Fake News Resources from ALA

The American Library Association has rounded up some resources on one of the hot topics of our day: fake news. In all kinds of libraries–school, public, academic–librarians are offering their constituents strategies for discerning fact from fiction in their daily news consumption.  Fake News: A Library Resource Round-Up  offers up some webinars, LibGuides, books, and articles devoted to the issue of fake news.  Included in the suggested books is a title from one of our own,  Unspun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Brooks Jackson.

For some deeper reading on the subject check out: Post-truth: Study Epidemiology of Fake News by Adam Jurcharski in Nature 540,525

Also,  keep and eye on the London School’s Media Policy Project Blog that is devoting a series of posts on fake news, the first one is here.

 

Historical Coverage of Contraception in the Media

An historical look at birth control and the media is the theme of  Journalism & Communication Monographs’ last issue of 2016 (Volume 18, Number 4). The issue’s monograph by Ana C. Garner and Angela R. Michel is titled: “The Birth Control Divide”: U.S. Press Coverage of Contraception, 1873-2013, followed by two commentary pieces: Situating Contraception in a Broader Historical Formation (Carole R. McCann) and  140 Years of Birth Control Coverage in the Prestige Press (Dolores Flamiano).

Abstract  (Garner/Michel analysis)

For more than 140 years, religious, medical, legislative, and legal institutions have contested the issue of contraception. In this conversation, predominantly male voices have attached reproductive rights to tangential moral and political matters, revealing an ongoing, systematic attempt to regulate human bodies, especially those of women. This analysis of 1873-2013 press coverage of contraception in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune shows a division between institutional ideology and real-life experience; women’s reproductive rights are negotiable. Although journalists often reported that contraception was a factor in the everyday life of women and men, press accounts also showed religious, medical, legislative, and legal institutions debating whether it should be. Contraception originally was predominately viewed as a practice of prostitutes (despite evidence to the contrary) but became a part of everyday life. The battle has slowly evolved into one about the Affordable Care Act, religious freedom, morality, and employer rights. What did not significantly change over the 140-year period are larger cultural and ideological structures; these continue to be dominated by men, who retain power over women’s bodies.

In the Life Archive at UCLA

Over the summer The UCLA Film and Television Archive launched a new digital portal of LGBT media materials in concert with the trailblazing TV series In the Life. In addition to a complete collection of In the Life episodes (actually all of the over 190 episodes aren’t up yet), the portal features “other contextualizing material, including a commissioned essay, “The Time of Our Lives: In the Life – America’s LGBT News Magazineinthelifepapers1,” by Stephen Tropiano, Ithaca College; an oral history with seminal indie filmmaker Pat Rocco; a lecture by LGBT scholar  Lillian Faderman; and a list of LGBT media, history and advocacy resources…Jayne Baron Sherman, a board member of In the Life Media, said, ‘This living legacy of ‘In the Life’ provides generations with documentation and history that exists nowhere else and helps chronicle and explain the LGBT movement over the past 20-plus years.'” –UCLA Newsroom

In the Life ran from 1992-2012 and for most of those years followed a news magazine format that provided award-winning journalism for and about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  Eventually it aired in over 200 public TV markets.

 

Associated Press and British Movietone Newsreels Come to YouTube

Tmovietonewo world famous newsreel archives, The Associated Press and British Movietone, have just announced they are making their footage available on YouTube, making it “the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform to date,” more than 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day, according to the July 22 press release.

Stephen Nuttall, director of YouTube in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, observed: “Making this content available on YouTube is a wonderful initiative from AP and British Movietone that will breathe new life into their footage and no doubt delight our global community–from students researching history projects to curious culture-vultures and the billions in between. It’s an historical treasure trove that will give YouTube users around the world a moving window into the past and I can’t wait to explore it.”

imagesX4U92P2FThe AP portion of these archives is not finite either; it will be continually refreshed with contemporary footage.

Once in YouTube, you can browse the The AP Archive and British Movietone separately or do event or topic searches with the general YouTube content and see what newsreels come up.

 

 

 

 

A Syllabus for the Ages

carrAnyone interested in journalism or writing in general might want to put themselves through the paces of the course David Carr taught last semester, his first after joining the faculty at Boston University’s communications school. The course, called Press Play, is devoted to “making and distributing content” in today’s shifting media landscape.  It is what Davide Carr is all about, great journalism, yes, but above all, finding one’s voice as writer.  Latter sessions in the semester deal with distribution models, measuring reader engagement and “writing” for visual learners, i.e. video.

The syllabus for Press Play  can be found on his blog Medium which is sadly now frozen since his last post on February 4.

2015 World Press Freedom Index

The news is grim from Reporters Without Borders which has just published its annual index on press freedom around the world, 2015 World Press Freedom Index.     rwb

The findings are “incontestable. There was a drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the previous year. The annual global indicator, which measures the overall level of violations of freedom of information in 180 countries year by year, has risen to 3,719, an 8 percent increase over 2014 and almost 10 percent compared with 2013. The decline affected all continents.”

Data for the 180 countries includes an Abuses score, an Underlying situation score, and an Overall score.  Each country’s variance in rank and overall score from the previous year, 2014, is also indicated. Besides this charted data, the Index provides a narrative as well, pointing out the most striking developments in the year, overarching themes, and insight on how press freedom correlates with other country indicators.

