Introducing The Communication Initiative Network

The Communication Initiative Network (The CI) is an portal for the exchange of information between “the people and organizations engaged in or supporting communication as a fundamental strategy for economic and social development and change…This process is supported by web-based resources of summarized information and several electronic publications, as well as online research, review, and discussion platforms providing insight into communication for development experiences.

Currently, The CI Network process includes: The Communication Initiative: Global – in English, with a worldwide overview and focus; La Iniciativa de Comunicacion: Latin America – in Spanish, with a worldwide overview and focus on the Latin American experience and context; and, Soul Beat Africa – in English, with a focus on the African experience and context.”

The site also includes a Policy Blogs section and Development Networks for such topics as Journalism in Crisis, Haiti, Communication and Climate Change, Polio Communication Consultation Group, and HIV/AIDS Strategy.

The Drum Beat, a weekly electronic magazine features new summarized information from the site.

The ASC community should be proud to know that The Annenberg School has become an associative member of “The CI.” Here’s hoping more academic institutions join us. Anyone interested in global communication, development communication or health communication beyond our shores should find something useful at this site.


International Journal of Communication Tackles Media Reform

Media reform is the focus of a special symposium recently published in International Journal of Communication, Volume 3 (2009). Our own Annenberg doctoral candidates Dan Berger and C. Riley Snorton contribute individual articles as well as the section’s Introduction.

From the Introduction:

“This section — among the first in-depth scholarly examination of media reform—brings together scholars and activist-intellectuals (in and outside of the academy) to examine the media reform struggle. We organized this special section to investigate the ideas and actions of this political project. We wanted, in particular, to examine its origin narrative at a time when the movement appears to be gaining even greater traction as issues like “net neutrality,” low-frequency radio, and other questions of media access are pervasive in popular, scholarly, and activist spheres.” They were “intentionally eclectic in soliciting a wide range of voices, which speak to issues of media, democracy, representation, and political engagement.” Contributors are prominent figures in the world of media reform and the field of communication: John L. Jackson Jr. (University of Pennsylvania), “Media Reform, 2008’s Presidential Election, and the Sportification of Politics“; Robert W. McChesney (University of
Illinois at Champaign-Urbana), “Understanding the Media Reform Movement“; Makani Themba-Nixon (The Praxis Project), “Mainstreams and Margins: A Critical Look at the Media Reform ‘Story'”; and Peter Dahlgren (Lund University, Sweden), “Realistic Politics, Uncomfortable Knowledge: Living Creatively with Dissonance.”

And be sure to also check outFrom Fermentation to Maturity? Reflections on Media and Communication Studies. An Interview with Todd Gitlin, Jostein Gripsrud & Michael Schudson” by Helle Sjøvaag and Hallvard Moe.

“25 years after the Journal of Communication published a special issue entitled ‘Ferment in the Field’ [published right here at the Annenberg School], Professors Todd Gitlin, Michael Schudson and Jostein Gripsrud reflect on the state of the field of media and communications research. They discuss the conflict between critical and administrative research, the role of the intellectual in today’s society, and the quality of current research on new media.”

Edited by Larry Gross and Manuel Castells (both, USC Annenberg School for Communication), IJoC is an open-access, multi-media journal that, “while centered in communication,” features contributions “from the many disciplines and approaches that meet at the crossroads that is communication study.” It takes the “International” part of its title seriously; beginning only its third year/volume of publication, contributors to the journal represent twenty-five countries from around the world.

Centre for Communication Rights

To meet the increasing demand for materials and resources about the right to communication, The World Association of Christian Communication (WACC) has launched the Centre for Communication Rights (CCR). The site, situated on the WACC homepage–righthand side, is a great place to find resources on policy related to communication rights, including case studies, training manuals and practical handbooks and links to media observatories (organizations that monitor policy and practice) in Europe and Latin America (so far). There are also resource sections on: Building and Recognizing Communication Rights, Development, Democratization, Gender, Language and Culture, and Ethics of Communication. Anyone interested international communication in the areas of policy, human rights, or development should make a beeline to this site!

Panel discussion on television flow at MIT

A panel discussion on international television program flows in March of this year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was recorded as part of the Communications Forum Series of the Comparative Media Studies Program. The event, Global Television, can be accessed in audio or podcast.

A salient feature of contemporary TV has been the appearance of programs that appeal more widely across national boundaries than many earlier television shows. Examples include a range of reality shows such as Big Brother or Survivor as well as fiction series such as Ugly Betty, which undergo relatively small facelifts before being introduced to new audiences. And many American programs — e.g., Lost, Desperate Housewives — travel abroad with no alterations, as country-specific promotion and distribution strategies adjust them to their new national contexts. In this forum, three distinguished media scholars will discuss the origins and significance of the international distribution of television formats and programs.

