The History of Information Assets

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Journalism: An Exposé
The history of the interview
Before interviews, newspapers mainly published only official documents and public speeches, while conversations between reporters and officials were not documented. It could have been James Gordon Bennet who invented it in 1836 or Horace Greeley in 1859. At the beginning it got a lot of criticism from veteran journalists, such as E.L. Godkin, who claimed that this is a corrupt act of both the interviewer and the interviewee, who want to deceive both of their appearances in the public by planning the questions and answers ahead of time. It got popular when Thompson Cooper from the New York World interviewed Pope Pius IX.
Most interviewers at the time thought taking notes while interviewing would frighten the interviewee and intimidate him, but soon they’d change their minds to a mindset of taking notes doesn’t intimidate the interviewee, but actually make him happier, because if you take notes it means that the interviewee is saying important things, and it will encourage him to talk more.
The main disadvantage of interviews in the past was that the interviewee had to get the document the interviewer wanted to publish before it was published, for corrections, and if there is something that is true, but the interviewee doesn’t want the public to know about, he could just erase it. It’s alright with private individuals, but when public figures are being interviewed, it can cause serious problems. Also, interviewees had the right to give consent to everything said in the interview. Moreover, a reporter can cherry pick a few quotes from an interview and only publish them, making the public get a false vision of the interviewee. Lastly, reporters had the moral obligation to be as discreet as possible. When a public figure accidentally says something that can affect the whole nation, just like when William Howard Taft, former US president, (before he was president, when he was Secretary of War under Theodore Roosevelt) disagreed with the president on an important issue, or when Elanor Roosevelt, FDR’s wife said in one of her interviews that FDR refused to sign a joint proclamation with Herbert Hoover to close the banks the day before the inauguration, the reporter had so much power in his hands, to leak it or not to? Why would a public figure tell interviewers this stuff? Because public figures saw interviewers as therapists that would  be happy to hear their problems in life.
Over time interviewing became less the occasion for a separate feature article and more a routine technique incorporated into most news stories.

The history of press conferences
Press conferences date back to 1913, when US president Woodrow Wilson invited a lot of reporters to the white house, and answered all of their questions. At the time, it wasn’t that big and formal, and the reason Wilson wanted to do it is because he wanted to communicate with the public and address stuff by using the media. With the technological advance of the 20th century consisting of the radio and television, press conferences could be seen by the people too, making it even easier to address stuff. With the rise of the internet, viewers sometimes have the chance to ask these people questions from their homes, and not only reporters. If they ask about the pandemic, say these were held through zoom.

Hicky’s Bengal Gazette
The first newspaper in India. The whole article is an amazing interview between the interviewer Sharmila Ganesan Ram with the US-based journalist historian Andrew Otis, who five years ago spent a lot of time in India researching on the first newspaper made there, by James Augustus Hicky. He published a book named ‘Hicky’s Bengal Gazette’, in which he tells the story of Hicky Bengal and his research findings. In the 18th century, Hicky was an Irishman who came to Calcutta (now called Kolkata), a city in India that was of course under British rule. As an Irishman, he wasn’t in the highest class, and in his childhood he learned printing, yet he still went there to start a shipping business to gain some bucks, yet his ship was damaged in a storm, and as a result he ended up in debtor’s prison. Then William Hickey, an English lawyer with no connection to our Hicky, decides to help Hicky to get out of prison (his memoirs are how Otis found out on this amazing story), and after a few years. Hicky published ‘Bengal Gazette’ - the first newspaper in India, that fought for press freedom, although it was soon banned by the government. There are today a few copies of it in several Indian libraries, and Otis had to ask a lot of times “Keno hobe na?” - why not? To gain access to them. Otis now works on a book about the 1781 rebellion against East India Company, while one of his main sources are Hicky’s newspaper.

