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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Feature: Communication Theories in a Multicultural World

For the theory driven in our field, Communication Theories in a Multicultural World (Peter Lang, 2014), edited by Clifford Christians and Kaarle Nordenstreng, aims to loosen the Western grip in this area a bit.  The inspiration for the book came out of the textbook project of the International Association for Mass Communication Research (IAMCR), which goes all the way back to 1982.

Robert White,(in the book's opening overview, locates theory in the public sphere: "This conception of the public sphere prizes a communicative relation of care, concern, and nurture, especially of the less powerful and marginalized...It is a public sphere of multicultural dialogue in which all open themselves to the challenging claims of communication justice posed by different cultures with a readiness to adapt to the justice of these challenges. The contributors here tend to think of the public not as one large communicative arena, but as a multiplicity of public spheres emerging from new movements, the defense of local communities, continually redistributing the power of a feudalistic or imperial past, strong advocacy communication that seeks to make identities explicit, fostering cultural creativity. The conception of the public is characterized by awareness of the continual harmful tendencies toward concentration of communication power, especially in the realm of the material political-economic order, but also an openness to movements to challenge ideologies and encourage dissent in the face of false unity in the name of harmony,"
Table of Contents: Kaarle Nordenstreng: Preface: Toward a Better World – Robert A. White: Keeping the Public Sphere(s) Public – Brenda Dervin/Peter Shields: Talking Communicatively About Mass Communication in Communication Theories: Beyond Multiplicity, Toward Communicating – Denis McQuail: Social Scientific Theory of Communication Encounters Normativity: A Personal Memoir – Janet Wasko: Understanding the Critical Political Economy of the Media – Peter Golding/Karen Williamson: Power, Inequality, and Citizenship: The Enduring Importance of the Political Economy of Communications – Roger Bromley: Cultural Studies: Dialogue, Continuity, and Change – Michael Real/David Black: A Mutually Radicalizing Relationship: Communication Theory and Cultural Studies in the United States – Jesús Martin-Barbero: Thinking Communication in Latin America – Joseph Oládèjo Fáníran: Toward a Theory of African Communication – Keval J. Kumar: Theorizing About Communication in India: Sadharanikaran, Rasa, and Other Traditions in Rhetoric and Aesthetics – Thomas Tufte: Voice, Citizenship, and Civic Action: Challenges to Participatory Communication – Stewart M. Hoover: Media, Culture, and the Imagination of Religion – Pradip N. Thomas: Theorizing Development, Communication, and Social Change – Cees J. Hamelink: Human Rights and Communication: Reflections on a Challenging Relationship – Ruth Teer-Tomaselli/Keyan G. Tomaselli: Struggle, Vatican II, and Development Communication Practice – Paul A. Soukup, SJ: Media Ecology – Theodore L. Glasser/Isabel Awad: Journalism, Multiculturalism, and the Struggle for Solidarity – Clifford G. Christians: Media Ethics in Transnational, Gender Inclusive, and Multicultural Terms.

The book is available at Annenberg Reference HM1211.C6496.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

June CommQuote


This month's quote comes from Wired Magazine's profile piece on Oculus Rift, The Inside Story of Oculus Rift and How Virtual Reality Became Reality (May 20, 2014) by Peter Rubin.


"...Beyond that, though, the company and its technology herald nothing less than the dawn of an entirely new era of communication. Mark Zuckerberg gestured at the possibilities himself in a Facebook post in March when he announced the acquisition: “Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world, or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home.” That’s the true promise of VR: going beyond the idea of immersion and achieving true presence—the feeling of actually existing in a virtual space. That’s because Oculus has found a way to make a headset that does more than just hang a big screen in front of your face. By combining stereoscopic 3-D, 360-degree visuals, and a wide field of view—along with a supersize dose of engineering and software magic—it hacks your visual cortex. As far as your brain is concerned, there’s no difference between experiencing something on the Rift and experiencing it in the real world. “This is the first time that we’ve succeeded in stimulating parts of the human visual system directly,” says Abrash, the Valve engineer. “I don’t get vertigo when I watch a video of the Grand Canyon on TV, but I do when I stand on a ledge in VR.” Now Oculus is hard at work on its long-awaited headset for consumers, which the company predicts will be released later this year, or more likely early next year, or perhaps even not so early next year. Whenever it comes, we’ll finally have something that has eluded us for more than 30 years: immersive, affordable virtual reality. And we’ll all know what Brendan Iribe knew standing in that room outside of Seattle. 'I’ve seen five or six demos that made me think the world was about to change: Apple II, Netscape, Google, iPhone … then Oculus...This is going to be bigger than we ever expected.'" 

