Monday, April 28, 2008

the new WSJ

Time published an interesting piece on Murdoch's reformation of the Wall Street Journal, which debuted today:
With its increased focus on politics, international news, culture and sports, Murdoch's reconceived Journal represents nothing short of a formal declaration of war on that most venerable of journalistic institutions, The New York Times.
It will be interesting to see whether the new WSJ will reach a broader audience and change the competition for the paper of record, the NYT.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jerry Springer in town this week

The first part of This American Life last week is on the political life of Jerry Springer. The episode is a repeat from 2004, but I had not heard it before. Several people from Jerry Springer's "former" life as a politician describe his enormous success as a politician in Ohio. You probably remember hearing several years ago about his potential bid for office in 2004, and he actually came really close to running... Definitely an interesting episode!

He is in town this week as part of UW's all-campus party. It does not say what he will be speaking about, but it might be worth checking out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

more on the difficulties of covering science

I came across an interview from a couple of years quite relevant to Prof. Dunwoody's lecture on Friday.

This interview with Vince Kiernan, another science communication scholar, speaks to the problem of "Eureka" moment coverage of science. He posits science journals have set up a system in embargoing the latest studies, which in turn encourages journalists to focus on this timely "event" coverage rather than the long-term critical coverage of science.

The interview itself is fewer than 4 minutes. Definitely worth a listen for another perspective on the coverage of science and for more ideas on how to evaluate reporting.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

guerilla marketing

An article in the New York Times today is particularly relevant to last week's lectures. Sony BMG has staged several renditions of Michael Jackson's thriller in various locations around Europe to promote the album's 25th release. I found a couple of the videos:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

of interest to aspiring editors

An article in the New York Times is dedicated a single instance of the use of a semi-colon:

“Please put it in a trash can,” riders are reminded. After which Neil Neches, an erudite writer in the transit agency’s marketing and service information department, inserted a semicolon. The rest of the sentence reads, “that’s good news for everyone.”
I haven't heard this quote from Kurt Vonnegut before, but I really like it:
“When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life,” Kurt Vonnegut once said. “Old age is more like a semicolon.”
The article is like the who's who of punctuation. Lynne Truss (author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves), Noam Chomsky and New Yorker staffers all comment. People sure got excited about that semi-colon!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

on candidate appearances in madison

Here's a link to a New York Times video about Chelsea Clinton's campaign appearances:

One thing I found particularly interesting is the reporter's comment on how Chelsea's appearances do not garner much attention except in local news coverage. This seems like a valuable approach for a national candidate to connect to people in local communities.

I was not able to attend Chelsea's appearance in Madison this week, but I hear the crowd was much larger than expected. Does this speak to interest in Hillary as a candidate or a "celebrity" factor? Perhaps people are attending to be a part of a significant event in the community.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

local event on the Daily Cardinal

I thought this event might be of some interest to you:

Time: Sunday, February 24, 2008 2:00 p.m.
Location: A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore
Title of Event: The Story of the Daily Cardinal

Allison Hantschel Sanson will read and discuss "It Doesn't End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal".
It is the story of great American journalists and journalism told through the prism of the University of Wisconsin's 115 year old student newspaper.

This event is free and open to the public.

Find more info here.

Monday, February 4, 2008

in the spirit of super tuesday...

Obama seems to be coming up with some of the catchiest videos. Then again, maybe I just meet the target market. Has anyone else seen good videos by other candidates? Any favorites?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We need more like Edwards

John Edwards has called on constituents to support him in not granting big telecom immunity from FISA:

When it comes to protecting the rule of law, words are not enough. We need action.

It's wrong for your government to spy on you. That's why I'm asking you to join me today in calling on Senate Democrats to filibuster revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that would give "retroactive immunity" to the giant telecom companies for their role in aiding George W. Bush's illegal eavesdropping on American citizens.

The Senate is debating this issue right now -- which is why we must act right now. You can find your Senators' phone numbers here or call the Senate Switchboard at 1-(202)-224-3121.

Granting retroactive immunity is wrong. It will let corporate law-breakers off the hook. It will hamstring efforts to learn the truth about Bush's illegal spying program. And it will flip on its head a core principle that has guided our nation since our founding: the belief that no one, no matter how well connected or what office they hold, is above the law.

But in Washington today, the telecom lobbyists have launched a full-court press for retroactive immunity. George Bush and Dick Cheney are doing everything in their power to ensure it passes. And too many Senate Democrats are ready to give the lobbyists and the Bush administration exactly what they want.

Please join me in calling on every Senate Democrat to do everything in their power -- including joining Senator Dodd's efforts to filibuster this legislation -- to stop retroactive immunity and stand up for the rule of law. The Constitution should not be for sale at any price.

Thank you for taking action.

John Edwards
January 24, 2008

This speaks to broader issues of privacy and autonomy from government in the constantly evolving age of digital media and communication technologies. Attention to this particular issue by government leaders like Edwards is crucial, and he is the first of the presidential candidates to do so. I think we need more attention to broader privacy rights in mainstream news outlets and more salience of these issues among the public.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let's get started

What draws us to study media? As an undergrad, I was drawn to major in journalism because I saw it as a profession in which I could contribute to the exchange of information. I viewed it as an opportunity to make a difference in my community. And I would argue many journalists have a goal of providing as much objective information to their audiences as possible, but many times other outside factors—advertising, ownership, and even demands from an editor —affect the final product. Wanting to get beyond the surface of that issue is partly what drew me back to study mass comm. at the graduate level. I think we also have to recognize that these questions are only becoming more difficult as the lines between traditional forms of communication—newspapers, magazines, broadcast, etc—and nontraditional forms in this era of online journalism are blurred. What do we consider news? Does the classification of “news” even matter anymore? Regardless, how news has been classified over time is an important consideration. Its definition largely stems from the media and the norms surrounding each medium at a certain place in time. One of the articles (“The advent of media”) for this week does an excellent job summarizing media at different points in time and with emphasis on outside factors that influence how messages are disseminated. This will be an excellent piece to keep in mind as we move forward in looking more in-depth at these questions throughout the semester.

Welcome to the section blog. Think of this as a forum for any thoughts, ideas or questions you have on class material. It can be a supplement for our class discussions and a place to share related materials you find online. I think you will also find it a useful study tool for conversing with your classmates. See you in class!