 

Big Data for Media

Just out, a Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (University of Oxford) report titled Big Data for Media. Authored by Martha L. Stone, the 33-page report, which looks at the big data phenomenon in the media sector, grew out of interview research with publishers, broadcasters, data scientists, and academics as well as two “Big Data for Media” London-based conferences in 2013 and 2014.

“For newspapers, television, magazines and Internet-only publishers, Big Data strategies can include audience analytics to enable a better understanding and targeting of customers; tools to understand public and private databases for journalistic storytelling; tools to manage and search the exploding amount of video, social media and other content; tools to target advertising and ad campaigns; tools to automate the production of text and video stories, tools to identify waste and enable efficiencies; and much more….While media industries are learning a lot from each other about Big Data, they are also increasingly drawing insights from other sectors beyond the media.” —Report’s introduction

 

Case studies of various media outlets make up the meat of the report.  Outlets include the Huffington Post, Buzz Feed, Financial Times and FT.com, dunnhumbly, Sacramento Bee, Archant, BBC, and CNN.  The pages are data rich in the form of pie and bar charts and other visuals.

Communication and the Moon

Two interesting books came out this year relating to the moon.  marketingthemoonIn Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program by David Meerman Scott, Richard Jurek (MIT Press, 2014), the authors give us a detailed account of the PR campaigns and subsequent media coverage of the Apollo missions. It is not only a well written book, it’s a beautiful book, full of photographs and  illustrations.

Joshua Rothman in the  New Yorker’s August review observes: “…If there was a central pillar to the Apollo P.R. effort, it was live television. Scott and Jurek chart the continual battle within NASA over live TV. On one side were the engineers and military types, who viewed onboard television cameras as an unnecessary addition to the mission payload, or even as an invasion of astronaut privacy. On the other side were the administrators and public-relations specialists, who argued that television was, in some ways, the point of the mission. To the pro-TV faction, the medium had an ideological meaning: when faced with opposition from the engineering team, Julian Scheer, NASA’s director of P.R., said, “We’re not the Soviets. Let’s do this the American way….CBS covered the Apollo 11 landing for thirty-two continuous hours; it set up special screens in Central Park so that people could watch in a crowd. Ninety-four per cent of TV-owning American households tuned in. Without television, the moon landing would have been a merely impressive achievement — an expensive stunt, to the cynical. Instead, seen live, unedited, and everywhere, it became a genuine experience of global intimacy.”

Then there’s No Requiem for the Space Age: The Apollo Moon Landings and American Culture by Matthew D. Trippe (Oxford University Press, 2014) which takes a more cultural view.  It looks at the space program through the lens of of cultural artifact such as movies, novels, rock albums, and religious tracts of the 1960s and 70s and proceeds to analyze why support for the NASA missions decreased throughout the 70s.  requiem One of the reasons had to do with the growing conflict between the more straightlaced-rational-military/scientific culture versus the more mystical-rebellious-skeptical of authority (including scientific) counterculture. NPR’s Robert Krulwich reviewing the book in his blog, Krulich Wonders (July 16, 2014), points out another of Tribbe’s explanations which I find even more interesting (at least it’s less obvious), one that has to do with rhetoric, which he devotes a whole chapter to.

“People, he thinks, were eager to hear what it was like to escape the Earth’s atmosphere, to travel weightlessly, to touch down on an alien planet, to be the first explorers to leave “home,” and too often (much too often), the astronauts talked about these things using the same words — “beautiful,” “fantastic” — over and over. If space exploration was to be a grand adventure, it needed explorers who could take us there, tell us how it felt, explorers who could connect with those of us who can’t (but want to) come along. Inarticulateness, Tribbe thinks, hurt the space program.”

Even if your research these days has no lunar bearings whatsoever, both books look like fascinating reads.

 

Internet Television News Archive

It’s hard to keep up with all that the Internet Archive has to offer these days.  When it comes to TV news The Vanderbilt Television indexNews Archive may be what first comes to mind (and their coverage goes back to 1968, nothing to sneeze at) but for more recent news the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive is worth looking at.  Open to all, it includes over 600,000 clips from news shows since 2009.  One can filter by networks which, in addition to ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and CNN (Vanderbilt turf) also include MSNBC, Al Jazeera America, Comedy Central, Estrella TV, and others.

It works like this. Search on a topic (keyword, phrase, name, etc.) and select the clip you are interested in viewing. Then you can further edit with the accompanying transcript to extract the exact quote you want to embed in a document or share on Facebook, Twitter and the like. Material others find significant enough to “quote” in this fashion is saved for subsequent archive users, creating an organically grown archive of popularity within the larger archive. There is an option to borrow full DVDs of the shows from which the search-result segments derive.

Search-result metadata, which appears on the lefthand side of the screen, offers breakdowns by years, networks, programs and also throws up a useful timeline of results.  I thought I’d try a simple search on “nurses” since the nursing profession has been front and center in the news due to the recent Ebola scare in the United States. Sure enough, the spike for mentions of nurses in the news is dramatic.

Search on "nurses" since 2009.

Search on “nurses” since 2009.