Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Evolution of Media Effects Theory

University of Michigan researchers, W. Russell Neuman and Lauren Guggenheim trace the development of media effects theories from 1956-2005 through citation analysis of over 20 thousand articles from five top communication journals. Their findings are published in the latest Communication Theory (Volulme 21, Number 2, May 2011). This issue can be found in the e-journals section of the Penn Libraries website.

The Evolution of Media Effects Theory: A Six-Stage Model of Cumulative Research W. Russell Neuman and Lauren Guggenheim


The literature of media effects is frequently characterized as a three-stage progression initially embracing a theory of strong effects followed by a repudiation of earlier work and new model of minimal effects followed by yet another repudiation and a rediscovery of strong effects. We argue that although this dramatic and somewhat romantic simplification may be pedagogically useful in introductory courses, it may prove a significant impediment to further theoretical refinement and progress in advanced scholarship. We analyze the citation patterns of 20,736 scholarly articles in five communication journals with special attention to the 200 most frequently cited papers in an effort to provide an alternative six-stage model of, we argue, cumulative media effects theories for the period 1956–2005.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Media Piracy in Emerging Economies

The Social Science Resource Council has just released the first independent, large-scale study of music, film and software piracy in emerging economies, focusing on Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Bolivia.

Media Piracy in Emerging Economies is "based on three years of work by some thirty-five researchers [and]tells two overarching stories: one tracing the explosive growth of piracy as digital technologies became cheap and ubiquitous around the world, and another following the growth of industry lobbies that have reshaped laws and law enforcement around copyright protection. The report argues that these efforts have largely failed, and that the problem of piracy is better conceived as a failure of affordable access to media in legal markets."

Major Findings
* Prices are too high. High prices for media goods, low incomes, and cheap digital technologies are the main ingredients of global media piracy. Relative to local incomes in Brazil, Russia, or South Africa, the retail price of a CD, DVD, or copy of MS Office is five to ten times higher than in the US or Europe. Legal media markets are correspondingly tiny and underdeveloped.

* Competition is good. The chief predictor of low prices in legal media markets is the presence of strong domestic companies that compete for local audiences and consumers. In the developing world, where global film, music, and software companies dominate the market, such conditions are largely absent.

* Antipiracy education has failed. The authors find no significant stigma attached to piracy in any of the countries examined. Rather, piracy is part of the daily media practices of large and growing portions of the population.

* Changing the law is easy. Changing the practice is hard. Industry lobbies have been very successful at changing laws to criminalize these practices, but largely unsuccessful at getting governments to apply them. There is, the authors argue, no realistic way to reconcile mass enforcement and due process, especially in countries with severely overburdened legal systems.

* Criminals can’t compete with free. The study finds no systematic links between media piracy and organized crime or terrorism in any of the countries examined. Today, commercial pirates and transnational smugglers face the same dilemma as the legal industry: how to compete with free.

* Enforcement hasn’t worked. After a decade of ramped up enforcement, the authors can find no impact on the overall supply of pirated goods.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Mobile Stats

mobiThinking is a great site for free information on the mobile technology on the global scale. It includes practical guides to mobile agencies, ad networks, top mobile markets, interviews and analysis, showcase sites and case studies, industry events and awards, a comprehensive list of links to mobile resources and a compendium of mobile statistics, which can be found under the "Global Marketing Tools" tab, Global mobile statistics 2011

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Introducing Oxford Bibliographies Online: Communication