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Books Network Podcasts: Media and Communication


A both interesting and entertaining way to keep informed about new books in the field is with New Books in Media and Communication podcasts. Part of the New Books Network,* New Books in Media and Communication is hosted by Jeff Pooley, associate professor of media and  communication at Muhlenberg College, and John L. Sullivan, professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College. With these two scholars at the helm, what's not to follow?

Say this blog was a camera...it's fitted with a wide angle lens, featuring books in communication, media, and technology most broadly defined. Recent titles range from Patrick Burkart's Pirate Politics: The New Information Policy Conflicts to Noise Matters: Towards an Ontology of Noise by Greg Hainge, from Obama, the Media, and Framing the U.S. Exit from Iraq and Afghanistan (Erika G. King) to Robert Darnton's On the Future of Libraries.  The most recent podcast is devoted to David Hesmondhalgh's Why Music Matters. The hosts produce "hour-long interviews with authors that allow them the time and freedom to discuss in detail what makes their books exciting, interesting, and important."

*Other NBN channels include Digital Culture, Film, Journalism, Popular Culture, and Sociology.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Media Industries Journal

The Media Industries Scholarly Interest Group (MISIG) has launched the inaugural issue of its multi-media, open access journal Media Industries.

Journal statement from the editors:
Media Industries "promotes critical studies of media industries and institutions worldwide. We invite contributions that range across the full spectrum of media industries, including film, television, internet, radio, music, publishing, electronic games, advertising, and mobile communications. Submissions may explore these industries individually or examine inter-medial relations between industrial sectors. We encourage both contemporary and historical studies, and are especially interested in contributions that draw attention to global and international perspectives. Media Industries is furthermore committed to the exploration of innovative methodologies, imaginative theoretical approaches, and new research directions."

The first issue includes an opening essay from the members of the journal's "editorial collective." Additional articles include:

Dirt Research for Media Industries

Charles R. Acland

The Menace of Instrumentalism in Media Industries Research and Education

David Hesmondhalgh

On Automation in Media Industries: Integrating Algorithmic Media Production into Media Industries Scholarship

Philip M. Napoli

There Is No Music Industry 

Jonathan Sterne

The Case for Studying In-Store Media

Joseph Turow


I may not have clicked into all the articles but I didn't find one that was over four pages of text; brevity seems to be an unspoken rule, at least for this first issue.   

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Reference Titles


Here are some decent new reference works in the field from three different publishers.


Encyclopedia of Health Communication, editor-in-chief Teresa L. Thompson (Sage, 2014). A three-volume work of nearly 600 articles including such topics as theories and research traditions, evaluation and assessment, cultural complexities, high risk and special populations, message design and campaigns, provider/patient interaction issues; media issues, and more. Besides the extensive index, the Appendices include a Resource Guide to key books, journals and websites pertinent to health communication.

Global Handbooks in Media and Communication Research
Wiley-Blackwell has an excellent series of handbooks in global communication. You can check out  intro matter and Table of contents for these works at Wiley Online Library (General Communication & Media Studies). (You will probably want to browse here for other online communication titles besides these, some available in full text.) At this date, the four handbooks below are at the Annenberg Library and not accessible online. 

The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications, edited by Janet Wasko, Graham Murdock, and Helena Sousa (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

 

The Handbook of Media Audiences, edited by Virginia Nightingale
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).



The Handbook of Development Communication and Social Change, edited by Karin Gwinn Wilkins, Thomas Tufte, and Rafael Obregon
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).
  

The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy, edited by Robin Mansell and Marc Raboy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities, edited by Peter Adey, David Bissell, Kevin Hannam, Peter Merriman, and Mim Sheller (Routledge, 2014).
"Illustrates disciplinary trends and pathways, from migration studies and transport history to communications research, featuring methodological innovations and developments and conceptual histories - from feminist theory to tourist studies. It explores the dominant figures of mobility, from children to soldiers and the mobility impaired; the disparate materialities of mobility such as flows of water and waste to the vectors of viruses; key infrastructures such as logistics systems to the informal services of megacity slums, and the important mobility events around which our world turns; from going on vacation to the commute, to the catastrophic disruption of mobility systems."


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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Indexing of Open Access Journals in Communication

The latest issue of Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian (Jan-March 2014) features research targeted directly at our field,  Open Access Journals in Communication Studies: Indexing in Five Commercial Databases by Sonia Poulin and Robert Tomaszewski. The five databases the authors look at are: Communication Abstracts, Communication and Mass Media Complete (CMMC), Web of Science, Scopus, and EBSCO's Academic Search Complete.

