Tuesday, October 30, 2012

National Print Media Transition

            This blog post is using the current transition in news media to present the divisions within a community’s accessibility to media sources. As of Wednesday, Oct 6th the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper print publication is only three days a week. [1] This was due to the news organization’s economic conditions and a transition to increase frequent internet access of daily news.
            I referenced the anticipated cut backs of the print edition of the Times-Picayune newspaper in my Tuesday, June 26, 2012 Local and National Print Media Observation blog post. In my recent research for up to date enews articles reporting on the “digital transition,” I have come across an article, The Fight to Save The Times-Picayune, posted on the Best of New Orleans website that highlights the summer protest to save a daily “printed” paper for the city of New Orleans. The article mentions the social media internet sites and rallies used in attempts to save the Times-Picayune and to support the laid off staff of the paper.[2]  
            The article outlines a possible insight of how the newspaper owners, Newhouse Media, planned to implement change with a model that was tested on other city newspaper organizations they owned. Since the model “worked” for the Ann Arbor News in Michigan with no community outrage against the three-day a week print version newspaper, the template was adapted for the other Newhouse Media papers, including the Times-Picayune.[3]
            I wanted to acknowledge this template concept, which tends to be considered for any national newspaper. The first city to test the template was Ann Arbor, Michigan, which obviously has different demographics than the city of New Orleans. My own observation from the articles and following past articles of the New Orleans Hurricane Katrina event in 2005, is that the New Orleans community’s experience with a print version of a newspaper should have been considered more carefully by the Newhouse Media. During the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina, the staff of the Times-Picayune not only followed through with local investigative news reporting, they supplied a local print version of the newspaper, bringing facts to the devastated community.[4] This print media object, the newspaper, was a symbol for a continual daily routine in a time of need for the city and it’s residence. 
            The Fight to Save The Times-Picayune article has an absence of mentioning a certain portion of the New Orleans community, the residents who do not have regular internet access. This portion of the community was mentioned in the earlier articles I refer to in my June 26th blog posting that referenced lower income and older citizens who would have limited access to local news within the transition.[5]  Websites and social media networks are presented in the article as part of the process to protest the transition of the newspaper, but no alternative ideas are presented for those citizens in the community to gain access to local news.
            The internet provides the availability of information for individuals in the community beyond a news organization’s website. The internet company Google has begun a program to offer lower income areas internet access. The sign ups have started in Kansas City, Missouri. A New York Times articles states, “Convincing residents of the importance of Internet access — to apply for jobs, do research, take classes and get information on government services — was one of Google’s primary challenges here.”[6] These challenges and understanding of a community’s past and present social, political, and cultural environment are instrumental in the process of overcoming the “digital divide.” To find out further details of bridging the digital divide in Kansas City, KC Currents hosted a roundtable discussion for their area. This discussion highlights the library’s role within the community and the strengths of the Google Fibers program as well as the future unknowns of the distribution of digital media. 
             The digital divide is on of the many elements that contribute in the current transition of print media culture to digital. The Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper has listened to the a portion of the New Orleans community who voiced a need for a daily print paper and started to print a daily edition in New Orleans.[7] The service from another news organization fulfils the void for residents who do not have regular internet access to the local news. There are still absences present within the New Orleans community for future accommodations or initiating alternative means for internet access.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Print Object Observation

Newspaper Coupon
            A coupon that was collected from a recent postal mail circular that contained local area retailers’ savings coupons is the subject for the print object observation. The coupon represents two aspects of print media culture. The first is very obvious; it is a print media coupon. The second is the content of the coupon that is a discounted price for the local Sunday paper.
            A local delicatessen is offering a $1.01 savings from the $3.00 price of a Sunday paper. The coupon displays a reminder in a blue circle graphic, “Don’t Pay More!!” Besides the graphic being an implied marketing ploy, the statement is a reminder of the recent newspaper price increase.
            For this week, I consider this coupon an interesting find for my coupon collection. This print media coupon presents a discounting method for another form of print media culture (newspapers) and demonstrates an act to keep print media consumption happening during the transition of medias and the current US economic conditions.    

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Art and Anthropology Projects

           Today on RadioTimes with Marty Moss-Coane there was an hour radio program devoted to the meaning of objects (stuff) in everyday living. I am sharing this radio program as an example of cross disciplinary research of objects, while using a form of visual medium to present the project’s concepts. Marty discussed the topic with two gentlemen who are integrating this concept of material culture with their current projects in relation to art and anthropology.
            A photographer, Foster Huntington, and an anthropologist, Anthony Graesch, are both implying a form of ethnography, while using different methods to interact with their subject matter (people in relation to their objects). Foster Huntington uses social media, a blog, to initiate a dialog along with people submitting visual and written information on their objects. Foster begins the dialog with a posed question, “If your house was on fire, what would you grab as you ran out the door?”
The submitted information is categorized and presents the person's objects as priceless possessions.
 To view the variety of objects visit The Burning House blog.
            Anthony Graesch followed 32 families in the Los Angeles, CA area. His co-authored book, Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century, is a visual ethnography concerning present day relationships that are formed with accumulation of objects.  For a summary of Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century visit ISBNdb.com
            Visit whyy.org to listen to more details on each of the projects.