Annonces, Affiches et Avis Divers pour les Colonies des Isles de France et de Bourbon

Translates to Announcements, Posters and Miscellaneous Notices for the Colonies of the Isles of France and Bourbon. This was the first newspaper in Africa, made by French colonialists in Mauritius in 1773. This newspaper was published weekly by Nicolas Lambert. It was also the first newspaper in the Indian ocean, and so you can infer what it contained from its long name. It was printed at the Royal Printing Office in Port Louis.

Cape Town Gazette and African Advertizer

The second oldest newspaper, made in South Africa, and so it’s credited for paving the way for most newspapers in Africa today. It was made weekly by the British South African government.

South African Commercial Advertiser

The first independent newspaper in Africa, one that was printed both in English and Dutch. Because it was going against the government, a lot of it was censored several times by the orders of Cape Town’s Governor.

The Colonialist

Nothing is said about it in the article except for region and date, but WSC still references it. It is the 9th oldest newspaper in Africa, made in South Africa. It was made by private individuals that are not documented, but it mainly gave news for the European settlers on stuff that happens in Europe while they’re settling.

Al-Waqa’i’a al-Masriya

The first Egyptian newspaper published in Egypt a year or so after the colonialist. It was published weekly in Arabic, and covered local and international news. There is just a picture of it in the article, and it looks like a scroll.

Ways to spread info before Western Journalism
Every culture had a few different ways to deliver information before the British and the French introduced them to western journalism. The most common one was word of mouth, as people tell a rumor to other people and etc. Then there were also messengers, like how Yaakov sends a messenger to tell his bro something in Genesis. There were town carriers, pamphlets, caravanserais, and bulletin’ boards that delivered info to people in different ways.

Rubens Valente gets his human rights violated for being a journalist
The known Brazilian investigative journalist Rubens Valente published a book called Operacao Banqueiro that told the story based on his long investigations as a part of the journal Folha do São Paulo, of a police operation in 2008 that helped the banker Daniel Dantas evading prison, and he details the corruption of the Supreme Federal Court in Brazil that directly helped him, especially judge Gilmar Mendes. He didn’t get any response from Mendes throughout his investigation, yet right when the book was published, Mendes sued him for defamation, citing “damage of image and honor”. The win was given to Valente a few times, yet Mendes kept appealing until it came to the Supreme Court, where he had connections, and exploited them to win the court, and now Valente needs to pay a lot of money because he just did his work - expose people. As a result, the awareness that investigative journalists in corrupt countries like Brazil are in danger has risen up, and so the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization drops a case against the state of Brazil for violating human rights in the Inter-American Commision on Human Rights. This shows how press freedom is at risk in corrupt countries, and how investigative journalists sometimes sacrifice themselves for a good authentic scoop.

The over complex definition of investigative journalism
The article covers investigative journalism’s complex definition, although WSC asks for its origins. So first, according to the article, investigative journalism is a term that every reporter defines differently, although all reporters came to an agreement of five different definitions, as David E. Kaplan tells us.
Definition one: About systematic, in depth and original reporting - Because the word investigation translates to systematic inquiry, it means the reporter needs to go in a slow systematic way to analyze what is really going on, with the addition that the work is original and in depth of course.
Definition two: About forming a hypothesis - When a reporter gets in the mindset of the good detective, and decides to research stuff. It means that you form a theory and then you test it by going out there and finding facts that support or not support your theory.
Definition three: About Analyzing public documents and data - When a reporter finds data somewhere (all of them are literally in the historical distortion set), and decides to analyze them more to uncover what is really going on.
Definition four: About making public things that are secret - Just uncovering stuff that has been secret by authoritative figures, and exposing them to the public.
Definition five: About focusing on social justice and accountability - The fact that a reporter goes and focuses on the good of the public makes it an investigative journalism.
The main definition WSC would want you to know is the mish mash of all these five - a systematic, in depth, original, made by forming a hypothesis and researching documents reporting that unravels secret stuff and focuses on social justice.

The origin of investigative journalism
The earliest example of investigative journalism is a reporting in 1887 by Nellie Bly working for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World newspaper, where she went undercover as a patient in the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island to expose the shocking conditions and mistreatment of patients there. It led to a series of articles exposing these horrible institutions.

