On Newspapers and Being Human

Last week, an opinion piece appeared in the New York Times, arguing that the advent of algorithmically derived human-readable content may be destroying our humanity, as the lines between technology and humanity blur. A particular target in this article is the advent of “robo-journalism,” or the use of algorithms to write copy for the news. The author cites a study that alleges that “90 percent of news could be algorithmically generated by the mid-2020s, much…

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Editor Vignette: Edward E. Cross

In my work on Viral Texts,¬†I run across a host of interesting people, including editors whose lives are just as interesting as the stories they publish. To highlight some of these interesting people, I’m writing short posts about them as I research their papers. This first vignette is about the first editor of the first newspaper published in Arizona, before Arizona was even a state. I write about him today on the 150th anniversary of…

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Harsh Words for a War (in 1812)

The War of 1812 had been going on for about six months when this list was published by the Federal Republican¬†(reprinted in the Salem Gazette, December 29, 1812, which is where I found it). If this piece is no less vitriolic than some political rhetoric of the twenty-first century, at least it is much more succinct. Reasons, not long, for believing the War will be Short. 1st. Because the army lacks men. 2d. Because the…

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Documenting Change over Time with Simile Timeline

The NULab project that I’m working on right now involves documenting connections between newspapers in the nineteenth-century United States. So far, my work has been researching the history of each individual newspaper. It’s been an enlightening and entertaining process. (If you’re interested in one of the most entertaining stories I discovered, check out my Omeka exhibit for my digital humanities class.) We’re pulling data from the Chronicling America website at the Library of Congress. The…

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