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Journalism: An Exposé

was specifically designed to keep the wood blocks from deteriorating, with a higher altitude with ample ventilation. 

In 1995, the temple has become a UNESCO Heritage Site. in 2000, after painstaking work, the Tripitaka went digital! And, the monks are making a copper version as back-up. Lesson learned from history!  We have heard of several cases where AI is used to help preserve and analyze ancient religious documents, which previously required monks an entire lifetime and could be lost if the specialists died.


No one ever had an "exclusive" with Napoleon; the very concept of the interview had to be invented first. Read about its surprisingly short history—the idea of reporters asking people a series of probing questions only became common in the late 1800s—then discuss with your team: would news coverage be better without them? Press conferences, too, are a recent development—research where and how they started, and how they have changed over time.

"It emerged just a century and a half ago as an unrespectable reporter’s gimmick but came to dominate news gathering."

Newspapers began in America in the 1600s, but newspapers only began hiring reporters to tell the news in the 1820s. The newspaper was filled with public announcements and speeches. In fact, confidence (trust) between the interviewer and interview were private conversations; Lincoln spoke with reporters, but nobody ever quoted him. However, by the1870s, the idea of an interview became prominent. "President Andrew Johnson himself submitted to the new practice in 1868, and “the idea took like wildfire,” as the Atlanta journalist Henry Grady wrote in 1879." The practice started in America and at first Europeans disdained it, but slowly it gained support. Interestingly, in the beginning taking notes stenography was frowned upon, as they believed real reporters do not use notebooks. (It might make the person being interviewed more nervous) Amazingly back then, it was also customary for editors to submit their final draft for the interviewee's approval and consent. In this way, the press was manipulated and under the control of the subject.  It was the culture in Europe and America to cover for politicians who said things they should not have said.


Journalistsic style changed dramatically over the years, from a summary of events to the editor to a direct address to the readers. "Chronologically presented news gave way to a summary lead and inverted pyramid structure that required the reporter to make judgments about what aspects of an event mattered most. Journalists began to be less relayers of documents and messages and more interpreters and explainers." Leading journalists became influential personalities that dictated how the public understood history and the truth. By the 1930s, journalism and interviews became a public watchdog, to protect the public from powerful politicians and governments. 

"Woodrow Wilson held the first press conference in March 1913, giving the public a means by which to question their elected officials. Those press conferences became an essential component of the American presidency, with different administrations holding from as few as 24 to as many as 93 a year. " Over the years, press conference became a way for the public to know what the president is doing and hold the leader accountable. Each president has a different preference. When they first started, reporters were invited to the president's office, such as President Coolidge. Later Franklin Roosevelt updated the public through the radio. Kennedy preferred the solo press conference style where he can answer questions from different journalists. He also revolutionized how the president communicated to the American public through the use of television for speeches and press events.  Obama liked the one-to-one in-depth interview style to show his communications skills. 

Additionally, press briefings became in 1969, where the press secretary would present information and answer questions. Trump administration disliked briefings and an unprecedented 400 days without a briefing (the previous 4 administrations all had at least 10 a month). Biden on the other hand, has revived the tradition of press briefings, holding briefings every weekday since inauguration.  Biden averages about 10 press conferences each year.

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Andrew Otis is an author and historian who became fascinated with James Augustus Hicky, an Irishman who started India's first newspaper (in English). The newspaper ran for two years, from 1780-1782 before getting shut down by the government over libel. Hicky had reported on the corruption of the India governor general Warren Hasting. One interesting and tragic account printed in the Hicky's Bengal Gazette was the account of a veteran named George, who died during one of Hasting's Wars and was not given the money promised and Hicky trying to get justice and money for George's young daughter.  However flawed Hicky was, his newspaper was one of the first platforms for free press and debates about rights and liberties. 


When we think of Africa, do we think of newspapers? Well, the first newspaper to be published in Africa was in 1773 by Nicolas Lambert called: Annonces, Affiches et Avis Divers pour les Colonies des Isles de France et de Bourbon (wow, this is a mouthful!)  Most newspapers at that time in Africa were organized by the government and was a way for government to announce information. Later, the "South African Commercial Advertiser was the first independent newspaper in South Africa whose publication began in 1824. It was printed in both English and Dutch. It was censored several times by the orders of Governor of Cape Town. Ironically, one of the first newspapers was called the Colonist. However, overtime, newspapers  

became a powerful voice for the democracy of the Cape Colony." In many parts of Africa, government restriction and lack of technology limited the development of newspapers, but in South Africa, it became an important part of the local culture, where people can have access to information, see advertisements, and address complaints and opinions. Newspapers became essentially a platform for speech and the exchagne of ideas. 

How did news travel throughout history: But global cultures and civilizations have long found other ways to inform the public of important developments, from the bulletin board to the town crier. Research other ways that news spread in different areas of the world before the arrival of Western-style journalism, then discuss with your team: what can we learn from these methods, and are some of them alive and well today on the Internet?

