Friday, September 28, 2007

Media Sustainability Indexes from IREX

IREX currently publishes two indexes on the conditions for independent media to thrive in 38 countries across Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Since 2000 it has focused on Eurasian MSI but since 2006 it has taken on the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, an MSI for Africa is due out this year. The MSI is designed to analyze key elements of each country’s media system and highlight where intervention can be most effective in promoting sustainable and professional media systems.

MSI Europe & Eurasia 2006/07, the sixth MSI for this region, focuses on 21 countries.
MSI Middle East and North Africa (MENA) analyzes 18 countries in the region. Both are available in full online.

IREX (International Research and Exchange Board), is an international nonprofit organization that describes its mission as "providing leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media, and foster pluralistic civil society development."

Tooling around the site I also ran into this: The Internet in Russia: On The Eve of Great Changes, an IREX Internet project for Russia that chronicles the dramatic changes in the growth of the Internet in Russia from 1990-1999. This online history includes information collected from more than 200 sources and site addresses of leading commercial, educational, and noncommercial organizations. As explained at the IREX site, "Vast distances, compounded by the deteriorating infrastructure of existing mail, telephone, fax, and other traditional means of communication, make the Internet an ideal medium to overcome the historical isolation of Soviet scholars, students, and business people and increase communication among the emerging civil society."

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hunter collection of Chinese political communication available from RCL

Chinese pamphlets: Political communication and mass education in the early period of the People's Republic of China is an electronic archive of mass education materials published in Hong Kong and in Mainland China, particularly Shanghai, in the years 1947-1954. It includes approximately 200 cartoon books, pamphlets, postcards, and magazines, heavily pictorial in content, on such topics as foreign threats to Chinese security, Chinese relations with the Soviet Union, industrial and agricultural production, and marriage reform. Produced by both Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist) and Communist regimes, these materials appear to be directed at the general youth and adult populations of China.
The items were collected and, in many instances, translated and annotated by Edward Hunter. An analyst of propaganda and mass education, Edward Hunter (1902 – 1978) was a journalist, writer, and outspoken critic of Communism. His most well known book was Brain-washing in Red China: the calculated destruction of men’s minds (1951).

This collection constitutes the “street literature” of the revolution: comic books, leaflets and other ephemera distributed to the population of the provincial cities and villages whereas the propaganda collections Western libraries tend to hold are made up of the higher-end, made-for-export propaganda.

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is a consortium of North American universities, colleges and independent research libraries. The consortium, of which Penn is a member, acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives and other traditional and digital resources for research and teaching. These resources are then made available to member institutions cooperatively, through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Media Archeology at The Early Visual Media Website

Interested in early forms of multimedia? Then check out The Early Visual Media Website which showcases the precursors to today's multimedia, virtual reality, and time-based media techniques but opens its gates to "all media where people try to reconstruct the visible world around us for artistic and/or entertainment purposes." According to the site's author, Thomas A.E. Weynants, archivist at Ghent University, viewing the variety of "wondrous devices...opens a lot of opportunities for research and discovering in the field of Media Archeology." He admittedly focuses on the more spectacular examples of early visual media. The site is rather confusingly displayed but on the left hand side there is some clear sorting: of Pre-cinema, Photography, Early Film, Television, Fairground Art, Conjuring Arts, and Death Dance. One can also find an extensive list of links to other sites on the web divided into useful categories such as Pre-cinema and optical toys, Chronophotography, 19th Century photography, Daguerreotypes, Stereotography, Fair and vaudeville, Prestidigitation and illusions, Physical culture, the History of television, and others.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Communication Yearbook 31

State-of-the-discipline literature review articles on silence, openness and avoidance in couples communicating about cancer, trauma in communication studies, media content diversity, roles of interpersonal communication in mass media campaigns, and others make up the 31st issue of the International Communication Association's Communication Yearbook. Christina S. Beck (Ohio University) continues from last year as editor. Available in the ASC reference.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Journal Roundup: Noteworthy Special Issues

You may have noticed this blog likes to highlight special themed issues of journals. Here are a few of late:

Journalism Studies, Volume 8, Number 4 (August 2007)
Mapping the Magazine, guest edited by Tim Holmes. Includes articles on For Women, women's pornography magazine; irony in men's magazines; Kate Moss and photojournlism; South Africa's Drum, women's magazines in Russia, gossip magazines in Spain, consumer magazines in South Africa and Israel, metal music magazines, and 19th Century popular science magazines.

Rhetoric & Public Affairs Volume 10, Number 2 (Summer 2007)
Rhetoric and the War in Iraq, guest edited by Herbert W. Simons. Includes an article by Kathleen Hall Jamieson, "Justifying the War in Iraq: What the Bush Administration's Uses of Evidence Reveal."

