Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Rothenberg Political Report

For all you political junkies out there, Penn Libraries now subscribes to THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT, a non-partisan newsletter covering U.S. House, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns, Presidential politics, and political developments. Some of the pieces that appear in the Report are reprinted from Roll Call, where the Report's editor and publisher, Stuart Rothenberg, is a twice-a-week columnist. Rothenberg is an academic (holds a Ph.D. in political science, has taught) but these days is one of the most respected political analysts/observers on the Washington scene. From his bio: "A frequent soundbite, Mr. Rothenberg has appeared on Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation, The NewsHour, Nightline and many other television programs. He is often quoted in the nation’s major media, and his op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers." The Rothenberg Report's archive on the site goes back to 2005.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Harvard to Digitize 80,000 Hours Israel Broadcasting Authority Content

The Jerusalem Post (10/27/2020) reports:

The Israel Broadcasting Authority and Harvard University signed an agreement Tuesday to digitize 80,000 hours of recordings dating back to the pre-state period.

...History conscious people at the IBA were aware that the technology of yesteryear was fast becoming obsolete and unless the archives were transferred to a system compatible with today’s technology, they would continue to deteriorate and a great deal of valuable information about the development of the state, issues that transfixed or galvanized the nation, and, most important perhaps, the voices and images of national icons would disappear.

The problem, as always, was the cost factor. With its huge deficit, the IBA simply could not enter into a multi-million dollar arrangement.

But what may have spurred the IBA to risk at least part of the cost, was the damage done by water leaks and building faults to precious books, manuscripts and other documents stored in the archives of the National Library....

After long months of negotiations [three years] with Harvard, an agreement was reached whereby the IBA would transfer copies of some of its archives to Harvard, which would digitize them, keep one copy for the library of the university’s Judaica Department and send another copy to the IBA.

The process is due to begin next week, and Harvard, as under the previous agreement, will keep a copy for itself.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Top books on the First Amendment

In the latest American Journalism (Winter, 2010), David W. Bulla reviews his choices for the best books on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. You can read his annotations for each book in the article itself which can be found in Communications & Mass Media Complete (enter from Library webpage) or in paper in the Annenberg Library.

Titles that make his list of twelve:

The Idea of a Free Press: The Enlightenment and Its Unruly Legacy by David Copeland

Living the Bill of Rights: How to Be an Authentic American by Nat Hentoff

The Limits of Dissent: Clement L. Vallandigham and the Civil War by Frank L. Klement Emergence of Free Press by Leonard W. Levy

The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties by Mark E. Neely, Jr.

Freedom's Champion: Elijah Lovejoy by Paul Simon

War and Press Freedom: The Problem of Prerogative Power by Jeffrey A. Smith

Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism by Geoffrey R. Stone

Free Speech, the People's Darling Privilege: Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History by Michael Kent Curtis

The Free and Open Press: The Founding of American Democratic Press Liberty, 1640-1800 by Robert W. T. Martin

Free Speech in Its Forgotten Years by David M. Rabbin

Freedom of the Press in England 1476-1776: The Rise and Decline of Government Control by Fredrick S. Siebert.

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November CommQuote


by Neal Bowers

Sent in after new ground was taken,
my father ducked from ditch to shell-hole,
unwinding the telephone cable behind him,
a pfc. cast as Mercury, connecting
the gods with the lesser gods.

Funny to think of him trailing
the complex filament of speech,
that man, neither shy nor sullen,
who answered only “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe,”
and never volunteered a private thought.

Standing off with his hands in his pockets
or cupping a cigarette, he seemed to be waiting
with the great rural patience of fields
for whatever might rise pure and nameless
or fall from the sky beyond explanation.

If anyone asked what he was thinking,
he said, “Nothing,” and when he died
he rushed out leaving everything unsaid,
uncoiling a dark line into darkness
down which a familiar silence roars.

from Out of the South (2002: Louisiana State University Press)

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

60 Years of University News Coverage

The Soundbite University: 60 Years of University News Coverage, is a large-scale study conducted by Kalev Leetaru and Dr. Paul Magelli at the University of Illinois to explore how higher education has been covered in the New York Times over the last 60 years.
"More than 18 million documents comprising the entire run of the New York Times from 1945 to 2005 were examined for all references to United States research universities and compared to spatial, temporal, and a variety of institutional indicators to examine how coverage has changed over this period and the characteristics most commonly associated with elevated national press visibility. One of the most surprising findings is the transition of the research university from a newsmaker to a news commentator, suggesting a need for universities to profoundly change the ways in which they interact with the press, especially as we enter a new era in media."
Major Findings (from the Report's abstract):

•Subject to Soundbite. In 1946, 53% of articles mentioning a research university were about that university, focusing on its research or activities. Today, just 15% of articles mentioning a university are about that university: the remaining 85% simply cite high-stature faculty for soundbite commentary on current events.

•Sustained Interest. The New York Times has shrunk in size by half, while the number of news articles referencing research universities has remained constant. Thus, as a percentage of all stories in the paper, higher education has increased nearly linearly, to 13% of all articles and 21% of all front page articles today.

•Trajectories. Private universities have 63% greater total news mentions and 57% greater front page appearances than public institutions. However, when limiting to just news coverage about institutions (excluding soundbites), roughly 24% of public institution coverage and 29% of private institution coverage is about the university.

•Location. Distance from major metropolitan areas and from New York City shows only a weak inverse correlation with news coverage, suggesting those institutions in the New York Time's backyard do not receive substantially greater coverage.

•Enrollment. Both public and private universities have an extremely strong correlation between graduate enrollment and news volume.

•Budget. Detailed budgetary information is only available for public universities. Total expenditures matter slightly more than total assets and most surprisingly, institutions spending more of their budget on public engagement and on instruction have a lower news volume.

•Research Output. Number of research grants, total US patents issued, and size of the faculty have strong correlations at public universities, with slightly weaker correlations at private institutions. Total number of faculty has a strong relationship at both institutional types.

•Press Engagement. Most research universities do a very poor job at aggregating press release content from across their institution into a single place.

•Web Pages & Blogs. Today, most discourse around research universities occurs online. Institutional characteristics correlated with online coverage mirror those for New York Times volume, suggesting these indicators underlie higher education media visibility overall, rather than being unique to the New York Times.

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