Newspapers

The Real Paper: An Alternative Approach to Real News

With its large college student population, Boston in the 1960s and 70s was fertile ground for the development of alternative newspapers that grew from the counterculture movement. One of these alternative newspapers was Cambridge-based The Real Paper, which was published from 1972 to 1981. Bound volumes of back issues, along with business materials from the paper, were recently donated to the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections by former comptroller of The Real Paper Howard Garsh.

Cover image from an issue of The Real PaperOriginally the Cambridge Phoenix (known simply as The Phoenix), The Real Paper was formed in 1972 by the group of staff members left without jobs after the Cambridge Phoenix was sold to Stephen Mindich, owner of the rival alternative newspaper, Boston After Dark. This group of staff built their newspaper so that each employee was an equal shareholder in the company, and the board of directors and editor in chief position were decided on by vote.

Throughout the 1970s The Real Paper continued to publish its weekly newspaper aimed at college students and young adults. Issues of The Real Paper included local news stories on politics and social issues along with major national news. The Real Paper had an extensive arts section reporting on music, movies, and the wide range of concerts, classes, and performances happening in the Boston and Cambridge area.

While The Real Paper ceased publication in 1981, the paper served as a launching pad for many of its writers, including Bruce Springsteen’s manager and producer, Jon Landau; rock biographer Stephen Davis; culinary historian Laura Shapiro; and many others who continued writing at major publications such as Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and The Boston Globe.

The Real Paper collection, housed in the Library’s Archives and Special Collections, includes bound volumes of issues covering all years of publication as well as administrative and financial records pertaining to the creation, selling, and closure of the newspaper. For access to the collection, please contact us at archives@northeastern.edu or visit us in the basement of Snell Library, room 092.

Introducing Mideastwire

Mideastwire provides daily English-language summaries of key political, cultural, economic, and opinion pieces produced by the media in 22 Arab countries, Iran, and the Arab Diaspora. Although this resource is particularly relevant for faculty and students in Political Science, International Affairs, Journalism, and International Business, it will be of interest to anyone following current developments in the Middle East and Arab world. Automatic delivery of a daily briefing is available through RSS feed or e-mail. To enable e-mail delivery of the daily briefing, send a blank e-mail message to info@mideastwire.com. Please note that there are currently some difficulties with delivery to Gmail accounts; Gmail users, please see the following FAQ: http://0-www.mideastwire.com.ilsprod.lib.neu.edu/faq.php. A link to RSS feeds is available on the home page of Mideastwire. Additional features include:
  • Links from each translated article to the original news piece which offers users the look and feel of the original news source. Additionally, readers fluent in the language of publication may view the original.
  • Five year archive for issue tracking.
  • Basic and advanced searching of the article archive.
  • Access to the Mideastwire blog.
  • Links to related websites.
  • Alumni access.
Mideastwire enhances international news coverage already provided through other library resources, including EIU.com, Press Display, Access World News, and Lexis/Nexis Academic.

Making The Library Work For You

(This may Develop into a series depending on how daring I am.)

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m just your friendly neighborhood Journalism major who works in one of the Library’s many offices. So, I find myself sitting here, clicking through the Library looking for something to write about; like many students I have the typical Generation-Y aversion to libraries. But, then I stumbled on something that made me realize I was wrong.

While there is a wealth of information available to us on the internet (I mean it’s even destroying my job prospects as I write this) there is some stuff you just can’t get. My first thought goes to older newspaper articles or back issues of magazines. And, while it is necessary to learn by doing, it is also pertinent to see what some of the greats have done to earn their stripes. Sadly, that is becoming more difficult.

The Library can actually be of tremendous help in that regard. The Library here at Northeastern maintains subscriptions to various databases that have newspapers dating back to 1690 and they have all the Papers of Record dating back until at least 1991(NYTimes, Boston Globe).  Added Bonus: It’s free for students!

So, not only can I meld my love of a good newspaper article with my love of the versatility of the internet, but I can also rid myself of a previously held, and somewhat misguided, notion that libraries are outdated.

As an added bonus, I’m going to read Distinguished Professor Walter V. Robinson’s article which brought the Catholic Church scandal into the limelight in 2002….See if you can find THAT on Boston.com.

New Journalism?

Rebecca’s post and its ideas about how the ways we read and think may be changing led me to want to share a recent article about how journalism is changing in these ways too.  It focuses specifically on the figure of media blogger Jim Romensko, and it’s written by Howell Raines. One quote really stuck out to me:
Newspaper publishers assumed that even if the printing press disappeared, the internet would still have an insatiable need for their basic product-verified facts, hierarchically arranged by importance. But Romenesko’s rapid growth showed that even newsrooms are part of the emerging market for an unprocessed sprawl of information, delivered immediately and with as few filters as possible between the fingertips of one laptop user and the eyeballs of another. In short, it’s not technology per se that’s killing newspapers; it’s plummeting demand for quality information.
What do you think? Sometimes I worry that I too, have developed a taste for new, unverified and immediate information-I feel panicked by the thought that something hugely significant could be happening that I have no idea of, but I must find out about it right away.  Or do you think that Raines has a biased (and possibly bitter) view? Roy Harris, author of Pulitzer’s Gold spoke about the history of public service journalism this spring, as part of the Library’s Meet the Author Series.  He specifically talks about Howell Raines, Gerald Boyd and the Jason Blair scandal.