Although Massing's two articles are probably more accesible and higher up on the bulleted assignment list for Tuesday 9/22, do not neglect Sparrow, Liu, and Wegner's 2011 Science article--a SHORT one!--on Google's cyborg-like infiltration of its users' normal memory structures.  Though some of the study's methods have been criticized, as scientists are supposed to do, research published recently extends the potential cognitive effects Google has on its users' self-perceptions of how much they know:  M. Fisher, M. Goddu, and F. Kiel, "Searching for Explanations: How the Internet Inflates Estimates of Internal Knowledge,"  Journal of Experimental Psychology 144:3 (2015) 674-87: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xge-0000070.pdf  Print literacy made similar, subtle and gross changes in C15-20 readers' cognition and personality, all the way down to brain structures.  So this "Google effect" is not unique, but literacy is subtle stuff!  Do not underestimate what changes in its technology might do to, and for us.

        For instance, since Nathaniel Butter and associates founded the first English "news-paper" in 1620-21, English readers increasingly came to base their sense of community and global conditions on what they read in these weekly, then daily broadsheets.  Journalism was an early print-based medium that shaped readers' consiousnesses, and its methods are correspondingly highly conventionalized to procide reliable content of a given quality and substance.  Few Goucher students take the newswriting course these days, and it has been years since we had a practicing journalist teaching the course.  "Academic journalism" tends to be long on theory and history, but short on practical newsroom and investigative skills.  To grasp the imperatives guiding print-based news reporting, as opposed to many of the "aggregators" and "click-bait" sites Massing covers in his first survey (June 4), consider this ancient maxim countless editors have told novice reporters: "If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out."  Accuracy and massive patient research compete with the pressure of writing on a deadline to produce extraordinary demands on reporters' abilities.  For a pithy (short) but well-informed set of journalistic sayings and explanations of their significance, see Craig Silverman's "Eight Simple Rules for Doing Journalism," Columbia Journalism Review, September 16, 2011--be sure to read all the way to the bottom for a great "Correction" to his own article.  One thing Massing did not really investigate in his survey of digital journalism was whether any of those sites offered such corrections to errors of fact and omission made in previous reports.  All serious print newspapers admit their mistakes in print--see the upper left corner of page A2 of every Washington Post for examples.  For students who have never read Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men (1974) or seen Alan Pakula's quite accurate film version (1976), this weekend might be a good time to experience the reporters' exhausting and dangerous search for truth.