ABSTRACT
This study investigates the degree of indexing of gold open access (OA) journals within the field of communication studies in five major commercial bibliographical databases commonly subscribed to by academic libraries and used by researchers and students. Results of the study indicate that 32 percent of the 147 gold OA journals identified were indexed in the five target databases. The communication studies databases provided the most complete indexing, while among the multidisciplinary databases, Scopus provided more coverage, compared to Academic Search Complete and Web of Science.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May CommQuote

Hooray for May.  This month's quote goes to poet Vijay Seshadri. The poem is titled New Media and comes from his latest collection 3 Sections.

"Anyone concerned about the state of American poetry should put aside his or her thesis notes and pick up a copy of 3 Sections. . . . Mr.Seshadri is talented and assured enough to lay his self-consciousness bare on the page with a generous, fluid, avuncular wit reminiscent of W.H. Auden." —The American Reader


New Media

Why I wanted to escape experience is nobody's business but my own,
but I always believed I could if I could

put experience into words.
Now I know better.
Now I know words are experience.

"But ah thought kills me that I am not thought"
"2 People Search for YOU"
"In the beginning there was the . . ."
"re: Miss Exotic World"
"I Want Us To Executed Transaction"

It's not the thing,
there is no thing,
there's no thing in itself,
there's nothing but what's said about the thing,
there are no things but words

about the things 
said over and over,
perching, grooming their wings,
on the subject lines.

--from: 3 Sections, by Vijay Seshadri (Graywolf Press, 3013). p20

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Report on User-Generated Content (UGC) in TV and Online News

Another interesting report from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism: AMATEUR FOOTAGE: A GLOBAL STUDY OF USER-GENERATED CONTENT IN TV AND ONLINE-NEWS OUTPUT is by Claire Wardle, Sam Dubberley, and Pete Brown. 

This Phase 1 Report (April 2014) represents research that has been split into quantitative and qualitative phases with this report focusing largely on the former.  I couldn't find a timetable for when we might expect Phase II, which will focus on interviews with over 60 journalists and editors, but I'll keep an eye out for it.

Conclusions from the Executive Summary:

1) UGC is used by news organizations daily, but only when other content is not available to tell the story.

2) News organizations are poor and inconsistent in labeling content as UGC and crediting the individual who captured the content.

Our data showed more similarities than differences across television and Web output, with troubling practices across both platforms. The best use of UGC was online, mostly because the Web provides opportunities for integrating UGC into news output like live blogs and topic pages.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New E-Resource: A History of Journalism in China

New to Penn Libraries E-Resources is A History of Journalism in China, a 10-volume English language overview on the subject, the first of its kind.

This encyclopedic work from Enrich Publishing spans 200 BC to 1991 covering all aspects of journalism in China’s history-- including newspapers, periodicals, news agencies, broadcast television, photography, documentary film, and journals--all against the backdrop of the region's significant historical events. Not only Mainland China is included in this overview, but Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and the larger Chinese diaspora.

All ten volumes were authored by Fang Hanqi, Professor Emeritus in Journalism, who is considered the “Father of China’s Modern Journalism."


  Content Highlights (from the Publisher):
  • The Early Newspaper Publishing Activities of Foreigners in China
  • Political Standpoints of the Chinese-Operated Newspapers
  • Journalism in the era of the 1911 Revolution
  • Journalism in the Early Republic Period of China
  • Journalism in the May Fourth Movement
  • The Founding of the Communist Party in China and Journalism during 1924–1927
  • The CPC’s Journalism during the Chinese Civil War
  • Kuomintang Journalism and Private Journalism during the Ten-Year Civil War
  • Journalism in the Kuomintang-Controlled Areas during Anti-Japanese War
  • Anti-Japanese Propaganda in Journalism in Hong Kong and Overseas
  • Journalism in the Liberated Areas during the Second Chinese Civil War
  • Gargantuan Changes of Journalism in China
  • Journalism in the Construction of Socialism (January 1957–May 1966)
  • Journalism in the Rectification Movement and the Anti-Rightist Movement

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Post-Industrial News Spaces

The Tow Center for Digital Journalism has just published Moving the Newsroom: Post-Industrial News Spaces and Places. This 61-page multimedia report by Nikki Usher shows what The Miami Herald, The Des Moines Register, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and The Seattle Times have done "to turn from sadness to opportunity through a journey of physical space" and concludes that "symbols--buildings--matter."

Table of Contents

I. Introduction: Moving the Newsroom: Post-Industrial News Spaces and Places

II. Why Move Now?

III. Moving Out: From Leaving the Heart of Downtown to Resettling a Block Away

IV. Symbolic Space: It Matters

V. Reconfiguring Physical Space to Make Way for the Digital Future

VI. The System Behind the Hubs—Change for the Better

VII. Mobile Journalism: Leaving behind Physical Space

VIII. What We Can Learn From All of This

IX. Physical Spaces, Newsroom Places: Considered

Appendix: Newsroom Photo Galleries

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

State of the News Media 2014

It's that time of year again.  Don't forget to check out The Pew Research Center's STATE OF THE NEWS MEDIA 2014. The Pew Center's Journalism Project has been assessing the news media since 1997 and these annual reports, chock-full of data, researchers and students have come to rely on for insight on developing trends in the news media. If you want to compare new findings to previous years click on Datasets for data (in .zip files) from 2008 through 2013.

