Living in a Media World 2E

Looking for Student Blogs

I'm always looking for links to blogs being written by student journalists. If you have one, or know someone who does, drop me a note!

Dr. H

Second Edition Available Now!

The second edition of Mass Communication: Living in a Media World is now available at the very student-friendly price of $45. (Yes, the new edition sells for less than used copies often do of the first edition.) It features a newly strengthened media literacy focus, greater depth on a number of topics, extensive coverage of "long-tail" media, and new chapters on media effects and global media. For more information, visit the CQ Press website.

NEWS: The RSS feed is fixed! Check it out.

NOTE: The video on these pages does not work with Internet Explorer. Try Firefox if you are having trouble viewing the video.

Going through a very busy time right now. Will keep having links, but I'm going to have to keep the comments to a minimum over the next few weeks.

Wednesday - September 30, 2009

Questions Worth Asking (Maybe)

  • Is It Time To Buy An HDTV?
    Lots of people (including me) seem to think so. Digital TV is on the air and lots of channels have HD programming options. Even my father, who bought his first color TV in 1985, has an HDTV. The story reports that 71 percent of US households will have at least one HD set by the end of the year, compared to 16% in 2005. The big difference (sorry) is that these tend to be mid-sized sets rather than big screen TVs. Which shouldn't surprise. HD has now moved into the mainstream and is no longer just something for people who want the latest-greatest. Also, HDTVs are just about all you can buy anymore. Yes, there are standard def digital TVs, but I don't see them anywhere. (MediaPost)
  • Does Banning Books Lead To Healthier Children?
    I think you know the answer to this one.... Confessions of a Chicago Tribune journalist whose mother hated her true-crime book habit.
  • Should Roman Polanski Still Be Facing Sexual Assault Charges?
    Not really a mass-comm issue, but the arrest of the movie director on sexual assault charges dating back more than 30 years is generating a lot of controversy. Journalist Nina Burleigh discusses her perspective on why she thinks his arrest was a good thing over at Huffington Post. There's also a host of posts there on why he should have charges dropped. Fascinating debate.


Saturday - September 26, 2009

A Few Bloggers To Keep An Eye On

Last spring I taught a class on blogging and commentary writing. A few of my students are still posting occasionally - take a look and see what you think.

  • Genius Waitress
    A journalism major who plays softball and sometimes waits tables.
  • Popcorn and Jr Mints
    A UNK grad heads off to the big city. She is posting on a regular basis these days.
  • Readin' Riedel
    Some thoughts on living in a recession while being newly wed. He's also twittering. It's lonely being a Nebraska fan in Iowa.
  • Welcome to the Jungle
    One post back in August is not enough. Let's pick it up again Garrett. I've never known you to lack anything to say....

Here are a few other blogs I read on a regular basis:

  • Six Until Me
    A great blog about living with Type 1 Diabetes. If you are diabetic, or love someone who is, you need to read this one.
  • Checking Out Chile
    An American abroad to Chile on his gap year.
  • Erik Goes To Germany
    Erik's story, not the band of the same name.
  • KLR650's To Alaska 2009
    A father-in-law and a son-in-law ride KLR 650 motorcycles to Alaska and back together and have a wonderful adventure. As of now, this is a short-term blog, but it's a great little story with fun photos.
  • Tread Life
    A motorcycle blog by Jerry Smith, who freelances for a bunch of motorcycle magazines.


Thursday - September 24, 2009

Not The Media You Were Expecting

One of my favorite types of music (and media content in general) is when an artist takes a work and then completely turns it on its head. That's why I love British new wave musician Joe Jackson so much. He had one live CD many years ago that had three different versions of Is She Really Going Out With Him on it - and each was radically different. So I give you today media turned on its head:


Tuesday - September 22, 2009

Geeking Out Dept. - Technical Evidence Apple Is Trying To Conquer The Media World

Not that you really need any proof that Apple is trying to conquer the media world, but is taking an interesting look at the details of Apple's new iTunes LP format and extrapolating it a long ways. The blog's argument is that the new standard of 1280x720 of the LP frame looks kludgy and inelegant on a 13" MacBook screen. We all know that Apple never does something deliberately inelegant. So there must be a reason behind it. It turns out that 1280x720 matches the 720p high definition television format perfectly. Could this be Apple's first salvo in the battle for your television screen? I suspect it may be! Must read analysis. You can handle the numbers. Really, you can. The last time I came across something like this, Apple started having a huge presence in the online video business. It could be happening again. (Thanks to Daring Fireball for the link.)