"GPS for scholars," as it likes to refer to itself, Oxford Bibliographies Online offers literature guides prepared by subject experts in a variety of fields including Communication. Additional subject modules Penn subscribes to are Atlantic History, Biblical Studies, Buddhism, Classics, Criminology, Hinduism, International Relations, Islamic Studies, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Public Health, Renaissance and Reformation, Social Work, and Victorian Literature. Other modules are due out later in the year, including Cinema Studies and Anthropology.
OBO sees itself as a remedy for information overload which is everywhere, including academia.
Traditional bibliographies and the online abstracting & indexing services that emerged out of them are no help here. These tools suited research needs when we were in information scarcity culture, but in information overload culture these unfiltered lists of everything published lose their value—they’ve simply become too large to be meaningful. Users do not know exactly why a citation showed up in their search results, they do not know how it fits in the history of scholarship, and they have no indication which resources are of high scholarly quality and which are less reliable. In the end, the white noise of information overload culture yields the same results as the lack of content in our previous information scarcity culture: research paralysis. We don’t need unfiltered lists of citations. Today’s challenge is to build a resource that guides scholarly research through the growing mass of unqualified academic output, offering selective annotated research paths that are insightful, increase productivity, and raise the level of quality in new scholarship. --Letter from the Publisher
OBO claims that each article included in their guides receives multiple peer reviews as well as editorial board vetting. What's very nice about this world of essential texts that OBO is carving out for students and researchers is that every cited item links to full-text. Also promised are frequent updates so that these modules represent where the field is currently at, at least in theory. The Communication module is edited by Patricia Moy (University of Washington). There are over 50 members on the editorial board, including three Annenberg grads, Yariv Tsfati (University of Haifa), Matthew Carlson (Saint Louis University), and Brian Southwell (University of Minnesota). Over 60 subject areas are covered in this edition and more (with additional Annenberg editorial representation) are slated to be added in Fall 2011 and Spring 2012. This product is so new I don't have a personal feel with it yet but I am looking forward to getting to know it. I certainly applaud the initiative because we are all drowning if we are not sifting and sifting takes time. OBO is not only doing the sifting but has assigned the task to proven experts.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

April CommQuote

Newspaper blackout poetry is a pretty cool idea. It's a bit of a gimmick, but nice things happen.
Invented by Austin Kleon, it works like this: Grab a newspaper. Grab a marker. Find an article. Cross out words, leaving behind the ones you like. Pretty soon you’ll have a poem.

Said The New Yorker: "[The poems] resurrect the newspaper when everyone else is declaring it dead...like a cross between magnetic refrigerator poetry and enigmatic ransom notes, funny and zen-like, collages of found art..." (The New Yorker)

So our April CommQuote is a one of these poems. More can be found in Kleon's book, Newspaper Blackout (Harper Perennial, 2010). Happy Poetry Month and long live newspapers!

Since you probably can't make most of it out from the copy-paste, here's the text of Time-Traveling: so/they look/as they did when I was 10/the Old King/and his queen/ my parents/ The size of/Egyptian/ sculptures, all/ Secrets/ that/ I didn't know

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Latest issue of Media, War & Conflict on the CNN Effect

The April 2011 (Volume 4, 1) issue of Media, War & Conflict is devoted to the CNN Effect. Interestingly, one of the pieces is on Japanese foreign disaster relief in the 1990s as related to the CNN effect (Van Belle and Potter).

Articles include:

The CNN effect reconsidered: mapping a research agenda for the future, by Piers Robinson

Time to move on: new media realities - new vulnerabilities of power
, by Nik Gowing

The CNN effect reconsidered (again): problematizing ICT and global governance in the CNN effect research agenda, by Steven Livingston

Did the Global War on Terror end the CNN effect? by Babak Bahador

Media and foreign policy in central and eastern Europe post 9/11: in from the cold? by Ekaterina Balabanova

Japanese foreign disaster assistance: the ad hoc period in international politics and the illusion of a CNN effect, by Douglas A Van Belle and David M Potter

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Historical Washington Post

The latest big national national newspaper to be added to our digital historical newspaper offerings is The Washington Post, (1877-1993), Proquest Historical Newspapers. (Lexis Nexis and Newsbank carry the paper from 1977 to the present so no worries about access to the last couple decades). From the publisher:
Known for its comprehensive political reporting, first-rate photo essays, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writing, and unmatched investigative reporting, the historical Washington Post (1877-1993) is an unparalleled resource for today’s budding journalists, political historians, and students of government. The Post was the first newspaper in Washington to publish seven days a week. Early contributors included Joseph Pulitzer and a relatively unknown, un-bylined Theodore Roosevelt, who contributed stories about the West. Beginning in the 1940s, the newspaper featured editorial cartoonist Herbert L. Block (“Herblock”), who used his drawings to express indignation with political leaders and to “raise hell.” He coined the term “McCarthyism” in the 1950s and was unrelenting in his graphic characterization of Richard Nixon. This newspaper is perhaps most famous for a series of stories that began with a break-in at the Watergate office complex in 1972. When it was all over, reporters Woodward and Bernstein were household names, and President Nixon had resigned in disgrace.
As with all our Proquest Historical Newspapers (The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Defender, Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Courier, Philadelphia Tribune, New York Amsterdam News, Times of India, and Wall Street Journal) one can not only view news articles but also photos, advertisements, marriage announcements, obituaries, cartoons, and more, for added context.

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