Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Divinatio Asks: Is Democracy Sick of Its Own Media?

I usually point out Penn or open access resources but here's a rare exception.  A recent issue of Divinatio: Studia Culturologica Series (Volume 35, Spring-Summer 2012) poses the question: Is Democracy Sick of Its Own Media? 

The following scholars weigh in:

Ivaylo Znepolski: The Soft Dictatorship of the Media (Introductory essay by the issue's editor)
Elihu Katz: Back to the Street: When Media and Opinion Leave Home
Jeffrey Goldfarb: "The Politics of Small Things" Meets "Monstration:" On Fox News, Occupy Wall Street and Beyond
Nick Couldry: Relegitimation Crisis: Beyond the Dull Compulsion of Media-Saturated Life
Helge Ronning: The Social or the Interpersonal? New and Old Public Spheres
Georgi Lozanov: The Media Start Talking in Mother Tongue 
Paul Frosh: The Showing of Sharedness: Monstration, Media and Social Life  
Jaeho Kang: Digital Constellations: Social Media and the Crisis of (Old) Democracy in South Korea

It's a weighty issue, definitely worth checking out. Divinatio: Studia Culturologica Series currently does not have a website but if you want to pursue any of these articles it shouldn't be hard to get your hands on them thanks to trusty interlibrary loan services available in most libraries. While not many US libraries carry this journal (published in Sophia, Bulgaria), Stanford, Yale, Penn State, University of Virginia, University of California at Berkeley and some others have bragging rights. Seek and ye shall find. 

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February CommQuote

Andrew Leonard of Salon.com muses on tweeting, the madness-of-crowds, and echo chambers  in a post-Oscar essay,  Titter's Unstoppable Humor Police: We're all Hate-Watchers Now.
"Salon alumnus Damien Cave, now a reporter based in Mexico for the New York Times, observed in a tweet that “every joke that’s not PC causes an uproar. Funny or not, the humor policing is pretty intense tonight.” My hackles rise whenever the words “political correctness” enter the discourse, because it usually happens in a context where legitimate complaints are being downplayed by whomever is getting critiqued for being racist or sexist or anti-Semitic or homophobic or whatever. But Cave is on to something. The humor police were intense on Twitter Sunday night. In fact, they’re intense every night.
There are no free passes on Twitter. Every stumble, every perceived outrage, every moment of weakness or arrogance gets instant crowd-mob treatment. There’s always been something exhilarating about this new medium for instant fact-checking and collective calling-to-account, but at the same time, there’s never been a better megaphone invented for broadcasting mass sanctimony. Lashing out is just so easy. The first tweet to crack the whip gets retweeted around the world before you can say the words 'echo chamber.'
At times during Sunday night’s broadcast, I got the feeling that all over the world, people were sitting at the edge of their couches, smartphones in hand, just waiting for MacFarlane to feed their rage so they could tweet about it. And as the evening went on, that dynamic fed on and magnified itself. I’m not saying MacFarlane didn’t deserve it: quite the opposite, he did everything but get down on his knees and beg for it. But there was also a madness-of-crowds aspect to the whole experience that made me glad I wasn’t in a place where I could get physically trampled."  --Andrew Leonard, Salon.com 25 Feb 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Reducing Health Disparities in JOC

Communication Strategies to Reduce Health Disparities is the title of the Journal of Communication's special issue (February 2013, Volume 63:1). Edited by Nancy Grant Harrington (University of Kentucky), many of the journal's ten articles grew out of two preconferences in 2012, one at the International Communication Association, the other at the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication. The lead piece deals with the current state of knowledge on the content and effects of communication about health disparities in the mass media.  Other articles address intervention research, narrative practices, community-based eHealth strategies, and communication infrastructure theory in relation to reducing health disparities. The issue's case studies focus on HIV, the HPV vaccine, and hunger, a major if not the major marker of health disparity. The geography of this research ranges from Appalachia  and Tippecanoe Country, Indiana to West Bengal, India with Africa in between.

