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America’s Shifting Statehouse Press: Can New Players Compensate for Lost Legacy Reporters?

July 30, 2014 Comments off

America’s Shifting Statehouse Press: Can New Players Compensate for Lost Legacy Reporters?
Source: Pew Research Journalism Project

Within America’s 50 state capitol buildings, 1,592 journalists inform the public about the actions and issues of state government, according to new data from the Pew Research Center.

Of those statehouse reporters, nearly half (741) are assigned there full time. While that averages out to 15 full-time reporters per state, the actual number varies widely—from a high of 53 in Texas to just two in South Dakota. The remaining 851 statehouse reporters cover the beat less than full time.

In this study, statehouse reporters are defined as those physically assigned to the capitol building to cover the news there, from legislative activity to the governor’s office to individual state agencies.

Newspaper reporters constitute the largest segment of both the total statehouse news corps (38%) and the full-time group (43%). But the data indicate that their full-time numbers have fallen considerably in recent years, raising concerns about the depth and quality of news coverage about state government.

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Report Finds NSA Surveillance Harming Journalism and Law

July 29, 2014 Comments off

Report Finds NSA Surveillance Harming Journalism and Law
Source: ACLU and Human Rights Watch

Large-scale U.S. surveillance is seriously hampering U.S.-based journalists and lawyers in their work, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today. Surveillance is undermining media freedom and the right to counsel, and ultimately obstructing the American people’s ability to hold their government to account, the groups said.

The 120-page report, “With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale U.S. Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy,” is based on extensive interviews with dozens of journalists, lawyers, and senior U.S. government officials. It documents how national security journalists and lawyers are adopting elaborate steps or otherwise modifying their practices to keep communications, sources, and other confidential information secure in light of revelations of unprecedented U.S. government surveillance of electronic communications and transactions. The report finds that government surveillance and secrecy are undermining press freedom, the public’s right to information, and the right to counsel, all human rights essential to a healthy democracy.

New From the GAO

July 28, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Railroad Retirement Board: Total and Permanent Disability Program at Risk of Improper Payments. GAO-14-418,June 26.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-418
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664467.pdf

2. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Opportunity Exists to Improve Transparency of Civil Penalty Fund Activities. GAO-14-551, June 26.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-551
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664452.pdf

3. Drinking Water: EPA Program to Protect Underground Sources from Injection of Fluids Associated With Oil and Gas Production Needs Improvement. GAO-14-555, June 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-555
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664500.pdf

4. Media Ownership: FCC Should Review the Effects of Broadcaster Agreements on Its Media Policy Goals. GAO-14-558, June 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-558
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664485.pdf

5. Security Clearances: Tax Debts Owed by DOD Employees and Contractors. GAO-14-686R, July 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-686R

Guidelines for Digital Newspaper Preservation Readiness

July 25, 2014 Comments off

Guidelines for Digital Newspaper Preservation Readiness
Source: Educopia Institute

Libraries and other cultural memory organizations curate a substantial body of digital newspaper content. The genesis of these collections is often a series of iterative and cumulative digitization and born-digital acquisitions with idiosyncratic and ad-hoc data storage structures that vary radically in their file types, structures, and metadata. These institutions have limited resources to expend on the normalization or restructuring of their legacy digital content.

The NEH-funded Chronicles in Preservation project has produced a set of Guidelines that explicitly differentiate between the essential and the optimal in preservation readiness activities and that document the incremental steps that institutions may take to move from the essential to the optimal level of preservation readiness for their digital newspapers.

If institutions believe that they are incapable of readying their content for preservation according to emerging standards and guidelines, they may not take any action at all. If they instead can engage in an incremental process that allows them to begin preserving content now, while slowly and steadily building toward an optimal level of preservation readiness, they will be more likely to participate in preservation activities now.

