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The Innovator Who Introduced Cherry Blossoms to the U.S.A.

In late March 1908 Fairchild gave a series of lectures in the D.C. area. He described his travels and recalled his first view of the sakura in Japan. He ended each lecture by displaying a photograph of the unsightly speedway near the Washington Monument. What an excellent place, he mused, to plant cherry blossom trees. Shortly after, in the Washington Star, Fairchild’s thought was given front‑page treatment. If the trees were planted soon around the Tidal Basin’s speedway, they could bloom the following spring; and not long after, the newspaper reported, “Washington would one day be famous for its flowering cherry trees.”

Attribution: Daniel Stone,
Full Story: Cherry Blossoms

On this day in Alabama history: ‘Forrest Gump’ author Winston Groom was born

Author Winston Groom serves as
the keynote speaker for the
Alabama Humanities Foundation’s
annual Awards Luncheon on
Oct. 24, 2013, in Birmingham,
Jefferson County.
(From Encyclopedia of Alabama,
photo courtesy of the
Alabama Humanities Foundation)
March 23, 1944

Author Winston Groom (1943- ),
pictured ca. 1998, is best-known for
his 1986 novel "Forrest Gump," which
was adapted to an Oscar-winning film
starring Tom Hanks and directed by
Robert Zemeckis. Groom was raised in Mobile
County and earned a bachelor's degree from
the University of Alabama.
(From Encyclopedia of Alabama,
courtesy of The Doy Leale McCall Rare
Book and Manuscript Library,
University of South Alabama)
Author Winston Groom was born in Washington, D.C. Best known as the author of “Forrest Gump,” Groom grew up in Mobile County and attended the University of Alabama before serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. After returning from Vietnam, he worked as a reporter for the Washington Star and wrote several books based on the war, including “Conversations with the Enemy: The Story of PFC Robert Garwood,” a Pulitzer Prize nominee. He published “Forrest Gump” in 1986, and the novel became a bestseller after its film adaptation won six Academy Awards in 1994. Groom’s more recent work focuses on historical non-fiction, including topics such as the Civil War, World War I, and World War II.

Attribution: Graydon Rust,
Full article: Groom

What Once Was News for the Capital and the Nation: Politics and Washington’s Daily Newspapers

Theodore W. Noyes served as editor of the Evening Star
during its late 19th and early 20th centuries
heydays. (undated photo–Library of Congress,
Prints & Photographs Div., Harris & Ewing Coll.).
The 20th century saw the decline of such vigorously politically-affiliated newspapering, and Walter Lippman’s more objective journalistic principles held sway (although in serious decline today). The Evening Star, leader of the four daily newspapers (Star, Post, Morning Times, and Evening Times) was led by editor Theodore Noyes, a tremendous civic leader as well well-respected newspaperman. A few years after Theodore Noyes’ death, nephew Crosby S. Noyes, of the Evening Star, riffed in the Star’s 50th anniversary supplement under the title “Newspapers in Washington fifty-six years ago.” “There were, properly speaking, no newspapers in Washington at that time. They were vigorous party organs, devoted to politics and depending for their support on party patronage. They expended nothing for news.” [6]

His is an exaggeration but understandable, having looked back from a professionalized 20th century press to a very different antebellum Washington. But his era does indeed seem as alien to us today. He noted the ability of an afternoon paper (such as the Star to be first out with news:

“Washington is peculiarly a field for a successful afternoon newspaper. In the first place, most of the executive business of the departments is practically over by 2 o’clock; the decisions are made, the letters are written and in the mails. When Congress is in session the committees meet by 10 o’clock, are through by 12 o’clock, the two Houses meet at 12 o’clock and have transacted much of their most important business in the a few hours afterwards, the substance of which is transmitted at once to The Star office by its special wire service. Twenty-five thousand people are released from their duties at approximately 4 o’clock and this s the time when The Star is being sold on the streets.” (Noyes, p.9-10)

A Post reader, it goes without saying, would have to wait over 12 hours for the same news in their morning newspaper. It’s not quite the “sleepy, Southern town” of caricature but not much like today’s 24-hour media circus.

Attribution: Matthew B. Gilmore,
Full Story: Washington Papers

Lecture - What is Fake News? Part Two at the Mark Twain Library on Wednesday, March 21

If all news is fake, how do we know what is real? Fake, misleading or inaccurate information disguised as news is not a new phenomenon. What is new: Anyone with a smartphone and wifi connection can create and perpetuate content. This two-part seminar will equip us to become media savvy. Part One examines the habits of fact-checkers and the impact of filter bubbles, as well as the tools we can use in order to be productive participants in online and in-person discourse. Part Two will examine the evolution of the news industry and its effect on our media consumption. This discussion will cover the evolving challenges in the newsroom and what sophisticated news consumers need to know about digital media and how news is produced.

Part Two Presenters:

Merrill Brown is an educator, consultant, advisor, investor and veteran media executive and journalist. He has written for The Washington Post, The Washington Star, Media General Newspapers, The Winston-Salem Sentinel, and The St. Louis Post Dispatch. Brown launched and was the website’s founding Editor-in-Chief. He is former Director of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University.

Mark Weinberg is a digital media consultant who started his career at The Dallas Morning News, serving as fashion editor, features/lifestyle editor and Sunday front page editor. He later went on to Knight Ridder, where he helped launch the nation’s first digital newspaper network; then AOL where he served as executive editor and vice president for network programming; and Hearst Magazines where he was vice president of programming and product strategy for the company’s digital media division.

Attribution: Romy Weinberg -
Full story: Fake News

NYT’s Robert Pear to join policy expert Ed Grossman for Poynter Talk

Robert Pear, a domestic correspondent at The New York Times, will discuss his over 40-year career at the newspaper at Yale on Monday, March 5, as a Poynter Fellow in Journalism.

Pear’s talk, “Four Decades Reporting on Health Care for the New York Times,” will take place from 12:10 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Rm. 120 of the Sterling Law Building, 127 Wall St. Pear will be joined by Ed Grossman, former deputy and senior legislative counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the event will be moderated by Abbe Gluck, professor of law and faculty director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, which is co-sponsoring the event.

Pear has been a domestic correspondent at The New York Times Washington bureau since he joined the paper in 1979. His coverage has included a host of issues: the Justice Department, social policy, health care, civil rights, immigration, and foreign policy. But he is best known for his coverage of health policy and health care. Before joining the Times, Pear was a reporter for five years at the Washington Star.

Full Story: Yale News