Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Special Issues Roundup

Measuring Exposure: Papers from the Annenberg Media Exposure Workshop, edited by Martin Fishbein and Robert Hornik is the special double issue of Communication Methods and Measures (Volume 2, Numbers 1-2, January-June 2008). The workshop, held at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania, asked six questions. 1) How reliable are general measures of exposure?, 2) How can we measure exposure to a specific type of content across media?, 3) How should multiple media use and multi-tasking be taken into account in assessing exposure?, 4) What alternative approaches should be considered for measuring content? 5) How do you assess what content is out there?, and 6) What receiver issues need to be taken into account in developing measures of exposure? One or two papers in the issue are devoted to each of these questions.

Ilan Kapoor and Shahnaz Khan edit the special issue of Topia (Number 19, Spring 2008), Islam and Cultural Politics. As the editors explain in the introduction, the issue focuses on two views of Islam: The Dominant View: Islam as "Other" and The Postcolonial View: Islam as Open and Political.

Communication and the Community of Sport is the topic of the Western Journal of Communication, edited Bob Krizek (Volume 72, Number 2, April-June 2008).

Social Semiotics (Volume 18, Number 2, June 2008) deals with The Star and the Celebrity Confessional. Edited by Sean Redmond, the issue includes 10 articles on celebrity confessions, racism and celebrity, celebrity motherhood, confessional art, among others. Celebrities include the usual suspects: Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Jodie Foster, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Russell Crowe.

The International Communication Gazette (Volume 70, Numbers 3-4, June/August, 2008) is titled Communicative Cities featuring seven articles on urban communication, networks, and public space. Gary Gumpert and Susan J. Drucker are co-editors.

And two cultural studies journals devote issues to the environment:

Cultural Studies and the Environment, Revisited is the special issue of Cultural Studies (Volume 22, Numbers 3-4, May/July 2008), guested-edited by Phaedra C. Pezzullo.

Kitty van Vuuren and Libby Lester guest-edit the Eco-Media issue of Media International Australia (Number 127, May 2008) which includes Celebrity Conservation: Interpreting the Irwins (to return to a subject above).

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Booknotes

The Amish and the Media, edited by Diane Zimmerman Umble and David L Weaver-Zercher (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). Explores how a group with profound reservations toward the media use their own media networks to sustain their culture.

The Anti-Intellectual Presidency: The Decline of Presidential Rhetoric From George Washington to George W. Bush, by Elvin T. Lim (Oxford University Press, 2008). Traces a simplification of presidential rhetoric over history and describes anti-intellectualism as a deliberate choice; draws on interviews with more than 40 speechwriters.

Beijing Opera Costumes: The Visual Communication of Character and Culture, by Alexandra B. Bonds (University of Hawai'i Press, 2008). Examines the past and present history of costume for traditional Jingju, Chinese opera.

The Changing Portrayal of Adolescents in the Media Since 1950, edited by Patrick Jamieson and Daniel Romer (Oxford University Press, 2008). “Leading scholars analyze the emergence of youth culture in music and powerful trends in gender and ethnic-racial representation, sexuality, substance use, violence, and suicide portrayed in the media” –back cover

The Child at Risk: Paedophiles, Media Responses and Public Opinion, by Anneke Meyer (University of Manchester Press, 2007). Critical discourse analysis of media representations of paedophilia in two British newspapers, The News of the World and The Guardian.

Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture, by Jack Z. Bratich (State University of New York Press, 2008). Analyzes the cultural anxiety created by the existence of conspiracy theories.

Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, by Benjamin R. Barber (W.W. Norton, 2007). “As an extremely well written tour de force with plenty of examples, Consumed clearly is designed to communicate to non-academics the expansive nature of consumer capitalism and the anti democratic effects such expansion triggers….Barber is a public intellectual and should be commended as such. Targeted to a broad readership, Consumed is a “big idea” book that is critical of antidemocratic corporate and commercial trends.” –Mathew McAllister, Penn State University

Culture and Power: A History of Cultural Studies, by Mark Gibson (University of New South Whales Press, 2007). “A critical analysis of the nature and purpose of Cultural Studies, the book assesses the development of the discipline from the work of Michel Foucault in post-war France and the Birmingham Centre for Cultural Studies in the 1970s to the expansion of the field in the United States and present day concerns with culture, politics and ethics.” –Publisher’s website

The Flash Press: Sporting Male Weeklies in 1840s New York (University of Chicago Press, 2008) Denounced as offensive and obscene by their many detractors, the weeklies self-righteously purported to expose the city's seedy underbelly by reveling in scandal. Although immensely popular, they were not a durable commodity, so it wasn't until 1985, when the American Antiquarian Society acquired nearly 100 issues, that scholars began to study them. The Flash Press traces the papers' brief but turbulent run through the litigation and public outcry that eventually shut them down.

Gin Before Breakfast: The Dilemma of the Poet in the Newsroom, by Phyllis Asdruf (Syracuse University, 2007). The author, a poet-journalist herself, traces the lives of 13 nineteenth and twentieth century poet-journalists.

Inside the Presidential Deabates: Their Improbable and Past and Promising Future, by Newton N. Minow and Craig L. LaMay. (University of Chigaco, 2008).
“He [Minow] has stood in the center of the ‘debate over the debates,’ casting a cool eye on the medium and on the democratic process he has done so much to shape.” –Jonathan Alter, columnist and senior editor, Newsweek

Mass Culture and Italian Society From Fascism to the Cold War, by David Forgacs and Stephen Gundle (Indiana University Press, 2008). Examines the complex role of film, radio, and other mass media in Italy's modernization

The Mass Media and Latino Politics: Studies of U.S. Media Content, Campaign Strategies and Survey Research: 1984-2004, by Federico Subervi-Velez. (Routledge, 2008) . "This volume is a must read for scholars, teachers and civic office holders who seek to understand the interrelationships between Latinos, media and politics. It is a concentrated text with insights on audiences and media content that all political communication faculty and students should read. Particularly in today’s charged campaign atmosphere this volume holds a special value because it addresses issues of ethnicity/race, language and culture in ways in which other books cannot. Few political communication specialists can tackle the past, present and future of the mass media as it pertains to Latinos and politics.” —Diana I. Rios, Ph.D., Department of Communication Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs

The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Studies, by Steven E. Jones (Routledge, 2008). The first book to examine video games through lens of textual studies.

The Media and the Rwanda Genocide, edited by Allan Thompson (Pluto Press, 2007). Volume draws on over 30 contributors who attended a symposium hosted by the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, Ottawa in March of 2004.
Medium Cool: Music Videos From Soundies to Cellphones, edited by Roger Bebe and Jason Middleton (Duke, 2007). Wide ranging essays on how music videos are thriving in their post-MTV incarnations via the internet and mobile devices.

Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics, by Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais (Rutgers University Press, 2008). “Building on the seminal work of previous generational theorists, [the authors] demonstrate and describe, for the first time, the two types of realignments-"idealist" and "civic"-that have alternated with one another throughout the nation's history. Based on these patterns, Winograd and Hais predict that the next realignment will be very different from the last one that occurred in 1968. "Idealist" realignments, like the one put into motion forty years ago by the Baby Boomer Generation, produce, among other things, a political emphasis on divisive social issues and governmental gridlock. "Civic" realignments, like the one that is coming, and the one produced by the famous GI or "Greatest" Generation in the 1930s, by contrast, tend to produce societal unity, increased attention to and successful resolution of basic economic and foreign policy issues, and institution-building.” –Publisher’s website

New Tech, New Ties, by Rich Ling (The MIT Press, 2008). “Ling argues that mobile communication helps to engender and develop social cohesion within the family and the peer group. Drawing on the work of Emile Durkheim, Erving Goffman, and Randall Collins, Ling shows that ritual interaction is a catalyst for the development of social bonding. From this perspective, he examines how mobile communication affects face-to-face ritual situations and how ritual is used in interaction mediated by mobile communication. He looks at the evidence, including interviews and observations from around the world, that documents the effect of mobile communication on social bonding and also examines some of the other possibly problematic issues raised by tighter social cohesion in small groups.”—Publisher’s website

A Political History of Journalism, by Geraldine Muhlmann (Polity, 2008). Comparative history of the rise of modern journalism, from the revolution of the late nineteenth century to the present day.

Representing the Unpresentable: Historical Images of National Reform From the Qajars to the Islamic Republic of Iran (Gender, Culture and Politics in the Middle East), by Negar Mottahedeh (Syracuse University Press, 2007). Draws on literary, historical, cinematic, and other texts in a study of cultural representations of the Babi, or followers of the religious movement, Babism.

The Spectacle of Accumulation: Essays in Culture, Media, & Politics, by Sut Jhally (Peter Lang, 2006). Focus on how the media influences gender and race relations, politics, sports and advertising.

Women for President, Media Bias in Eight Campaigns, by Erika Falk (University of Illinois, 2008). ASC grad’s research on eight female presidential candidates argues that the United State’s press privileges male candidates by perpetrating gender stereotypes and has had a discouraging effect on women’s decisions to run for office.

New Public Policy Archive

PolicyArchive is a new, innovative public policy archive of global, non-partisan public policy research brought to us by the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Library and the Center for Governmental Studies, a nonprofit group that encourages civic engagement.

The archive "makes use Internet technology to collect and disseminate summaries and full texts, videos, reports, briefs, and multimedia material of think tank, university, government, and foundation-funded policy research. It offers a subject index, an internal search engine, useful abstracts, email notifications of newly added research, and will soon expand to offer information on researchers and funders, and even user-generated publication reviews. Over time, it will grow to include policy content from international and corporate organizations." (website)

PolicyArchive's goals are ambitious. While it now holds more than 12,000 policy documents from about 220 think tanks and research groups, archive’s developers say they hope to be at 20,000 documents by the end of 2008. They expect to become the largest online repository of public-policy research in the world.

Among the general topics listed is "Media, telecommunications, and information" which is further divided into: Broadcasting, Communication systems, Electronic data processing, transmission, and retrieval, Film and video, Information policy, Journalism and the news, Mass media , Radio, Telecommunications, and Telephone. There is also a general topic of "Culture and Religion," which includes: Arts and arts policy, Cultural heritage and preservation, Culture and civilization, Language and languages, Museums, memorials, and monuments, and Symbols, emblems, and awards, among others.

The archive documents are free and available to all; researchers are encouraged to upload their documents to the site.

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Online Full-text Congressional Hearings 1824-1979 from LexisNexis

From Penn Libraries New & Noteworthy:

LexisNexis Congressional Hearings Retrospective 1824-1979

LexisNexis Congressional Hearings Digital Retrospective Collection A 1824-1979 has been acquired in a cooperative arrangement between Biddle Law Library and the Penn Libraries.

Congressional Hearings Retro A is a work in progress, including both published and unpublished U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives legislative, oversight, investigative and nomination hearings for 1824 through 1979. When completed, Retro A will provide more than 73,000 hearings with 12.8 million pages. More than 20,000 of these hearings are unpublished, gathered from the National Archives and other archival collections. At present (June 2008), Retro A provides 27,054 hearings with 8.7 million pages for 1934-1979. An average of 2,200 hearings with 569,000 pages are added each month, with completion expected in late 2008.

Some interesting highlights of the current Congressional Hearings Retro A collection include:

The strike at Lawrence, Mass. U.S. House. Committee on Rules. March 1912.

[Wages and Hours Act.] Fair Labor Standards Act of 1937. Part 1. U.S. Senate. Committee on Education and Labor, and U.S. House. Committee on Labor. June 1937.

"The Pumpkin Patch" testimony [Hiss-Chambers Hearings]. Hearings regarding Communist espionage in the U.S. Government. Part 2. U.S. House. Committee on Un-American Activities. December 7-10, 1948.

[Kefauver Committee's first TV broadcast.] Investigation of organized crime in interstate commerce: Part 8, Louisiana. U.S. Senate. Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce. January-February 1951.

Treatment of Hansen's Disease in the Territory of Hawaii. U.S. House. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommittee on Territories and Insular Possessions. April 24, 1951.

"Have you no sense of decency, sir?" [Army-McCarthy Hearings.] Special Senate investigation on charges and countercharges involving: Secretary of the Army Robert T. Stevens, John G. Adams, H. Struve Hensel and Senator Joe McCarthy, Roy M. Cohn and Francis P. Carr. Part 59.
U.S. Senate. Committee on Government Operations. June 9, 1954.

Nomination of Thurgood Marshall. U.S. Committee on Judiciary. July 1967.

John Kerry on Vietnam [Fulbright Hearings]. Legislative proposals relating to the war in Southest Asia. U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations. April-May 1971.

Wounded Knee massacre. U.S. Senate. Committe on Judiciary. February 5-6, 1976.

The Congressional Hearings Retro A provides online fulltext documents in searchable PDF-format files. The LexisNexis hearings search interface is integrated with other LexisNexis Congressional products including the Serial Set (1818-1969) and Statutes at Large (1789-present). Each hearing is indexed for subject, Congressional committee and relevant federal agencies, witness name, date, and SuDoc numbers and other bibliographic identifiers, and a brief abstract is provided.

Although Biddle Law Library and the Penn Libraries hold in other formats virtually all published hearings in this digital collection, many of our Great Depression- and World War II-era hearings on paper are among those government documents recognized as most in need of preservation, and most of our hearings holdings prior to 1968 are uncataloged. In addition to providing an alternative format to brittle paper and improving access to these important materials, the fulltext search capabilities of Congressional Hearings Retro A permit searches for distinctive phrases in testimony that elude subject indexing.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

July CommQuote

When Tim Russert died news outlets and networks deferred to his home network, NBC, to be the first to announce the news. NBC delayed announcement until the family had been notified. But folks updating Wikipedia were not so restrained; Igor Tossell writing for the Globe and Mail (Canada) offers some insight into why he went into the Meet the Press entry and updated history before it "happened" in the more official media.

"But the online swarm is an amoral organism that doesn't have much use for clubby gentlemen's agreements. A full 40 minutes before NBC announced the news, somebody else updated Russert's main Wikipedia entry, indicating his date of death, and changed everything to the past tense...The thing is, Wikipedia isn't really about history at all. It's actually a creature of the moment. It might be spotty on historical details, but it's the best answer we have to the question, "Where do things stand right now?" Who's alive? Who's dead? Is the Burj Dubai finished yet? What happened on the last episode of Lost? It's not so much an encyclopedia as a registry of - and I use this word with some trepidation - reality. It's an ever-changing ledger book of where things stand in our universe. And being the one to register momentous news in the ledger of life is like being God's secretary. This may or may not have been exactly what Jimmy Wales had in mind when he started Wikipedia those years ago. This probably wasn't what that benighted soul had in mind when he prematurely killed Tim Russert on Wikipedia. But the lure of being the one to update the accounts on reality will have people clamouring to yell "first" for as long as they have the option."

--Ivor Tossell
I Killed Tim Russert (on Wikipedia)
The Globe and Mail, June 27, 2008

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