Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Red Brand/Blue Brand

There's a fascinating piece in Ad Age this week about what brands are top with Republicans and Democrats.

No surprises for the number one slot for either party with Google topping the Democratic list and Fox News Channel leading the GOP list. There are some brands that are on both lists such as the History Channel.

The article talks a bit about what impact such partisanship can have on the brand, but in this political season I think the far more interesting thing is how campaigns utilize consumer data. Back in 2004, I was fortunate enough to coordinate an election debriefing with the top political operatives for both the Kerry and the Bush campaigns. One of the things that stuck out in my mind was how the Bush camp was able to successfully target their get-out-the-vote efforts using consumer data. They knew for example that if a person drove a Volvo, that person probably wouldn't be voting for Bush so they didn't bother trying to get that person to vote. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first election to use such consumer data in this way and it probably made a difference in the 2004 race.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unveiling the Wish List

There are a lot of books that we'd like to purchase for the library, but can't because of budget cutbacks. So we've created an Amazon wish list for Cook Library.

The books on this list have been selected by the library liaisons, including yours truly.

To purchase a book, just click on the link to the list and purchase it through Amazon. Then the book is shipped directly to the library and we'll send you a thank you note. Also, each donated item added to the collection will include a placard recognizing the donor.

Please consider donating a book to the library. For as little as $20, you can make a big difference.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Does God Communicate?

I saw a USA Today story last week about a new book, America's Four Gods: What We Say about God and What That Says about Us by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader.

The book lays out the four different ways that people think about God:
  • The Authoritative God (engaged in people's lives and is judgmental)
  • The Benevolent God (engaged in people's lives, but is loving)
  • The Critical God (keeps track of our sins, but doesn't intervene in the world)
  • The Distant God (created the world, but doesn't intervene in the world)
What struck me about these descriptions is that an integral part of a person's portrait of God is how that person thinks God communicates with humanity. So even when it comes to something very abstract, like God, we find that communication is the heart of how people make sense of things. Communication is such a great field!

Cook Library doesn't have this new book, but you can request it through interlibrary loan.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Science News in a Nutshell

I come from a family of engineers and I am married to a scientist in a family of doctors. When I began studying journalism and news many moons ago, all of them pointed out how bad they felt science news coverage is. One of the chief criticisms I often hear is that science news lacks context and depth. Reporters cover a study like it is the be-all and end-all, studies are covered only if they are easy to understand instead of if they have merit, science only gets covered if it is political, etc...

I think this Guardian blog post that outlines what a typical science news story contains sums up their criticisms quite nicely. The fact that such a piece can be written (and be so darn funny) points to the fact that journalists may want to take a second look at how they cover science.

Cook Library has lots of great books about science news coverage including: