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.

I'm now on Twitter. Follow me at ralphehanson

Author Pam Hanson blogs on Holding on and Letting Go

Wednesday - Dec. 23, 2009

Entertainments For Little Christmas Eve
Scandinavians call the night before Christmas Eve "Little Christmas Eve." Here are a couple of media entertainments for your holiday viewing pleasure.

  • Have Very Blondie Christmas!
    80s icon Blondie has a new music video out - a power-pop version of "We Three Kings." Merry Christmas to all! (Thanks, Clicks and Pops)

  • Are HP Computers Racist?
    This isn't a serious question. Obviously, a computer doesn't have an opinion on racial equality. But... HP is dealing with a bit of a public relations problem from a tongue-in-cheek YouTube video that illustrates that fancy new facial recognition software for a new Hewlett Packard computer works great on white faces and not at all on black faces. Oops.... (Not sure where I originally came across this, but the link is to Wired's Gadget Lab.

  • Christmas Caroling With The Roches
    Maggie, Terre and Suzzy sing favorites. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


Thursday - Dec. 17, 2009

Chris Henry Was Supposed To Be My Student

The news was tragic. Cincinnati Bengals player Chris Henry died this morning in a senseless accident - falling out of the back of a truck being driven by his fiancé. The outpouring of Facebook statuses and Tweets was immediate.

"Very sad to hear of Chris Henry's untimely death...

"RIP Chris Henry ... troublemaker, but a life ended WAY too early... tragic. :("

"A sad day for fans, wherever you may be. RIP CH."

It was a sad day for all who loved to watch Chris Henry play football, and an even sadder day for his fiancé and three children.

Chris Henry was supposedly one of my students several years ago. I say supposedly because although he was enrolled in my class, he never showed up. He wasn't the sort of person you could miss, even in a 350-seat class. By the end of the semester, he had left the university to go on to his checkered NFL career.

Chris Henry could certainly play football. I don't know whether he was ever really able to be a student.

During my 20+ years as a university professor, I've seen a number of athletes who are excellent students and many more who are hard-working, dedicated students. I have seen the hard-working athletic support staff trying to make sure student athletes perform well in the classroom as well as on the field or court.

But I have also seen student athletes struggling through multiple-choice tests with scores that were no better than random guessing. And these students were trying. They would spend the whole 75 minutes of test time attempting to figure out the answers. I am convinced that a few of them couldn't read the test.

I know that many athletes use their talent to pay for an education they couldn’t get otherwise. And I know that Division II and III athletes oftentimes compete simply to be able to compete. I enjoy watching college football and basketball.

But that doesn’t eliminate the real tragedy of Chris Henry. All that mattered was that he could play football. No one ever held him accountable to be a fully developed human being.

The death of Chris Henry was a tragedy. On many, many levels.


Wednesday - Dec. 16, 2009

Tiger Woods Meets Tabloid Laundering

Sensational news clearly attracts viewers and readers, especially when it’s truly out of the norm. When Michael Jackson died unexpectedly in 2009, the coverage of his death and memorial service dominated the media for several weeks, matching that of Princess Diana’s death in 1997. And when Tiger Woods had his minor car accident in late 2009, the media coverage started exploding when the news started breaking that Woods had been having affairs with at least 11 different women.

The mainstream media use occasions such as Michael Jackson’s death or Tiger Wood’s infidelity as an opportunity to engage in tabloid laundering or tabloidization, which is when respectable media report on what the tabloids are reporting (without doing the reporting themselves). Journalist and commentator Margaret Carlson says, “We take what the tabloids do and write about, and that way get what we wouldn’t write about originally into the magazine. And then we run pictures of the pictures to show how terrible the pictures are.”

You can watch a round-table discussion of "respectable media's" coverage of the Tiger Woods story in this clip from CNN's Sunday show - Reliable Sources. If you're more into reading, you can see the transcript of the program here.


Monday - Dec. 14, 2009

Questions Worth Asking (Maybe)


Monday - Dec. 7, 2009

Things I Learned Using Twitter on a Snowy Night in Nebraska


Thursday - Dec. 3, 2009

Comcast Officially Announces Plan to Acquire NBC Universal From General Electric

So it's now official - Comcast and NBC Universal have announced their $30 billion merger. Comcast will buy 51 percent of the broadcast network/movie studio from General Electric, which will remain a minority owner of the NBCU for the time being. The merger/acquisition will create a media giant. As you read about all of this, keep in mind the following issues:

  • Comcast is the nation's largest cable and and Internet service provide, serving 25 percent of U.S. homes.
  • Overall, Comcast would own more than 20 percent of all television viewing hours. NBCU owns the Telemundo Spanish-language broadcast network, and cable channels USA, CNBC, MSNBC, SyFy, Bravo, Oxygen, and my personal fave - The Weather Channel. Comcast already owns E! Entertainment Television, Versus, Style, the Golf Channel, and the Major League Baseball channel.
  • The merger may result in the most popular television programs being put behind a paywall on the Internet.
  • Mergers of pipeline providers and content providers don't always work out. Google AOL Time Warner if you have any questions.


Wednesday - Dec. 2, 2009

Comcast/NBCU Watch - Part II: Critics Weigh in on Transaction

I've written before about what critics have to say about the likely acquisition of NBCU by Comcast. Here's some more commentary (largely negative) about the transaction:


Tuesday - Dec. 1, 2009

Comcast/NBCU Watch - Part I: General Electric Buys Vivendi's Portion of NBC Universal; Comcast deal looking more certain

General Electric has reportedly reached a tentative agreement to buy Vivendi's 20 percent ownership of NBC Universal for approximately $5.8 billion, according to the NYT's DealBook blog. This would give GE full ownership of the broadcast network/movie studio, which would then allow it to sell 51 percent of NBCU to cable giant Comcast. GE would then gradually sell the rest of its interest in NBCU to Comcast over the next several years.

Tomorrow - Critics Weigh in on Transaction


Monday - Nov. 30, 2009

Things I Learned This Morning From Media Post Newsletters


Tuesday - Nov. 24, 2009

Questions Worth Asking (Maybe)
BTW, if you aren't reading Media Bistro's Daily Media News Feed, you should....


November 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