Monday - September 21, 2009

Questions Worth Asking (Maybe)

  • Why Is Nigeria Banning District 9?
    Could it be because the movie has Nigerian cannibal gangsters in it? Though if we pay close attention, the gangsters are eating aliens and thus are not really cannibals. As Nigerian actor Khumbanyiwa (who plays one of the gangsters) puts it, the should not be taken too literally. "It's a story, you know," he said. "It's not like Nigerians do eat aliens. Aliens don't even exist in the first place." (Thanks to my friend Dolores Hill Sierra for the link.)
  • Are Music Publishers Nuts?
    They now want Apple to pay royalties for the 30-second preview snippets people can listen to before they buy on iTunes. Essentially they want to charge for free samples. Will the music industry ever wake up and smell the coffee?
  • What Makes For Great Hispanic Advertising?
    According to the 2009 Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards, it's "cleverly mined cultural insights without resorting to stereotypes."
  • What Has Berkeley Breathed Been Up To Lately?
    The artist who brought us Bloom County, Outland and Opus is now telling children's stories.


Thursday - September 17, 2009

Things I Discovered While Looking For Other Things


Monday - September 14, 2009

Disruptions in the News
The latest trend in news-making seems to be having a loud, inappropriate outburst on live television. Here are several samples for you from very different venues - at least we hope they are different - the MTV Music Video Awards Sunday night, last week's health reform policy address by President Obama, and a tennis match at the U.S. Open. All involved insult directed at another player in the drama, all were on live TV, and all ended up generating more talk about the interruption than the actual event the person was participating in.

It's not completely clear whether any or all of these outbursts were deliberate attempts to generate publicity. (Actually, my guess is that Serena Williams' outburst at the line judge at the U.S. Open was probably not pre-planned, Kanye West's outburst following country singer Taylor Swift's win of an MTV Video Music Awards was almost certainly a deliberate publicity grab, and who knows what Rep. Joe Wilson was thinking during President Obama's health care address to a joint session of congress.)

In any event, this is a prime example of media logic coming into play. Looking at how people exploit media conventions in order to draw attention to their point of view. And whether it involves disparaging the merits of country singer Taylor Swift or of the president's health plan, it seems to work. Here are videos of all these events for you to consider:

Kanye West v. Taylor Swift

MTV Shows

It's worth noting that immediately following the dissing, videos of it were all over YouTube. But according to my students, Viacom, owner of MTV, came down like a ton of bricks and got all the videos off YouTube so that the traffic would move instead to the web site. Is this a battle over fans' ability to post what they want or a struggle for viewers between Viacom and YouTube owner Google.

Serena Williams v. the Line Judge


Rep. Joe Wilson v. President Obama


And finally, David Letterman v. Rep. Joe Wilson


Friday - Sept. 11, 2009

A Motorcycle Ride to the United 93 Memorial on a Rainy Summer Day

This has nothing to do with the media. It's a brief story about a ride I took on my motorcycle to the United 93 Memorial on a rainy June day back in 2004. It was written shortly after I had recovered from a fairly serious illness, and I was happy just to be back on the road. I've taken to posting on 9/11.

Took a short ride last Saturday. The distance wasn't much, under 200 miles, but I went through two centuries of time, ideas, and food. Which felt really good after having been ill for the last month-and-a-half.

Headed out of Morgantown about 7:30 a.m. on I68. Stopped at Penn Alps for breakfast. Nice thing about being on insulin is that I can include a few more carbs in my diet these days. Pancakes, yum! (Penn Alps, if you don't know, runs a great Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast buffet on weekends that is well worth riding to. Just outside of Grantsville, MD.)

Then off on the real purpose of the trip. Up US 219 toward the Flight 93 Sept. 11 memorial. The ride up north on 219 is beautiful; I've ridden it before. I always like when you come around the bend and see the turbines for the wind farm. Some people see them as an eye sore; for me they're a potential energy solution and a dramatic sight. Chalk one up for industrial can be beautiful.

Continue on up to Berlin, PA, where I take off on PA 160 into Pennsylvania Dutch country. I start seeing hex signs painted on bright red barns, or even hung as a wooden sign. Not quite cool enough to put on my electric vest, but certainly not warm. Then it's heading back west on a county/state road of indeterminate designation.

