Week of April 2: News and Sound Media

Welcome back from Spring Break! We’ve had a good, busy week of discussions about news, the role of the media in our democracy, and the radio and music industries.

During our discussion of news, we did an activity to demonstrate to you firsthand the constructed nature of news. I showed you a front page from The Oregonian that you worked to fill with the news you thought most important. That front page came from Today’s Front Pages, which daily posts PDFs of newspaper front pages from around the world. If you like to follow the news, it’s a fun way to see how different news organizations decide to cover similar stories — especially around major world events.

We also watched this brief TED talk by Alisa Miller that reveals the U.S.-centric nature of our news.

We looked at the flow of information through social media and questioned whether a “social media effect” might be supplementing or replacing the “CNN effect” that has been observed in the past with regard to bringing the public’s attention to major world events. You can read more about the analysis of the spread of the Kony 2012 campaign that we examined.

This video from the documentary “Outfoxed” demonstrates a weakness of some news coverage that fails to attribute information and opinions to specific sources, leading to a limited “frame” of the events that are being reported.

During our class discussion of the music industry, we didn’t have time to watch all of the relevant videos because we also needed time to prepare for our guest speaker. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out these clips, which will expand and deepen your knowledge of the topics we discussed.

This video addresses the role of the major music companies in determining which music becomes popular.

If you’re very interested in the music business, this long video explains a great deal about the role of A&R in the industry. The entire series from this channel on YouTube will be useful for those of you who want to get into music.

If you’d like to learn more about FDR’s Fireside Chats, they’re all online for your reading and/or listening pleasure.

You can learn more about the radio industry and its use of Arbitron data to refine radio content by perusing Arbitron’s own site and reports.

And, finally, we learned about the growing role of mobile music apps and the competition they present for traditional radio, as demonstrated in this video:

Next week, we’ll have a special Skype guest speaker from CNN, and will look at the television industry in more detail.

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