Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Morning Brief: NPR looks at newspapers on the day the Civil War began, 150 years ago; NYT a minority of owner Premiere League team; tablets across the pond

On the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, NPR host Melissa Block interviewed author Harold Holzer about the way newspapers of the day covered the events. (Transcript and audio here.)
Their headline, "Newspapers Showed 'Eerie Calm' As Civil War Began", doesn't really match the story well, I believe, but the interview does reveal the fact that not all the players were lined up on that day when the rebel batteries fired on Fort Sumter -- both Virginia and North Carolina had not yet seceded from the union, for instance.

Melissa Block: The New York Times had a brief item from Charleston, talking about intense excitement in the city and that it has a map, actually, of the forts in Charleston Harbor; lots of anticipation leading up to that day.

Harold Holzer: Absolutely. And a map itself was a rarity. It was a declaration by the publisher that something special was afoot, indeed, because the newspapers were very gray in those days, bereft of illustration, unless they were the picture weeklies. So The Times is heralding the kind of breathless anticipation that's gripping the whole country.

Speaking of The New York Times, The Telegraph revealed yesterday that the media company is the second largest shareholder of Liverpool PC. The fact was discovered thanks to new disclosures made by the majority owners, Fenway Sports Group, led by John Henry. The group also owns the Boston Red Sox.

The NYT's total share of the English football team is not known, but it is more than ten percent, according to the statement released by Fenway Sports Group. The disclosure was mandated by Premier League rules.

Staying across the pond, the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones today takes a look at two tablets that are about to make their debuts in the UK.

Poor Rory, though, has difficulty turning on the first tablet he encounters, the Motorola XOOM, or "Motoroloa Xoom" as it is on the BBC site. He laments the lack of apps for the tablet, the first Honeycomb driven Android device.

The second one, RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, is "slick and capable, though I still have some doubts about whether a 7" device will find a large gap in the market between smartphones and larger tablets like the Xoom and the iPad," write Cellan-Jones. Again, the name is a bit bungled, but I'm sure, with time, they will start getting it right.

Back on this side of the pond, I have long noticed that one device often gets a bit mangled by the US press and that is Apple's iPod products. Forgetting for a second that capitalizing the first letter, as in IPod, is fairly common. But the other thing some media outlets do is capitalize the second part of the name. In other words, iPod touch becomes "iPod Touch". Yes, it is a small error, but newspapers and magazines used to be pretty strict about getting these things right.

When in doubt, check the manufacturer's website, right?