his iPhone, Janis Krums posted one of the first photos of the US Airways plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River.

His Twitter message:

Composite image of Janis Krums's original message and photo

Composite image of Janis Krums’s original message and photo

The story of the photo as it was reported by CNN in 2009:

Janis Krums was heading to New Jersey on a ferry when he clicked a snapshot with his iPhone of US Airways Flight 1549 partially submerged in the Hudson River. He uploaded the picture to his Twitter account and then forgot about it as he assisted in the rescue of the plane’s passengers.

The deluge of image views crashed the servers of TwitPic, the application that allows Twitter users to send photos with their Twitter updates or ‘tweets.’

‘I posted it because I thought ‘That’s pretty newsworthy’ and I wanted to share it with the people who follow me on Twitter,’ Krums said.

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P-1952 Today Show

Today in Media History: ‘Well here we are…’ the Today show premiered in 1952

On January 14, 1952, the Today show premiered with host Dave Garroway.

He began with the following words:

“Well here we are, and good morning to you. The very first good morning of what I hope and suspect will be a great many good mornings between you and me. Here it is, January 14, 1952, when NBC begins a new program called Today and, if it doesn’t sound too revolutionary, I really believe this begins a new kind of television.”

7:00 a.m. EST.
The first nine minutes of the first Today show:

“The show’s first broadcast aired on January 14, 1952. It was the brainchild of Sylvester L. Weaver, Jr., who was then vice-president of NBC. Weaver was president of the company from 1953 to 1955, during which time Today’s late-night companion The Tonight Show premiered. In pre-production, the show’s proposed title was The Rise and Shine Revue.

Today was the first show of its genre when it signed on with original host Dave Garroway.

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P-1928 TV-RCA Film

Today in Media History: In 1928 TV left the lab and came home

Companies struggled to introduce TV in the late 1920s.

From time-to-time someone would describe its potential or demonstrate a new format, but to most people, it was still just a toy.

However, on January 13, 1928, the folks at General Electric tried to show that TV could be used at home. TV could be taken out of the laboratory and brought into our daily lives.

On that date they demonstrated the new technology in three homes in Schenectady, New York.

Here is newspaper story excerpt:

“The possibility of one sitting in his own home and hearing and seeing an opera, a baseball game, a prize fight or things of equal interest moved definitely closer today.

….Soon there was action. There were pictures of people moving. They talked. You could see their lips moving and hear the words they said. One man was smoking a cigarette. The smoke curling up from the cigarette could be seen.

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Today in Media History: Front pages and newsreels report on Amelia Earhart’s successful 1935 plane flight

Eighteen hours after she began her solo flight from Honolulu, Hawaii, aviator Amelia Earhart landed at Oakland Airport in California, on January 12, 1935.

As usual, the press was there to greet her.

The Oshkosh Northwestern, January 12, 1935

The Oshkosh Northwestern, January 12, 1935

Filmed images about Earhart’s Hawaii to California trip were soon included in newsreel reports.

“A pioneering aviator and inspirational figure, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and set many other records throughout her career. Her disappearance in 1937 during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe devastated admirers across the United States and around the world. Her public career lasted less than a decade (from 1928 to 1937), but she used her fame to promote two causes dear to her: the advancement of commercial aviation and the advancement of women.

Earhart symbolizes the fascination that aviation held for Americans in the 1920s and 1930s. Like Charles Lindbergh, she became a national celebrity because of her exploits in the air.

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