Journal of Consumer Culture Volume 7, Number 2 (July 2007)
Citizenship and Consumption, guest edited by Frank Trentmann and Don Slater.

Televizion (20/2007/E)
TV for TV Beginners, Edited by Maya Gotz. This German journal devoted to children and television limits this issue to infants through preschoolers. Not all issues of Televizion are in English but this one is.

Information Communication & Society Volume 10, Number 3 (2007)
Gender and ICT, guest edited by Clem Herman and Juliet Webster.

Social Semiotics (Volume 17, Number 3 (September 2007)
Somatechnics: Reconfiguring Body Modification, guest edited by Jessica Cadwallader and Samantha Murray. The papers that make up this special issue are drawn from the Body Modification: Mark II Conference, held at Macquarie University in 2005. Explain the editors: "The vast array of practices, discourses and texts discussed at this conference led to the coining of the neologism "somatechnics." The inextricability of soma - the body - and technics, techniques, technologies and technes is thus at the heart of a set of politicised and critical interrogations of subjectivity and bodily being. This issue, engaging as it does with such a range of body modificatory practices, offers a consideration of this newly named area of study." Articles on the corset, queer culture, colonialism and corporal punishment, the Body Worlds exhibit, the surgical imaginary, deviant (fat) bodies, and genital modification collect around this theme.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New NCI Report on How Americans Obtain Information About Cancer

Cancer Communication: Health Information National Trends Survey 2003 and 2005, an 85 page report based on data from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) conducted every other year and sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is available at the NIH website. The NCI first conducted the study in 2003, surveying the U.S. civilian adult population to assess trends in the usage of health information over time and to study the links among cancer-related communication, knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. From the press release: "The newly issued report provides a snapshot of how Americans are responding to changes in access to information and the abundance of health information. The data show a growing preference toward receiving health information -- whether cancer-related or other health information -- from a health care provider than from other sources, such as printed materials, friends and family, information specialists, and the Internet." About 12,000 responses (by random telephone calls) were recorded in both years combined.

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Iran's PressTV

PRESS TV is the first international Iran-based news network to broadcast in English on a round-the-clock schedule. Based in Tehran and state-run, it is staffed by media professionals from around the world. On the website it describes its goal as "to present a deeper analysis of current affairs, aiming to show the other side of the story. " It goes on to describe its larger vision as threefold: "to break the global media stranglehold of western outlets, to bridge cultural divisions pragmatically, and (three) to highlight the versatility and vitality of political and cultural differences, making up the human condition." The site features news articles and the opportunity to watch live coverage.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Documentaries on International Journalism

Take a study break (already!) with these award winning documentaries, available at the Annenberg Library.

A Tribe of His Own (directed by Joe Moulins, 2002). A little film about an Indian reporter delivers insights on human suffering and inextinguishable hope.

Talk Mogadishu: Media Under Fire (directed by Judy Jackson, 2003). The story of HornAfrik, the first community TV and radio station in Somalia.

The Man We Called Juan Carlos (2000) The story of a Mayan peasant who affected the lives of Canadian filmmakers for over 25 years as they recorded his life.

Independent Intervention: Breaking the Silence (directed by Tonje Hessen Schei and David Bee, 2006). United States media coverage of the war in Iraq, investigating how the systems and institutions that govern information flow in times of political turmoil.

Thirty Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle, A Photojournalist's Personal Odyssey (directed by Rustin Thompson, 2000). An impressionistic film journal that witnesses the tumultuous World Trade Organization 1999 convention in Seattle.

Democracy on Deadline (directed by Calvin Skaggs, 2006). A sweeping look at how journalists work in different media, in different languages, in different parts of the world.

Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press (directed by Rick Goldsmith, 1996. 2006). Academy Award nominated documentary on legendary journalist George Seldes.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

September CommQuote

This month's quote comes from Nick Hornby's debut novel High Fidelity (1995), a hilarious riff on the interplay between pop culture (especially pop music) and real life inextricably tangled in the mind of the novel's central character who has, in this passage, his own take on media effects.

"Some of my favorite songs: "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," by Neil Young; "Last Night I Dreamed That Somebody Loved Me" by the Smiths; "Call Me" by Aretha Franklin; "I Don't Want to Talk About It" by anybody. And then there's "Love Hurts" and "When Love Breaks Down" and "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" and "The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" and "She's Gone" and "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" and . . . some of these songs I have listened to around once a week, on average (three hundred times in the first month, every now and again thereafter), since I was sixteen or nineteen or twenty-one. How can that not leave you bruised somewhere? How can that not turn you into the sort of person to break into little bits when your first love goes all wrong? What came first--the music or the misery? Did I listen to music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person?
People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands--literally thousands--of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don't know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they've been listening to the sad songs longer than they've been living the unhappy lives."
--Nick Hornby, High Fidelity, (Riverhead Essential Editions, 1995, pp. 24-25)

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