Always Bet on Text

Graydon Hoare offers a rousing hymn to the virtues of text. Don’t get me wrong, I like me some illustrations, photos, movies and music. But text wins by a mile. Text is everything. My thoughts on this are quite absolute: text is the most powerful, useful, effective communication technology ever, period. Text is the oldest and most stable communication technology (assuming we treat speech/signing as natural phenomenon — there are…

A new study says young Americans have a broad definition of news

I expect that many of my students will be living the experiences documented in this study of how young people encounter news; nevertheless, it’s difficult to notice your own environment if you can’t compare it to *different* environments. Because I grew up with the three TV network news shows and the copy of The Washington Post (my dad would pick it up in the driveway on his way out to…

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Down with Fake Politics! Down with Fake Government! Long Live the Free Press!

You can’t get much more American than Thomas Jefferson. He did not love every newspaper reporter on the planet; however, he wrote that, if forced to choose between government without newspapers or a newspaper without government, he would not hesitate to choose a newspaper without government (under certain very sensible conditions). The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to…

I touched up an intro to hypertext essays from 2000.

When I initially wrote this introduction to hypertext essays in 2000, my assumption was that readers would be experienced writers who already knew what an essay was, so that I could use that knowledge to differentiate between an ordinary essay and a hypertext essay. By 2017, we are teaching “multimodal composition” in our freshman writing classes. Some of the students come in with great writing skills (and I always tell them…