News Cities/Informed Citizens; Navigating News Online
From the abstract:
Kelefa Sanneh on the genre of reality television in May 9 issue of The New Yorker. He is reviewing several books on the topic, including Brenda Weber's, Makeover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity. (Duke, 2010).
Weber sees in these makeover programs a strange new world—or, more accurately, a strange new nation, one where citizenship is available only to those who have made the transition “from Before to After.” Weber notices that, on scripted television, makeovers are usually revealed to be temporary or unnecessary: characters often learn that though a makeover is nice, they were really just fine in their Before states.” On reality television, by contrast, makeovers are urgent and permanent; “the After-body, narratively speaking, stands as the moment of greatest authenticity.” We have moved from the regressive logic of the sitcom, in which nothing really happens, to the recursive logic of the police procedural, in which the same thing keeps happening—the same detectives, solving and re-solving the same crimes. In fact, Weber points out that a number of makeover shows present their subjects as crimes to be solved: in the British version of “What Not to Wear,” makeover candidates line up in front of a one-way mirror, like perpetrators awaiting identification; “Style by Jury,” a Canadian show, begins and ends with the target facing a jury of her peers.
Makeover shows inevitably build to a spectacular moment when “reveal” becomes a noun, and yet the final product is often unremarkable: a woman with an up-to-date generic haircut, wearing a jacket that fits well; a man who is chubby but not obese; a dog with no overwhelming urge to bare its fangs. The new subject is worth looking at only because we know where it came from, which means that, despite the seeming decisiveness of the transformation, the old subject never truly disappears. “The After highlights the dreadfulness of the Before,” Weber writes. “In makeover logic, no post-made-over body can ever be considered separate from its pre-made-over form.” She might have added that no makeover is ever really finished; there is no After who is not, in other respects, a Before—maybe your dog no longer strains at the leash, but are you sure that sweater doesn’t make you look old and tired? Are you sure your thighs wouldn’t benefit from some blunt cannulation? Weber’s makeover nation is an eerie place, because no one fully belongs there, and, deep down, everyone knows it.
The Internet Advertising Bureau Europe has released a white paper on mobile penetration in Europe. From the Introduction and Methodology of Mobile Media: An IAB Europe White Paper:
Mobile internet advertising spend during 2010 – when advertising revenues generally fell - was worth €710 million, more than double its 2009 total of €279 million. This report, covering 19 European countries, presents detailed research findings behind these figures. It springs from IAB Europe’s mission to prove the value of the market through research and education.
This report is based on a variety of sources that are the most legitimate to use in each local market and bring the potential, audience and usage of the mobile internet. The objective of this report is to provide local marketers with the most accurate mobile data on each European market. In countries where several sources are available, we chose the most recognised one from the local players. We used one source in countries where there is no other data available.
This 56-page Corporation for Public Broadcasting report addresses the literacy needs of children 2-8 and the role of public media in meeting those needs. Below is a chunk of the CPB press release of last month to which I would add: be sure to check out the extensive bibliography from the five research arms (including the University of Pennsylvania) of the study.
Findings from Ready To Learn: 2005-2010 (3.0MB PDF), developed with cooperation from Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Department of Education, an innovative initiative funded by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education, provides definitive new evidence that shows children from disadvantaged families who interact with public media make remarkable gains in mastering the fundamentals of early literacy – letter recognition, letter sounds, and vocabulary and word meaning. In some cases, growth on targeted skills is so significant that children are able to successfully narrow or close the achievement gap with their middle-class peers.
The high-quality literacy programs and content that public media developed through Ready To Learn reach more than five million children a day at cost of less than half a penny per child – significantly less than most other early literacy initiatives.
“When it comes to reading instruction, public media has met the ambitious standard set by Congress more than four decades ago,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “This report demonstrates how public media directly and cost-effectively contributes to improving early literacy development of children living in poverty and provides data that prove the overall educational benefits of public media. Few, if any, large-scale educational media initiatives have been as successful, and none has had a greater impact on the literacy development of children from low-income backgrounds.”
“Public media reinvented children’s broadcasting, proving that television can educate while it entertains,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “Today we’re expanding that innovative idea to include a growing number of media platforms, from web sites to iPhone apps and more. Under the Ready To Learn initiative, PBS KIDS Raising Readers program has developed groundbreaking series, such as SUPER WHY, Martha Speaks, and the re-launched Electric Company that are based on educational research, scientifically proven to effectively boost literacy development and other academic skills of young children, and affordable for all parents, teachers and caregivers.”
The CPB and PBS Ready To Learn grant funded a highly qualified team of educational researchers, made up of leading scholars at the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland, the Education Development Center, SRI International, and the American Institutes for Research, to conduct studies on Ready To Learn content, materials, resources and community engagement strategies.
The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded CPB and PBS another five-year Ready To Learn grant in 2010 to focus on math concepts, continue early literacy projects and develop innovative new teaching tools, including multi-media classroom tools, augmented reality games and transmedia gaming suites.
JTA, The Global News Service of the Jewish People, (formerly the Jewish Telegraphic Agency) has just launched a digital archive containing 250,000 articles dating from 1923.
A video about the archive is available here.
From the JTA press release:
The JTA Jewish News Archive, which is searchable and free for the public to use, was launched officially Tuesday, May 3 with a celebration at the Center for Jewish History in New York.
Highlights of the archive include extensive reporting from Europe in the 1930s and 1940s -- including perhaps the first article on what has become known as the Babi Yar massacre -- JTA’s reportage on the founding of the State of Israel, close and sustained coverage of the Soviet Jewry movement, and decades of articles chronicling the changing roles and responsibilities of Jewish women.
“The JTA Jewish News Archive has the potential to spark an interest in the past that will transform the future,” said Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University.
Sarna, a member of JTA’s board of directors, spearheaded the effort to digitally preserve the news agency's reporting.
JTA’s coverage of the Holocaust may be of particular interest to historians.
“There was and still is a lot of conventional wisdom that Americans didn't know about the Holocaust while it was happening, and couldn't have known about the Holocaust while it was happening," said Northeastern University journalism professor Laurel Leff. "One of the values of this archive is that people can actually look at the bulletins that JTA sent out during this period and see what information was, in fact, available."
From the latest ICA newsletter: The International Journal of Communication (IJoC) is pleased to announce the publication ([April 11, 2011] of a Special Section, "Network Multidimensionality in the Digital Age," coedited by Manuel Castells, Peter Monge, and Noshir Contractor. Human communication networks, like those typically found in the network society, are highly complex and relationally rich in that they often connect different types of objects with multiple types of relations. This special section presents seven articles that explore the implications of this network multidimensionality. The articles cover a broad array of issues including network sociomateriality, network power, network exclusion, the semantic web, network fuzziness, and network spheres. The theoretical implications of network multidimensionality are explored and a number of relevant social examples are examined including the degrees of freedom in WikiLeaks networks, the kinds of power in societal networks, and the network changes that occur when technologies and other sociomaterial objects are brought inside the network. The keynote article by Bruno Latour argues that network multidimensionality eradicates the long-standing theoretical distinction between individual and society. Collectively, these papers provide a rich compendium of ideas and arguments on the theoretical and practical implications of network multidimensionality.