You have probably heard the saying "Don't shoot the messenger." Well, the messenger in this case is the town crier. According to this article by Toastmaster and historian, "Historically town criers – or Bellmen as they were sometimes called – were the original newsmen. The first town criers were the Spartan Runners in the early Greek Empire and as the Roman Conquest spread through Europe the position increased in importance until it became a position of the court. Town criers were particularly important when most of the population was illiterate. Though their origin is much older, the position was formalised after the Norman Conquest of 1066." In the past, it was often a husband and wife duo, with the wife ringing the bell and the husband proclaiming the news and posting it on a local inn. This is one possible origin for why many newspapers are called "The Post", Announcements are always preceded by the traditional “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” (which is “listen” in French) and conclude with “God save the Queen”.

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Would today's version of a town-crier by a social media influencer who blogger who updates the news of the community? What are some new ways for spreading the news? Has it made us more informed or overly informed?

The earliest news was probably not read, but sung! "Up until the 20th century, news ballads would be sung by hawkers to attract illiterate crowds and spoke of crimes, politics and even natural disasters. From the early days of printing in the 16th century up until the 20th century, news events were regularly put into verse, printed on cheap broadsides and pamphlets, and sung to a familiar tune. These news ballads would be sold in busy streets, fairs and marketplaces by hawkers who would sing the contents to attract a crowd of buyers. Given the low rates of literacy, song 

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 was a particularly effective medium of information transmission since rhyme and rhythm allowed listeners to more easily remember the lyrics. News ballads often covered a remarkably similar range of themes to modern journalism: crime and punishment, politics, military events, and natural disasters. And just like tabloid news reporting today, news songs were sensationalist and provocative, encouraging a strong emotional response in their listeners.

News ballads, singing and acting out news or opinions about current events somehow resembles TikTok videos that are meant to incense the audience and draw awareness or support for a topic. They spread quickly as they are catchy, and they often are moralistic and educational or even just purely for entertainment. The methods might have changed but the dynamics of influencing the public remain very much the same.

There are so many different ways for the public to consume news nowadays, it is almost impossible to get just one side to a story. While this has helped us avoid biases, it has made it more challenging to piece together a simple story. People of the future will need to read through lots of different accounts to understand what really happened. We just have to hope that the most accurate version remains popular or trend long enough to stick and not forgotten completely in a few years.  

In 2014, renowned Brazilian investigative journalist Rubens Valente published a book entitled Operação Banqueiro that detailed the story of a 2008 police operation that captured the attention of the country for involving the imprisonment and immediate release, for acts of corruption, of one of the most powerful bankers in Brazil, Daniel Dantas. Valente was designated to work on the story as a reporter for the journal Folha do São Paulo. His book also exposes the Justice Gilmar Mendes as the one that helped Dantas evade prison. But, when it came out Judge Mendes sued him for defamation. Sadly, in 2016, Valente lost the case and has to pay Mendes fines and the company that published his book went bankrupt. 


Valente is not alone in facing a corrupt system and he is not backing down. In the year 2020 alone, 580 attacks were carried out against the media in Brazil, and Brazil’s president Jair Bolosonaro regularly makes public statements vilifying the press. Valente is appealing his case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and if they win, they might put pressure on Brazil's system to ensure it doesn't happen again. Unfortunately, even with so much free media and channels, freedom of the press has a heavy cost.

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For those of you unfamiliar with Watergate, this is Wikipedia's short summary to help you get acquainted. "The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal in the United States involving the administration of President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that led to Nixon's resignation. The scandal stemmed from the Nixon administration's persistent attempts to cover up its involvement in the June 17, 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Washington, D.C., Watergate Office Building."

Jounalists were instrumental in uncovering this huge scandal and the American people remained curious to learn about the facts.  "Investigative journalists like Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward challenged the Nixon administration’s narrative of what happened during the 1972 presidential election campaign. Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer’s reporting during the Senate hearings led to the first hour-long news show in broadcast history, which eventually became known as the PBS NewsHour. " Without jouranlism, how would we keep politicians in check?

From the Pulitzer-prize winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, launch the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement. On October 5, 2017, the New York Times published an article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey--and then the world changed. For months Kantor and Twohey had been having confidential discussions with top actresses, former Weinstein employees and other sources, learning of disturbing long-buried allegations, some of which had been covered up by many private settlements. Without these two brave journalists, these sexual harassments and abuse allegations would remain buried. Not only that, but the world would also not have had a new sense of support for women victimized and speaking out. 

What would your team want to investigate? I would want to know if any countries or their administrations misused Covid-19 to their benefit. I think another interesting topic would be how tech giants now are violating personal rights to make more money such as privacy and how that relates to the development of AI. 

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