Associations between Film Preferences and Risk Factors for Suicide: An Online Survey

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Associations between Film Preferences and Risk Factors for Suicide: An Online Survey
Source: PLoS ONE

Several studies indicate that exposure to suicide in movies is linked to subsequent imitative suicidal behavior, so-called copycat suicides, but little is currently known about whether the link between exposure to suicidal movies and suicidality is reflected in individual film preferences. 943 individuals participated in an online survey. We assessed associations between preferred film genres as well as individual exposure to and rating of 50 pre-selected films (including 25 featuring a suicide) with suicidal ideation, hopelessness, depression, life satisfaction, and psychoticism. Multiple regression analyses showed that preferences for film noir movies and milieu dramas were associated with higher scores on suicidal ideation, depression and psychoticism, and low scores on life satisfaction. Furthermore, preferences for thrillers and horror movies as well as preferences for tragicomedies, tragedies and melodramas were associated with higher scores of some of the suicide risk factors. There was also a dose-response relationship between positive rating of suicide films and higher life satisfaction. Due to the cross-sectional design of the study causality cannot be assessed. Individual film genre preferences seem to reflect risk factors of suicide, with film genres focusing on sad contents being preferred by individuals with higher scores on suicide risk factors. However, suicide movies are more enjoyed by viewers with higher life satisfaction, which may reflect a better ability to cope with such content.

Birth, life and death of an app: A look at the Apple App Store in July 2014

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Birth, life and death of an app: A look at the Apple App Store in July 2014 (PDF)
Source: adjust

As the App Store and the apps within it mature, more than ever it becomes essential for marketers to look at new techniques to re-engage existing users and get ROI. This report shows the development of the App Store and highlights the critical need for marketers to engage key audiences for ensuring the longevity of their app.

Currently, there are 1,252,777 apps available in the App Store, and as many as 60 thousand apps are added per month – and this rate is itself growing.

In 2013, 453,902 new apps were released in the Apple App Store, exceeding adjust’s prediction of over 435,100 new apps by 4 percent. Almost 15 percent of apps in the store were removed during the year, which adjust labels as “Dead Apps”, due to violating App Store terms and conditions or voluntarily pulled down by developers, leaving 396,341 available apps with a release date in 2013.

Over the next year we predict 578 thousand new apps will enter the App Store (by 1 July 2015).

Cable is King but Streaming Stands Strong When it Comes to Americans’ TV Viewing Habits

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Cable is King but Streaming Stands Strong When it Comes to Americans’ TV Viewing Habits (PDF)
Source: Harris Interactive

Do you still call it “watching TV” when you’re not actually using a TV to do it? That’s a question that may be coming up more and more today, given the increasing use of streaming as a viewership option. While over three-fourths of U.S. adults (77%) say they regularly watch television shows via either cable (55%) or satellite TV (23%), over four in ten say they regularly watch via streaming (43%) including two-thirds of Millennials (67%).

What’s more, streaming seems to be slowly gaining ground on more traditional modes when it comes to the ways Americans most often watch television programs (though it’s in no danger of overtaking them in the immediate future). At 85%, the percentage of Americans saying they most often watch TV on, well, a TV (live feed, recorded or on demand), sans streaming, is down from 89% in 2012. Streaming, meanwhile, is up from 20% in 2012 to 23% today. This preferential shift is strongest when looking at Millennials, among whom nonstreaming TV preference has declined from 77% to 68% while streaming preference has grown from 41% to 47%.

AU — The arts and culture: a quick guide to key internet links

July 22, 2014 Comments off

The arts and culture: a quick guide to key internet links
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This Quick Guide provides links to:

  • Australian Government organisations responsible for the arts and culture
  • state and territory government websites
  • regional arts websites
  • non-government organisations websites and
  • international organisations.

It also provides links to a range of organisations by art form:

  • ballet and dance
  • film
  • libraries
  • literature
  • museums and galleries
  • music and opera
  • performing arts education
  • theatre and
  • visual arts.

Ofcom has today published research on consumer attitudes and trends in violence shown on UK TV programmes

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Ofcom has today published research on consumer attitudes and trends in violence shown on UK TV programmes
Source: Ofcom

Ofcom has today published research on consumer attitudes and trends in violence shown on UK TV programmes.