I've raided the Overview for these six findings you can
read more about in the whole report:

1) Thirty of the largest digital-only news organizations account for about 3,000 jobs and one area of investment is global coverage. 
2) So far, the impact of new money flowing into the industry may be more about fostering new ways of reporting and reaching audience than about building a new, sustainable revenue structure. 
3) Social and mobile developments are doing more than bringing consumers into the process – they are also changing the dynamics of the process itself.
4) New ways of storytelling bring both promise and challenge. 
5) Local television, which reaches about nine in ten U.S. adults, experienced massive change in 2013, change that stayed under the radar of most. 
6) Dramatic changes under way in the makeup of the American population will undoubtedly have an impact on news in the U.S, and in one of the fastest growing demographic groups – Hispanics – we are already seeing shifts. 
One thing that confused me about this year's offering is that there is no single pdf for it. When you go to the link the Report is broken down into separate boxes that add up to the full report. Don't be fooled by the Overview page that has a pdf called Complete Report--it's only the Overview. Go figure. 

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Book Spotlight: Mimi Sheller's Aluminum Dreams

The genre of commodity histories has a great new addition in Mimi Sheller's Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity (MIT Press, 2014). The book is much like the material it chronicles.  While there is a density of thought to it (that is exhilarating), it is not a heavy, obfuscating read like a lot of academic writing can be. It's sleek and beautiful, too, including "a generous selection of striking images of iconic aluminum designs, many in color, drawn from advertisements by Alcoa, Bohn, Kaiser, and other major corporations, pamphlets, films, and exhibitions" (publisher's description). That's why I've decided not to bury it in my Booknotes list of a few dozen titles but give it a post of its own. 
 
Dr. Sheller, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University, visited The Annenberg School last week as a guest of PARGC. While she was there to deliver a talk on  The Ethics of Connected Mobility in a Disconnected World: Bridging Uneven Topologies of Hertzian Space in Post-Disaster Haiti she had her new book with her which I was lucky enough to get my hands on. This led to one of those on-the-spot library purchase decisions that remind you why you got into the profession.

"This book tells the story...of space machines and streamlined gadgets, mobile homes and soaring cities, and the double-edged sword of utopia and catastrophe that hastens us toward the accelerated metallic future envisioned in the twentieth century. The chapters that follow go beyond existing business histories that celebrate the age of aluminum as if it were an inevitable product of this "magic metal," but also beyond the important but one-sided environmental diatribes against heavy industry and transnational corporations, which sometimes ignore the realities of cultural dreams and efficient mobility...The chapters that follow will trace the flow of aluminum around the world, like a ribbon of metal running through the fabric of modernity from one end of the world to the other. Following this thread will allow us to knit together the First World and the Third World, capitalism and communism, the North and the Tropics, battlefields and home fronts, industry and ideas, text and images, the 'modernizing' past the the 'sustainable' future. It will also challenge us to confront some of the most basic questions about the future of life of earth, the amount of energy we can sustainably use, and what our lives would be like if we tried to live without certain modern conveniences predicated on aluminum's contribution to lightness, speed, and mobility." --Mimi Sheller "Overview of Book" from the Introduction
 
You can borrow the book from Annenberg Reserve (see me about extending your loan time).  Van Pelt will have a copy soon, too. 


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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

April CommQuote

I love this bleary mixing of media morphing into other media forms/formats. That's what artist Jim Campbell is all about as reported in Benjamin Sutton's Why Is Jim Campbell’s Low-Res Video Art So Compelling, Even Captivating? for artnet news.
"In Topography Reconstruction Wave (2014) [pictured below], the footage of a crashing wave plays behind a thick layer of resin sculpted to represent a photograph of a wave. This work, part of a new series employing more sculptural elements than much of Campbell’s preceding works, culminates when the blurred video of the wave seems to line up perfectly with the sculpted resin wave encasing it....In addition to the process of stripping away visual information in his low-resolution videos, he is increasingly interested in the conversion of one type of media into another—in the case of the resin works, transforming black-and-white images into three-dimensional sculptures. The effect is deeply unsettling because of the way in which the video’s flickering lights interact with the translucent resin.

'As the lights change it distorts based on how thick the resin is, and what that does is that as the light passes through the face it feels like the face is moving, which goes back to this theory about some of the very earliest cave paintings that we have found; some people have suggested that with fire in there that they were actually animated,' Campbell explained."

You can take in the full article here.

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