Now I'm into even more "old country" country. There's a horse-and-buggy caution sign. Off to the left there's a big farmstead with long dark-colored dresses hanging from the line, drying in the air. They may not stay dry, based on what the clouds look like.

The irony of this ride hits pretty hard. I'm on my way to a memorial of the violence and hatred of the first shot of the 21st century world war, and I'm traveling through country that is taking me further and further back into the pacifist world of the 19th century Amish and Mennonites.

A turn or two more, following the map from the National Parks web site, and I'm on a badly scared, narrow road that is no wider and not in as good of shape as the local rail trail. (Reminds me why I like my KLR!)

It's only here that I see the first sign for the memorial. No one can accuse the locals of playing up the nearby memorial. Perhaps more flags and patriotic lawn ornaments than usual, but no strident statements. And then the memorial is off a half-mile ahead.

The crash site is to the south, surrounded by chain-link fencing. No one but families of the victims are allowed in that area. Off a small parking area is the temporary memorial, in place until the National Park Service can build the permanent site. There's a 40-foot long chain-link wall where people have posted remembrences, plaques on the ground ranging from hand-painted signs on sandstone, to an elaborately etched sign on granite from a motorcycle group. The granite memorial is surrounded by motorcycle images.

The messages are mostly lonely or affirming. Statements of loss, statements of praise for the heroism of the passengers and crew. But not statements of hatred. It reminds me in many ways of the Storm King Mountain firefighter memorial. Not the formal one in Glenwood Springs, but the individual ones out on the mountain where more than a dozen wildland firefighters died several years ago.

It's time to head home. When I go to join up with US 30, it's starting to spit rain, so I pull out the rain gloves, button down the jacket, and prepare for heading home. It rains almost the whole way back PA 281, but I stay mostly dry in my Darien. The only problem is the collar of my too-big jacket won't close far enough, and water dribbles down inside. It reminds me that riding in the rain, if it isn't coming down too hard, can be almost pleasant, isolated away inside a nylon and fiberglass cocoon.

I'm home before 1 p.m.. I've ridden less than 200 miles. But I've ridden through a couple of centuries of people's thoughts, actions, and food. And I'm finally back on the bike.


Thursday - Sept. 10, 2009

Things I Found While Looking For Other Things Today

  • A Look At Where The Money Is In the Communications Industry
    Fascinating story from last month's New York Times. Includes a projection that the video game industry will be as big as the newspaper industry by 2013. Guess the debate over whether video games are a new mass medium is probably over!
  • Editors Debate AP's Photo of Dying Marine
    NPR's Talk of the Nation looks at the decision making by a number of editors on a photo of a dying Marine that the AP released after extensive internal debate. Lots of really difficult issues here.
  • Why Student E-Mail Interviews Aren't Always Bad
    I normally strongly disapprove of e-mail "interviews" as a lazy excuse for not doing real interviews. But I have to admit I'm impressed that Miss Whoever You Are got an e-mail interview with the Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize winning fashion columnist Robin Givhan. A great "get" for a student reporter.


Wednesday - Sept. 9, 2009

Questions Worth Asking (Maybe)


Wednesday - Sept. 2, 2009

Disney Buys Marvel Comics - The Horror, The Horror

For those of you with truly twisted sensibilities, check out cartoonist Jeph Jacques' Twitter feed ( from a couple of days back. It's full of samples of Disney/Marvel slashfic. You don't know what slashfic is? Don't look. And yes, you have to copy it into your browser for yourself. I'm not giving you a clickable link.


Tuesday - Sept. 1, 2009

Is There In Truth No Beauty? Part III

Clarkson Self CoverAs I wrote recently, Self magazine has had it's own controversy over the honesty of their portrayal of how women look - specifically singer Kelly Clarkson. The American Idol star was featured on the September 2009 cover of the magazine where her image went through the usual digital retouching for color correction and the like. The photo editor also added in a few digital hair extensions, and while he or she was at it, slimmed Clarkson down considerably. Usually such changes are met with denials or statements that there were only minimal changes made. But Self editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger said that when it comes to magazine cover shoots, editors should do whatever it takes to make the cover model look her best. Even if that means changing her body digitally. Danziger writes in her blog:

Portraits like the one we take each month for the cover of SELF are not supposed to be unedited or a true-to-life snapshot (more on that in a moment). When the cover girl arrives at the shoot, she is usually unmade up and casually dressed, and could be mistaken for a member of the crew or the editorial team in many cases. Once we do her makeup and hair, and dress her in beautifully styled outfits and then light her, we then set the best portrait photographer we can on a road to finding a pose and capturing a moment that shows her at her best...

