Today in media history: Journalists introduced to TV in 1928

Three events that happened on this date and a trivia question.

August 21, 1858
The first of seven debates between Illinois senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas takes place. Carl Sandburg, in his biography of Abraham Lincoln, describes the media’s reaction to the first debate:

Shade trees were few in the Ottawa public square and most of the twelve thousand listeners were in a broiling summer sun on August 21st when the first of the debates took place. For three hours they listened…The reporter for the Philadelphia Press noted of Lincoln as a debater: “Poor fellow! he was writhing in the powerful grasp of an intellectual giant. His speech amounted to nothing”….The New York Evening Post reporter said: “…He takes the people every time, and there is no getting away from his sturdy good sense, his unaffected sincerity, and the unceasing play of his good humor.”

August 21, 1928
The New York Times reports that there will be a demonstration of a moving image technology called “television.” Newspaper journalists are invited to attend and learn about this new broadcast medium.

Hourly television broadcasts over WRNY to aid amateurs and experimenters will begin tomorrow, according to Hugo Gernsback, President of the radio station. Between five and ten minutes of each hour of the station’s time on the air, at the beginning of regular broadcast periods, until next Tuesday, will be devoted to moving image transmission.

….Tonight at Philosophy Hall, New York University, WRNY’s system of television will be demonstrated to a group of invited guests….

— “Television Tests Tonight”
A story excerpt from The New York Times

In 1956 the RCA company produced a documentary about its role in the development of television.

August 21, 1964

To cope with the staggering information explosion in both business and government, a whole new electronic technology is fast developing that can store, catalogue and recall facts and figures in a pushbutton flash. Among the more sophisticated “information-retrieval” systems, Stromberg-Carlson has produced its 4020, Eastman Kodak its Recordak Miracode, RCA its 3488 and IBM its Walnut, which is used by the Central Intelligence Agency. Last week California’s Ampex Corp. introduced the latest retrieval machine, a completely automated microfiling system that allows the searcher to edit his material as he selects it.

— “Technology: Figures in a Flash
Story excerpt from Time Magazine

Media Trivia History Question
When the first volume of his Lincoln biography went on sale in 1926, what newspaper did Carl Sandburg work for? (Answer)

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