Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Books Week

This week Cook Library, along with other libraries across the country are celebrating Banned Books Week. During this week, the library emphasizes the importance of having the freedom to access and read information, no matter how controversial that information is. Freedom of information and communication go hand-in-hand. Without freedom to access and read information there is nothing to communicate.

So celebrate Banned Books Week along with us in Cook Library!

Maybe take the time to read a banned book (a list of some of the more recent ones can be found on the American Library Association's website). What is on the list may surprise you!

Another thing, you can do is stop in at the Banned Books Week Read-Out on Wednesday in the Cook Library Lobby from 12-1pm. At this event, students, faculty and staff will be reading from banned or challenged books.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

All the News that's Fit to Read

Pew's latest study on news consumption came out last week and there are some interesting findings:
  • About a third of Americans go online to get their news and that's a little higher than those who get their news from papers
  • People aren't replacing more traditional news content with digital, they're supplementing it
That last point made me think back to a story I remember hearing when I was a communication undergrad. I remember one of my professors saying how there was a fear when television first came out that people would stop going to the movies. It turns out that fear was ultimately misplaced. I wonder if the same will bear out for TV news and newspapers in this digital age. I think as long as there is a niche that those media can fill that is different from digital, they will survive. The question is: Can they find that niche?

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Beginning of the End of OPRAH...

As the Associated Press reminds us, the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show begins today.

The story hints at the effect this will have on her viewers, but as a quick search of the communication literature suggests, Oprah's impact went well beyond her audience. By just searching for scholarly articles containing "Oprah" in the Communication & Mass Media Complete database, I find 31 articles. A couple of the articles talk about the power that Oprah's endorsement of Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary had on the race. Many more talk about the impact that Oprah's Book Club has had on discussions about race, cultural, and social issues.

I think all of the research that has been done and probably will be done on Oprah is really a testament to the impact that media can have on society and culture.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Arizona Hires PR Firm

I recently saw a news story announcing that the state of Arizona has hired HMA Public Relations to come up with campaign to improve their image. The state's tourism office is hoping to counter any negative backlash that has arisen from the state's controversial immigration bill.

This news story made me wonder what the PR firm's best tactic would be here. Should they address the immigration bill head-on in ads or should they focus on the scenic touristy stuff that would traditionally be a major selling point? If they take the first tactic, they run the risk of having the most memorable part of the ads be the negative opinions about Arizona and if they take the other tactic, they run the risk of being seen as ridiculous for just glossing over one of the biggest controversies to hit the state in decades. Thus, I have a feeling they might allude to the immigration controversy in some way, but not specifically mention it in the ads. This seems like a nice, safe, middle-of-the-road approach. I'll be watching to see what happens...