Then we edit the film and choose the best pictures. This is done in tandem with the star; the creative director, Cindy Searight; the photographer; and myself. Then we allow the postproduction process to happen, where we mark up the photograph to correct any awkward wrinkles in the blouse, flyaway hair and other things that might detract from the beauty of the shot. This is art, creativity and collaboration. It's not, as in a news photograph, journalism. It is, however, meant to inspire women to want to be their best. That is the point....

Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best. Did we publish an act of fiction? No. Not unless you think all photos are that. But in the sense that Kelly is the picture of confidence, and she truly is, then I think this photo is the truest we have ever put out there on the newsstand. I love her spirit and her music and her personality that comes through in our interview in SELF. She is happy in her own skin, and she is confident in her music, her writing, her singing, her performing.

The Today Show also did a story on the Clarkson Self cover. You can view it here:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Usually when we talk about the ethics of digital photo editing, we're getting at the honesty and authenticity of the image. But in the case of the Clarkson cover, the question is more what kind of message is the magazine sending to its readers. The Clarkson story was about "Total Body Confidence," but the cover image seems to say that how you really look isn't good enough.


Monday - August 31, 2009

Is There In Truth No Beauty? Part II

Glamour photoGlamour magazine has set off somewhat of an Internet phenomenon with a small photo it ran on page 194 of its September 2009 issue. It's a nearly nude image of model Lizzi Miller sitting on a bench with a great big smile on her face. As photos go, it's no more than PG. Certainly other photos in the magazine, either editorial or advertising, showed more skin. So why is this photo garnering so much attention? Ms. Miller has a small belly pooch. Glamour Editor-In-Chief Cindi Leive writes on her blog:

It's a photo that measures all of three by three inches in our September issue, but the letters about it started to flood my inbox literally the day Glamour hit newsstands. (As editor-in-chief, I pay attention to this stuff!) "I am gasping with delight ...I love the woman on p 194!" said one...then another, and another, andanotherandanotherandanother. So...who is she? And what on earth is so special about her?

Here's the deal: The picture wasn't of a celebrity. It wasn't of a supermodel. It was of a woman sitting in her underwear with a smile on her face and a belly that looks...wait for it...normal.

The photo goes with a story by Akiba Solomon on women feeling comfortable in their own skin. The photo has no caption, no mention of who the model is, no mention of the fact she wears a size 12/14 and weighs 180 pounds.

The response to this small photo - it's not a cover photo, not promoed anywhere in the magazine - has been big.

There have been at least 770 comments added to Editor Leive's blog post about the photo, not to mention the e-mails. Many of the comments are laudatory. One woman called it "the most amazing photograph I've ever seen in any women's magazine," while another wrote, "Thank you Lizzi, for showing us your beauty and confidence, and giving woman a chance to hopefully recognize a little of their own also."

Miller loves the reaction she's had to the photo:

"When I was young I really struggled with my body and how it looked because I didn't understand why my friends were so effortlessly skinny. As I got older I realized that everyone's body is different and not everyone is skinny naturally--me included! I learned to love my body for how it is, every curve of it. I used to be so self-conscious in a bikini because my stomach wasn't perfectly defined. But everyone has different body shapes! And it's not all about the physical! If you walk on the beach in your bikini with confidence and you feel sexy, people will see you that way too."

Not everyone loved the photo and what it stood for, however. One commenter wrote, "I must say I have to agree that the normalization of obesity is a disturbing trend today."Another commented, "We have enough problems with obesity in the US and don't need your magazine promoting anymore of it. Shame on Glamour for thinking this was sexy!"

More interesting was the criticism of Glamour for using an image like the one of Miller as a publicity stunt:

[W]hile I do give Glamour a big thank you for showing us Lizzi at all, it was to create temporary buzz and to give themselves a pat on the back for "doing the right thing" for America's women and girls, but when it comes down to dollars and cents they aren't going to change a thing. Not being a cynic here...just a realist. Take care. I wish it could be different too.

Student journalist Rebecca Koons, writing in University of Iowa's Daily Iowan, argues a similar position:

The only problem is, this type of positive attitude toward accepting and being oneself is not marketed nearly as much as it should be. We do have publications such as Self that are taking things in a healthier direction — aside from that whole Kelly Clarkson debacle. One can only hope that Glamour and others will begin to follow suit. While a total upheaval of beauty and fashion may never happen, one can only hope that baby steps like these will only help women find solace in embracing what they were born with.

Of course, none of this addresses the issue that Lizzi Miller at size 12/14 is hardly a plus size, though she is considered a plus size model. Even when there were magazines such as Grace and Mode targeted at size 12 women and larger, there were charges that only "skinny" plus-size models need apply.

Below is an interview with Miller and Leive from a recent Today show:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Saturday - August 29, 2009

Is There In Truth No Beauty? Part I

Campaing For Real BeautyTruth #3 states that Everything from the margin moves to the center, and we've seen yet another example of this take place since the second edition of Living in a Media World came out. You may recall back in 2005, Dove shook up the world of beauty advertising with its Campaign For Real Beauty featuring attractive ladies of a variety of sizes posing in their underwear. Around the same time, Nike ran ads portraying athletic women with "big butts" and "thunder thighs," leading some observes to ask whether the era of the waif and heroin chic was over? Were we going to see more images of "realistic looking" women in magazine features and advertisements?

That, of course, begs the question as to what constitutes real women. Are size 2 women not real? Or is it more that average sized women are ignored by the media. There is also the issue that while the women in the Dove and Nike ads are not small, they are also not average looking.

Then, in 2008, questions surfaced in the form of an article from The New Yorker as to how much the photos of Dove's "lumpy ladies" had been manipulated. Had they been retouched to make them look better? New Yorker said yes, photographer Annie Leibovitz said "no," and eventually the digital artist who did the retouching said that the New Yorker had misrepresented his remarks.

Dove Pro AgeDove has followed up this campaign with a campaign celebrating how women look as they age in support of a line of "Pro-Age" products. These ads again were controversial for featuring nude (non-explicit) photos of women over the age of 50. And once again, they were shot by Annie Leibovitz.

So while we can have just about any imaginable image of young, thin women published without exciting too much comment, as soon as the models are either larger sized (relatively) or older, the photos start becoming controversial. Now, four years after Dove's launch of the Campaign For Real Beauty in the United States, the question is - have alternative images of beauty made it into the mainstream?

MONDAY - Glamour's answer to this question


Thursday - August 27, 2009

Questions Worth Asking (Maybe)


Wednesday - August 26, 2009

Because I Can Dept. - British Set Steam-Powered Land Speed Record
This has almost nothing to do with mass communication, but I'm posting it anyway because it is so cool! (It's a news story on the BBC Web site. Does that count?) A team of British enthusiasts built the steam-turbine powered car to beat a record set in 1906 - the longest standing speed record. They took the steamer to an average speed of more than 139 mph. There is great video at the BBC web site, but they don't have embedded video enabled.

Video of Earlier Run of Steam Car



Tuesday - August 25, 2009

Media News Roundup
Things I learned checking out links on the right rail of my blog:


Thursday - August 20, 2009

Harry Potter Style Moving Images on Paper? It's Here. Kinda....
CBS Video AdYou've all watched the Harry Potter movies with the photos in the newspapers that are actually video images. Pretty cool. Of course in the Harry Potter world, they're done with magic, and in our world, they're done with movie special effects. Until now....

CBS is going to be running a video print ad in a limited number of copies of Entertainment Weekly this fall. The ad can hold 40 minutes of video in a player about as thick as a piece of cardboard.

At this point, it's certainly too expensive to be more than a stunt. But it's coming, folks. It's coming.

By the way, if anyone in the New York or Los Angeles area can get me a copy of this magazine, I would be eternally grateful.


Wednesday - August 19, 2009

Media News I Learned Reading Media Post
Seriously, you do get the Media Post newsletters, don't you?


Tuesday - August 18, 2009

Creating a Magazine Cover
There's always lots of talk about what goes into creating a fancy fashion shoot magazine cover. But how much work is it to create a standard-issue, product-shot magazine cover? A great time lapse movie of the creation of a recent Macworld cover featuring the new iPhone. I was mesmerized! Thanks to Daring Fireball for the link to photographer Peter Belenger's blog for this.



