Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Do We Know about Weather Broadcasts?

With the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last week and Hurricane Earl threatening to barrel down on the east coast this week, I found myself being curious about news coverage of weather.

I wanted to know whether communications scholars uncovered any patterns in weather broadcasts? (For example: During a big storm, how likely are we to see that poor weather-beaten field reporter compared to the high and dry station meteorologist with his mighty Doppler Radar data?)

After turning to the Communication and Mass Media Complete database and searching for broadcasting AND news, I found a great article from the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Applied Communication Research titled " Conceptualizing Continuous Coverage: A Strategic Model for Wall-to-Wall Local Television Weather Broadcasts". This study looked at four local television stations’ coverage of four Atlantic hurricanes in two Southeastern markets in 2005 and found that live reporting only made up about 12% of coverage and weather reporters received most of the air time compared to news talent.

Granted, this is only one study, but it makes me wonder what other patterns exist in weather broadcasting. With all of these news-worthy weather events, I'm afraid communication scholars will have many opportunities to find out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Subject and Course Gateways!

Cook Library has undergone a lot of changes this summer. Last week we unveiled our new interface and this week we bring you new subject and course gateways.

I've created two subject gateways -- one in Communication Studies and one in Mass Communication -- that list some of the best resources (databases, journals, websites, books, and associations) in those disciplines. You can get to the new gateways from the library homepage by clicking on the Subject Gateways icon in the middle of the page. Once on the Subject Gateways page, just select one of the gateways from the drop down menu.

Also, a new feature are the course gateways. These pages list the best resources in specific courses. So far, I've created a gateway for COMM 131 (Fundamentals of Speech Communication) and I hope to create others in the very near future. You can get to the course gateways, by selecting the Research tab on the library's website and clicking on the Course Gateways link. Just enter the subject and the number of the course and you'll get the guide for that class. If no guide exists for that class, then it will send you to the Subject Gateway that covers the course.

I hope that you will make good use of the Subject and Course gateways. I promise that they are chock-full of great resources :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Take a look at our new look!

Last Friday, the Cook Library website got a new look! The functionality hasn't really changed, but we did move some items around to reflect how the site was being used. Mostly, we updated the look and feel to make it more user-friendly and more in line with TU's other pages.

For more information on the changes, visit the library's blog.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Anchorless Local News

According to a story in the New York Daily News, a local TV news station in Houston is planning to test out delivering their news broadcasts without anchors. Declining viewership is cited as the main reason for the cut.

As the article hints, experimenting with news styles and formats to try and reengage viewers isn't new. In her June/July 2009 article in American Journalism Review, Deborah Potter explains how news stations are trying social media and even "channeling ESPN's SportsCenter" to try to get back viewers.

I just wonder if removing anchors will ultimately make any difference in viewership. With more and more people getting their news online, removing anchors from local newscasts might be the equivalent of applying a new coat of paint to a sinking ship...