The journal is available from Penn Library e-resources.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Handbook of Communication History

The latest volume in the ICA Handbook Series, The Handbook of Communication History, as well as the ICA interest group, Communication History formed as recently as 2007, reflects the growing attention of scholars in the field to the history of communication history and research. Edited by Peter Simonson, Janice Peck, Robert T. Craig, and John Johkson, Jr., The Handbook "addresses central ideas, social practices, and media of communication as they have developed across time, cultures, and world geographical regions. It attends to both the varieties of communication in world history and the historical investigation of those forms in communication and media studies. The Handbook editors view communication as encompassing patterns, processes, and performances of social interaction, symbolic production, material exchange, institutional formation, social praxis, and discourse. As such, the history of communication cuts across social, cultural, intellectual, political, technological, institutional, and economic history."--publisher's description

The title is available in Annenberg Reference at P90. H2933 2012.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Introducing Journal of Digital and Media Literacy

An interesting new journal to follow (by all, it's open access) is Journal of Digital and Media Literacy. Writes Editor  Alexis Carreiro, in Issue One's Introduction to the Journal: 

Broadly defined, digital and media literacy refers to the ability to access, share, analyze, create, reflect upon, and act with media and digital information.1 These literacies are at the heart of modern communities. The Journal of Digital and Media Literacy explores the connection of media fluency to culture and civic engagement. It examines the ways people use technology to create, sustain, and impact communities on local, national, and global levels....Our content is descriptive and prescriptive in regards to how civic leaders, media practitioners, scholars, and educators engage with all aspects of digital and media literacy throughout the communities in which they work, live, and serve. The result, we hope, is that this work will help these groups and others raise the digital media literacy rates of their own communities...

The world of traditional academic publishing is changing. We are excited to be part of that change. Publishing short and long-form academic articles alongside digital projects encourages readers to think of digital media as a source of information and an infrastructure for dialogue and discourse. Media content and form are linked. We hope our blended approach to content and format encourages JDML readers to consider how the infrastructure (the images, hyperlinks, audio, and overall design) contributes to the ideas and arguments presented here.  Online journals like ours are part of an increasing trend to expand the notion of academic publishing online.2 We see this as an exciting opportunity. We believe that peer-reviewed scholarship can be inclusive and we welcome you to the conversation.

Articles in the maiden issue include a case study on a project of the Educational Video Center in New York examining how well its digital media literacy progam promotes civic engagement, the ways in which governments and civic organizations can design engagement processes that take advantage of the affordances of the civic web in order to cultivate meaningful digital citizenship, another case study that focuses on how a global group of university students understand community in the digital age, and media ecologies of health literacy.

I'm already liking the section of this vibrant journal called Editor's Choice Links. I'm boning up on peerology from a link to the official Peerology Handbook--which is a handbook for self-learners that asks the question: "what does a motivated group of self-learners need to know to agree on a subject or skill, find and qualify the best learning resources about that topic, select and use appropriate communication media to co-learn it?" But I digress...this post is about JDML...check it out.

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Friday, February 08, 2013

Index on Censorship at 40

My vote for the most important journal in the field (and a lot of others), Index on Censorship celebrated its 40th year not too long ago with a special anniversary issue featuring poetry from Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Chinese activist Chen Wei's online essay on fasting that led to his imprisonment, an exclusive extract from Ariel Dorman's new play, and Rebecca MacKinnon on the future of internet freedom. There are highlights from previous issues featuring Nadine Gordimer, Salman Rushdie and Kurt Vonnegut.  In addition, Robert McCrum discusses the journal's role in the history of the fight for free speech, from the oppression of the Cold War to censorship online.

The award-winning Index on Censorship, is devoted to protecting and promoting freedom of expression throughout the world. It reports on free expression violations, publishes banned writing and shines a light on the important free expression issues of the day.

"The medium may have changed over four decades, but the message remains the same - as do the methods for silencing writers, whistleblowers, artists and protesters."--The Editors

Find this journal in Penn Library e-resources or in paper at the Annenberg Libary--it's handsome (and holy) enough to warrant both virtual and non-virtual formats!
As part of our anniversary celebrations, our publisher is opening the magazine’s archive for 40 days from 26 March

Monday, February 04, 2013

Violence In Entertainment: Special Report from Variety

In response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, if not the on average 87 deaths per day in the United States due to gun violence, Variety has devoted a special supplemental issue VIOLENCE & ENTERTAINMENT (January 8, 2013)  featuring entertainment industry leaders' essays on the topic-- "a variety of voices looking for solutions."  Rather than focus solely on how the media (TV, movies, video games) portray violence and how often, contributors weigh in from multiple perspectives; essays raise questions about psychiatric drugs, football culture, gun control, parenting, mental health, the Hollywood liberal, and evil, to name a few.

You can access  Variety's entire special report here.

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