Friday - August 14, 2009

Remembering Les Paul
Jeepers, has this become Blog of Death? (And by the way, Jade, BOD has been very quiet as of late....) Anyway, Les Paul, the creator of the Les Paul guitar and the man who largely popularized the solid body electric guitar died this week at the age of 94. He also helped develop multi-track recording. So the whole rock 'n' roll recorded music thing? He largely invented it. Here are several links for you (The top link is to the Rolling Stone obit):


Thursday - August 13, 2009

Remembering John Hughes
Iconic '80s film director John Hughes died of a heart attack last week at the age of 59. He was known for a series of youth films including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In addition to making memorable movies, he also populated them with some of the great music of the 80s. So here are obits, appreciations, a Coverville tribute, and even a commentary from the real-life inspiration for Ferris Bueller (It was a purple El Dorado, not a Ferrari).


Wednesday - August 12, 2009

What Limits To Sexy? News From Jezebel
I've seen several links posted by friends to Facebook about media news from the blog Jezebel, which covers celebrity, sex and gossip from a woman's point of view. It's part of the Gawker family of for-profit blogs. Here's a recent sampling of their stories.


Monday - August 10, 2009

Advertising in the News


Friday - August 7, 2009

When Do Satirical Political Images Cross The Line?
Note: I've linked to a number of images in this post, most of which will be offensive to someone. Don't look at them if you don't want to see them.

There's been a bit of a controversy going on over a new street poster that's appeared in LA portraying President Obama as the Joker from last year's summer blockbuster The Dark Knight. It takes the look of Heath Ledger from Knight, applies some of the coloring from the iconic HOPE poster, and then puts the label SOCIALISM at the bottom. Some accuse the image of being racist, some say it doesn't make sense, and some say, "Why was the Vanity Fair portrayal of George W. Bush as the Joker (or MAD magazine's Alfred E. Newman) not offensive if a similar image of Obama is offensive? There's a lot of room for some interesting debate here. And, as a bonus review, take a look at the New Yorker's controversial "Politics of Fear" cover that portrays Barack as a Muslim and Michelle as Angela Davis.


Wednesday - August 5, 2009

Going through a very busy time right now. Will keep having links, but I'm going to have to keep the comments to a minimum over the next few weeks.

Thoughts on Teaching an Intro To Mass Comm Class
I was part of a panel discussion Tuesday evening on how to successfully teach Intro to Mass Comm classes. I thought I would post my notes here as sort of a virtual handout.

I'm supposed to be talking tonight about my philosophy of teaching Intro, and to give you some suggestions on what you can do in your classes I’ve been teaching Intro for probably about 15 years now, and I’m trying to figure out what makes a class successful. I've taught it online, I've taught it in 350 seat lecture sections, and at University of Nebraksa at Kearney, I teach it to 25-30 students in a nice, small classroom.

  • I could talk about starting a blog. Blogging is a great way to keep up on what is happening in the field. If you have to put together three or four blog entries a week, at the end of the year you will know a lot about what’s going on that you wouldn’t know otherwise. I can see trends that I would have missed until it was too late. You also then have an archive of what you know – instead of always saying, What was that article I read? You can always find it.

    Is there a YouTube video you want to bring to class? Include it in your blog and it will be there when you need it – assuming the video doesn’t get taken down.

    If you want your students to read it, just send them a link to the item on your blog.
    And blogging can be really simple – if you don’t want it to be a big hassle, it doesn’t have to be. Use something simple like blogger.

    What if no one reads your blog ? Who cares? It’s for you. I've been writing this blog for about five years now of a fairly modest readership. But it's the best teaching resource I have.

  • Or I could talk about following some good media news electronic newsletters. I get several every day. If I don’t have time to read them, I just delete them. My favorites come from Media Post (I get several of them) and Media Bistro Daily News Feed. I also read one called Shelf Awareness, that covers the book business. These are just a sampling of the ones I have coming in.

  • Or I could talk about making friends with other mass comm types on Facebook. I have learned an enormous amount about our field through article links and comments put up as status updates or links. I have friends who are not really my friends, but whom I find interesting. For example, I am a Facebook "friend" with Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, and I get interesting perspectives through the comments on his posts. And I get a lot from Geneva Overholser and other journalism education leaders. I also get a lot from Facebook friends who are also my "real" friends. Brian Steffen, chair of the communication department at Simpson College, gives me lots of great articles to read through his FB posts.

    I also make sure that I keep people on my friends list whose viewpoints flow from a different perspective. For example, I stay in touch through FB with a conservative writer named Danny Glover who went to school where I used to teach. I rarely see eye-to-eye with him, but I learn a lot about perspectives I wouldn’t know about otherwise.

