March 28th, 2019

Two small Latvian periodicals remain mostly a mystery

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to collect details, and in some cases even samples, of most of the various periodicals published by early 20th century Latvian immigrants and their descendants in the United States. But two publications, both produced in Chicago before World War I, remain largely a mystery.

August 18th, 2018

Primer on website design explores new approaches to CSS

Two decades ago, I taught myself how to create websites using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Come fall semester, I again will be teaching undergraduates how to do the same. To brush up on some of the latest thinking about how best to blend HTML and CSS to reach a desired outcome, I picked up Rachel Andrew’s The New CSS Layout.

February 5th, 2018

Guide to teaching journalism in college arrives just in time

University graduate programs in journalism and mass communication should adopt a new tradition: Give a copy of Master Class to everyone along with their diploma.

July 6th, 2017

An elevator pitch for a history project

As part of a course at George Mason University on teaching and learning history in the digital age, we have been asked to develop an “elevator pitch” for our final projects. My project will have students study and report on the first newspaper published in Pierce County, Wisconsin.

July 1st, 2017

Speech reveals details of antebellum journalism

More than 150 years ago, journalists working in western Wisconsin gathered in the river town of Prescott for the second annual meeting of the St. Croix Valley Editorial Association. They heard from I.N. Van Slyke, former editor of the Hudson Chronicle, whose speech offers valuable insight into the newspaper business of the region during the mid-19th century.

June 22nd, 2017

1940 film to serve as gateway into media history

Every time I have shown the vocational education film Journalism, students in our mass media history course have chuckled at how things used to be back in 1940. The next time I show the film, they also will use the film to explore journalistic values, technology, labor relations, and several other topics.

June 15th, 2017

Students’ major, maturity are considerations for project audience

For the final project I am developing in a summer course in the digital public humanities program at George Mason University, I am defining the audience as undergraduates studying media history. Of course, undergraduates is a broad term and consideration must be given to several variables, including major and maturity.

June 8th, 2017

Exploring the nature of news through a digital archive

In thinking about how to introduce digital media and tools into the mass communication history course I teach at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, I have decided to develop an assignment around The Prescott Paraclete, the first newspaper published in Pierce County. Here I want to briefly explore how this will be important to teaching students.

June 1st, 2017

Using an old newspaper to teach historical thinking

The last time I taught mass communication history, I largely avoided lecturing according to chronology, focusing instead on broader themes and problems. The course also attempted to join media history with local history in an effort to provide students with more practical research ideas. But I am inspired to do better.

December 22nd, 2016

Notes on researching the newspaper Kanādietis

One of the accomplishments of 2016 is finally publishing research on Kanādietis, a semimonthly newspaper produced from 1913-1914 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The paper had the distinction of being the only known publication in the Latvian language published in Canada before the Second World War.