David Thorburn, MIT Professor of Literature, MacVicar Faculty Fellow, Director, MIT Communications Forum
PANELISTS: William C. Uricchio, Co-Director, Comparative Media Studies Program and Professor of Comparative Media Studies, MIT

Roberta Pearson, Professor of Film Studies, School of American & Canadian Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Nottingham
Eggo Müller, Visiting Professor, Department of Screen Arts and Cultures, University of Michigan

International Radio and Television Broadcasts

In the March issue of College and Research Libraries News, librarian John Barnett has put together a useful annotated list of international broadcasts available on he Web. Global Voices, Global Visions: International Radio and Television Broadcasts Via the Web names 16 useful sites you can check out on your own, if not the article itself available electronically from the main page:

RadioStationWorld: Your Global Radio Station Directory

World Radio Network (WRN)

ABC Radio Australia

BBC World Service

Channel Africa

China Radio International (CRI)

Deutshe Welle (DW)

IRIB World Service

Israel Broadcasting Authority
NHK World Radio Japan Online

Radio Canada International/CBC Radio One

Radio France Internationale/Radio France (RFI)

Radio Netherlands

RTVE: Radio Televisión Española

United Nations Radio

Vatican Radio

Voice of Russia

Global Civil Society 2007/8

The annual Global Civil Society Yearbooks are indispensable guides to civic participation and action around the world. This year’s Yearbook focuses on Communicative Power and Democracy, investigating the relationship between communication, democracy and media.

Monroe Price serves as one of the editors of the volume as well as the author of Chapter 3: Civil Society and the Global Market for Loyalties. And Vincent Price leads off with Chapter 1: Democracy, Global Publics and World Opinion.
What I love about these Yearbooks are the cool Indicator Suites that comprise a third of their contents–graphic illustrations on globalization, population migration, social and economic rights, comparative laws, the environment, global values and attitudes, press and political freedom and, saving the best for last, Suite 3: Media and Communication (global comparisons of telephone mainlines, cellular lines, PCs per 1000, internet usage and penetration, WiFi service, top website genres, internet languages, and blog usage and penetration.)
The Global Civil Society Yearbook is a collaboration between LSE’s Centre for the Study of Global Governance, UCLA’s Center for Civil Society and for 2007/8, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.


AsiaMedia is a daily electronic publication of news about all aspects of the media in Asia, including its role in regional and national economies, societies, and political debate. It also publishes commentary by a range of journalists, scholars, and policy makers. AsiaMedia is not an institution or a foundation. “Rather, it is an intellectual exchange network headquartered at UCLA, with a geographical and intellectual reach extending from the West Coast of California to East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and on to Australia and the Pacific Islands” (from the website).

“AsiaMedia, formerly the Asia Pacific Media Network, was founded in 1998 by Tom Plate, an experienced columnist on Asian issues and now an adjunct professor in the UCLA Department of Communications Studies, where it was published. Along with its sister publication Asia Pacific Arts, it moved to the UCLA Asia Institute in 2002 and was renamed AsiaMedia in 2004″ (website).

The publication is divided into East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Pacific Islands, and The World (latest headlines from Asia about the rest of the world). There is also an Asia Pacific Arts section. One can subscribe for free weekly updates.

Just added to the Penn Libraries E-Resource collection: is an Internet-based news service that employs a team of translators around the region to gather important stories from and about the Middle East. Established in Beirut, Lebanon, it began offering services to paying clients in September 2005. It currently covers news from all 22 Arab countries, Iran, and the Arab media diaspora generally to span across the North Africa region as well as the UK and other countries that host Pan-Arab media.

An archive, which already contains thousands of briefs coded by subject categories (women, judicial, energy etc), specific news sources (Al Hayat, Al Jazeera, Al Quds Al Arabi etc), countries, general topics (opinion, business etc.) and keywords, is fully searchable.

For subscription access, be sure to enter this resource from the Penn Libraries homepage.

Media Sustainability Indexes from IREX

IREX currently publishes two indexes on the conditions for independent media to thrive in 38 countries across Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Since 2000 it has focused on Eurasian MSI but since 2006 it has taken on the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, an MSI for Africa is due out this year. The MSI is designed to analyze key elements of each country’s media system and highlight where intervention can be most effective in promoting sustainable and professional media systems.

MSI Europe & Eurasia 2006/07, the sixth MSI for this region, focuses on 21 countries.
MSI Middle East and North Africa (MENA) analyzes 18 countries in the region. Both are available in full online.

IREX (International Research and Exchange Board), is an international nonprofit organization that describes its mission as “providing leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media, and foster pluralistic civil society development.”

Tooling around the site I also ran into this: The Internet in Russia: On The Eve of Great Changes, an IREX Internet project for Russia that chronicles the dramatic changes in the growth of the Internet in Russia from 1990-1999. This online history includes information collected from more than 200 sources and site addresses of leading commercial, educational, and noncommercial organizations. As explained at the IREX site, “Vast distances, compounded by the deteriorating infrastructure of existing mail, telephone, fax, and other traditional means of communication, make the Internet an ideal medium to overcome the historical isolation of Soviet scholars, students, and business people and increase communication among the emerging civil society.”

Iran’s PressTV

PRESS TV is the first international Iran-based news network to broadcast in English on a round-the-clock schedule. Based in Tehran and state-run, it is staffed by media professionals from around the world. On the website it describes its goal as “to present a deeper analysis of current affairs, aiming to show the other side of the story. ” It goes on to describe its larger vision as threefold: “to break the global media stranglehold of western outlets, to bridge cultural divisions pragmatically, and (three) to highlight the versatility and vitality of political and cultural differences, making up the human condition.” The site features news articles and the opportunity to watch live coverage.