I guess I’ve used all my time and haven’t gotten to what I’m going to talk about. Which I guess is – Keep up on what is going on. There’s an expression that we need to surf the edges – the only way to keep up is to stay ahead. And if you don’t stay on top of things, you can never catch up.


Tuesday - August 4, 2009

Going through a very busy time right now. Will keep having links, but I'm going to have to keep the comments to a minimum over the next few weeks.

Geeking Out Day 2 - LOST at Comic-Con 2009
Video of the LOST panel at San Diego Comic-Con

Part I


Part II


Part III

Part IV


Fan Generated Video



Monday - August 3, 2009

Going through a very busy time right now. Will keep having links, but I'm going to have to keep the comments to a minimum over the next few weeks.

Geeking Out - My True Media Loves


Sunday - August 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to Coverville's Brian Ibbott!
Citizen of CovervilleA very happy 40th birthday wish to Coverville host Brian Ibbott! Brian's been producing the brilliant Coverville podcast since 2004, and he's coming up on his 600th episode. While the show continues to be free, he has recently started the Citizens of Coverville program that gets you a t-shirt, a good deal on the complete archives of Coverville on DVD, and a subscription to the premium podcast Coverville Bonus Tracks. It's kind of like becoming a friend of public radio. I'm a citizen, and I encourage you to be one, too! Here are links to some recent great shows:


Thursday - July 30, 2009

Going through a very busy time right now. Will keep having links, but I'm going to have to keep the comments to a minimum over the next few weeks.

Things I Learned Reading Washington Post Blogs Today


Tuesday - July 28, 2009

Going through a very busy time right now. Will keep having links, but I'm going to have to keep the comments to a minimum over the next few weeks.

Amazon's Kindle & Damage Control PR Go On A Date
Amazon sells the dominant electronic book - the Kindleamazon . You buy books from Amazon, the book downloads onto your Kindle, and you can read it whenever you want.

Unless it's George Orwell's 1984 or Animal Farm.

Last week, people who purchased copies of the two classics discovered that Amazon had erased the books from their Kindles and refunded the purchase price. It turns out that that the company offering the two books through Amazon did not have the legal right to be selling them. So Amazon used it's electronic connection to take the text of the eBook readers.

This highlights one of the key conflicts of the new electronic media world. It doesn't really feel like we own the media content be buy, we just have access to it as long as the company we bought it from wants us to have it. NPR's On The Media ran a great story this last weekend looking at how this issue applies to things like music purchased online that has Digital Rights Management controls on them.

To their credit, Amazon realized that they had made a bad mistake. They realized that if you bought an illegal paperback copy of a book, Amazon wouldn't be able to take it back. And it should be no different for eBooks.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos posted an unambiguous apology on the company's web site that had none of the weaselyness that company apologies often have. He writes:

This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our "solution" to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

I have to say admire the spin control coming out of Amazon. You don't often hear real apologies from major corporations. But Amazon's promise, however heartfelt, doesn't eliminate people's fears. Brad Stone, writing in the New York Times points out:

A growing number of civil libertarians and customer advocates wants Amazon to fundamentally alter its method for selling Kindle books, lest it be forced to one day change or recall books, perhaps by a judge ruling in a defamation case — or by a government deciding a particular work is politically damaging or embarrassing.

Stone quotes a law professor who says that deleting the illegal copy of 1984 was the right thing to do with all the problems associated with online copyright. Especially since Amazon refunded everyone's money.

I beg to differ. I've contemplated buying a Kindle, but have yet to pull the trigger on it. What do I like about it? If I need a book all of a sudden at the last minute, I could get it through my Kindle. But if that book could disappear at a moments notice, I could be in a huge amount of hurt. Suppose you were writing a paper on Orwell and discovered at midnight the day before your paper is due that the copy of the book you bought a month earlier had disappeared? A $1.99 refund at that point wouldn't be worth much. (Though I had no trouble finding a copy of 1984 online. You get the point.)

A fascinating case that goes way beyond just the Kindle.


Monday - July 27, 2009

Going through a very busy time right now. Will keep having links, but I'm going to have to keep the comments to a minimum over the next few weeks.

Media News Update


July Entries

Living in a Media World Archive

Ralph Hanson's
Other Web Pages

Lots of new and repaired links!

Journalism Orgs

Activist Groups

Media Gossip & Blogs


For Fun

Web Comics
Note - Many of these comics are PG-13

Student Journalist Blogs