The Watergate Scandal
A scandal that was covered by investigative journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein that made the US president at the time, Richard Nixon resign from office. In 1972 Nixon was sitting in his office when burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex, and so these two guys tried to connect the dots between this burglary to Richard Nixon wanting to damage the Democrats to be re-elected as presidents. How? By finding the burglars' identities and matching them with people who are close to Nixon. Then Nixon went to court and had to publish all of his secret tapes that shook the American public, leading to him leaving office.

The Weinstein investigation
The investigation of Harvey Wenstein, a former American film producer, who sex offended women on set. He produced top movies that you should watch unless you’re a junior, like Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love. Two investigative journalists from the New York Times, Jodi Kanto and Megan Twohey, with The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow worked on the connection between these two things by investigating a lot of actresses, and so in 2020 Weinstein was sentenced for 23 years in prison. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published a book called ‘She Said’, that covers  all of their investigation.

ChatGenePT: Reconstruction as Resurrection

The Dreamland Wax Museum in Boston
The Dreamland Wax Museum is a chain of wax museums all over south and central America. A wax museum is a museum with famous figures that are built of wax you can take selfies with, the most famous of them being Madame Tussaud, which I’ve been in. Vice President of Sales in the Dreamland Wax Museum, Michael Pelletz, tells us that the Dreamland Wax Museum is different from the other wax museums, because in this one you can touch the wax figures, instead of just taking selfies with them. An artist goes and fixes the wax figures every day. On top of that, the Dreamland Wax Museums are also educational, as there are singers and stuff, like Beyonce, but also there are a lot of historical figures kiddos learn about in school, just like in the new Dreamland Wax Museum in Boston, the first one in the US, there are 44 presidents of the United States, and a lot of famous Bostonians…. That’s why schools now want to do field trips there.

Once More, With New Feelings | Historical Distortion

In the WSC context, presentism is when historians introduce present-day ideas and perspectives, such as human rights and gender equality to interpretations of historical events before the 20th century. This is bad for historians, as it is considered as a form of cultural bias, and it may lead to a distorted understanding of the past, which may lead to judging historical figures and events by nowadays values - values that were not relevant at the time.

Examples on presentism
First some important names. Lynn Hunt argues against presentism, as it threatens to put historians out of business, because historians are not interested in topics prior to the 20th century, as the values in these topics are different from today’s values. James H. Sweet argues that a barrier should be created between politics and history, and so he gives some examples. He talks about how Nikole Hannah-Jones and the New York Times created a book called “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” that characterized George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as evil slave owners – though slave owning was alright at the time. He also traveled to Elmina Castle, an archeological site in Ghana where colonialists deported slaves from Africa to the Carribeans. Tours approach this quite controversial place with a “woke” approach, telling lies to African Americans, the majority of tourists, about that Ghanians were deported to South America rather than North America, though it’s not true. Many US supreme court decisions are affected by presentism, by relying on cherry picked history that tend to change people’s views of history at the time, and so overturning cases as Roe v. Wade – an abortion case.

US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Hiding His Disability
Literally the best article in the curriculum - short and captures the point well. FDR was the US president who led the US out of the great depression and WW2, making him a big chad (although being socialist and not a proud capitalist). During his time in office he was unable to walk because the disease polio partially killed his legs (Israeli kids in the 80’s can relate), and so now he couldn’t walk well. His legs were not behaving, but still bro knew it would damage him in his campaign. Therefore he decided to hide it from the public. He used a private wheelchair in the white house, and asked journalists to keep the fact he’s disabled a secret. Journalists kept the secret. In his campaign trial he pretended to walk by using a variety of devices and illusions. His physique was the boxer Jack Dmspey, who trained him to get skill level 100 in the upper part of his body. In 2013 the Indiana college professor Ray Begovich published rare footage of FDR being on a wheelchair to the National Archive, and in 2001 a statue of Roosevelt on a wheelchair was unveiled in Washington D C, finally showing the public the man’s disability. Some say the disability was a source of shame for him, and some said he was proud of it but he couldn’t risk his love from the public. It goes further back in time though. In 1974 the FDR Memorial Commision asked from the architect Lawrence Halprin to have a statue of Roosevelt, and Halprin wanted to address his disability, but sadly there were only 4 existing images of him on a wheelchair. He got some support from the National Organization on Disability and so in 2001 the statue I talked about was unveiled.

A form of literature that is historically accurate, and tells the life of an individual. It needs to be made by someone who is not that individual, whether he is alive or dead at the time. Just like wiki pages on personalities.

A form of literature that is more accurate, as it tells the life of an individual by that individual. Some people say it’s less accurate as the guy can make up facts about himself, like we all do in our instagram bios ( Here you also see the guy’s mindset so it’s a little better than biography for producers.

Often confused with autobiography and biography, and it can be written by everyone and that person which it talks about, however unlike the last two that talk about the guy’s whole life, a memoir talks about a specific event this guy was a part of. Like a battle, explained with more detail than a biography. Just like a wiki (Britannica) page about a battle.

An account of day to day events, ideas and reflections that is kept for private use by that historical person, but the form of writing is less personal than a diary. It’s less “dear diary, today the Germans captured Tasha and Natasha. I'm so sad, please get me out of this war! We are still in Georgenikov’s basement, and I’m writing this for you to observe”, and more “Today the Nazi Germans captured my mother and sister. I was, and am afraid of what’s soon to come, I wish the war has ended. I’m still in hiding, and I’ll seek help”. Producers can extract from here the mindset of the writer, and that’s good without too many filler lines too.

An account of day to day experience that is written with much more personal details. Anne Frank has the most famous diary for very obvious reasons. It’s harder to work with than a journal, as there are a lot of filler lines, but also some important details too.

A message someone sends to somebody else by writing it on paper and delivering it to him with pigeons or something. Here producers can just understand the info in the context and see what was the bottom line he wanted to deliver.

Newspaper Accounts
Info of a historical figure can be found in newspaper accounts: newspapers have archives of newspaper editions from all time, and so people can find there info about the guy they search info about from stories he was a part of that were covered by newspapers. Nowadays it transitioned to an online format of newspapers, where you can get into these archives pirately from the internet (Margaret Thatcher article).

Contemporary Footage
Like literally camera footage of an event. It is often used in documentaries, and this footage can come from National Archives, family archives and such. Just like in the first Lebanon war Israeli soldiers video taped the war and bloodshed, and then 20 years later it was made into a documentary piece. You can extract info by using your eyes and connecting already known stories to the new details seen in the image or video.

Government Records
Recorded info in any form, created or received by the government or its businesses, and kept as evidence in their archives. It’s just like contemporary footage and any other form of evidence I talked about, but held by the government in their archives. That’s why as a producer it’s gonna be hard to get access to the records. The Lebanon footage by Israeli soldiers is considered as gov records, because they are a part of the IDF, Israel’s great and strong self-defense army!

These are videos or tapes of that historical figure doing a q&a session with a journalist, and from that tape you can find info like what he thinks about stuff and like details he told that journalist in the q&a. Before tapes were invented journalists just wrote every word the guy said and published it in the newspaper, so it can be a newspaper account too? Yes.

WSC refers here to transcripts of legal proceedings, and not transcripts which are official records of a student’s grades (rookie mistake). So transcripts of legal proceedings are records of whatever was said in a legal court. Like in Better Call Saul, in every court case there is a guy whose work is to write everything that is said in the court by all people, and these are stored in the court transcripts archive. This is to find 100% right evidence for past cases when they’re needed for future cases that are somehow connected/ extracting info from the court meeting. WSC probably refers to it, but also in situations outside court, meaning that these are typed or written records of audio or video recordings, such as speeches, meetings and interviews.

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