The research supports Ofcom in its role in protecting TV viewers, especially children. It looks at how violence on TV has changed since Ofcom issued guidelines to broadcasters in 2011 to avoid programmes being shown before 9pm that might be unsuitable for children.

The research comprises two separate reports. The first study focused on public attitudes towards violence on TV among people from a range of ages and socio-economic groups.

The second was an analysis of four popular UK soap operas, which looked at instances of violence, or threats of violence, and people’s views on them.

TV Watching and Computer Use in U.S. Youth Aged 12–15, 2012

July 15, 2014 Comments off

TV Watching and Computer Use in U.S. Youth Aged 12–15, 2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey, 2012

  • Nearly all (98.5%) youth aged 12–15 reported watching TV daily.
  • More than 9 in 10 (91.1%) youth aged 12–15 reported using the computer daily outside of school.
  • In 2012, 27.0% of youth aged 12–15 had 2 hours or less of TV plus computer use daily.
  • Among youth aged 12–15, girls (80.4%) were more likely to use the computer 2 hours or less daily when compared with boys (69.4%).
  • Fewer non-Hispanic black youth aged 12–15 (53.4%) reported watching 2 hours or less of TV daily than non-Hispanic white (65.8%) and Hispanic (68.7%) youth.

Excessive screen-time behaviors, such as using a computer and watching TV, for more than 2 hours daily have been linked with elevated blood pressure, elevated serum cholesterol, and being overweight or obese among youth (1–3). Additionally, screen-time behavior established in adolescence has been shown to track into adulthood (4). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-supported Expert Panel and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children limit leisure screen time to 2 hours or less daily (5,6). This report presents national estimates of TV watching and computer use outside of the school day.

CRS — Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate (updated)

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

As congressional policy makers continue to debate telecommunications reform, a major point of contention is the question of whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet. The move to place restrictions on the owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the Internet, to ensure equal access and non-discriminatory treatment, is referred to as “net neutrality.” While there is no single accepted definition of “net neutrality,” most agree that any such definition should include the general principles that owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the Internet should not control how consumers lawfully use that network, and they should not be able to discriminate against content provider access to that network.

A major focus in the debate is concern over whether it is necessary for policy makers to take steps to ensure access to the Internet for content, services, and applications providers, as well as consumers, and if so, what these steps should be. Some policy makers contend that more specific regulatory guidelines may be necessary to protect the marketplace from potential abuses which could threaten the net neutrality concept. Others contend that existing laws and policies are sufficient to deal with potential anti-competitive behavior and that additional regulations would have negative effects on the expansion and future development of the Internet.

LGBT Parents on American Television

July 3, 2014 Comments off

LGBT Parents on American Television
Source: University of Southern Mississippi (Kahn)

Television is an ever changing medium used in mass communication, and people often rely on this medium for knowledge about different subjects. This study demonstrates how television depictions of marginalized groups can change over time. Focusing specifically on a subset of the LGBT community – parents – this study documents the evolution of LGBT parents on American television. A total of 14 television shows were selected for a qualitative analysis. The parents depicted in these shows were analyzed according to gender, race, class and sexuality. The results were then summarized and put into historical context. This study contributes to the fields of both media research and queer studies.

News consumption in the UK – 2014 report

June 26, 2014 Comments off

News consumption in the UK – 2014 report
Source: Ofcom

This summary report provides key findings from Ofcom’s 2014 research into news consumption across the four main platforms: television, radio, print and online, and highlights where these have changed since 2013. Further detailed information is available in the chart pack which accompanies the document. It is published as part of our market research range of publications that examine the consumption of content and attitudes towards that content on different platforms. The aim of this report is to inform an understanding of news consumption across the UK, and within each UK nation.

The report details various findings relating to the consumption of news; the sources and platforms used, the perceived importance of different platforms and outlets for news, attitudes to individual news sources, the definition of news and interest in topics, and an overview of local media consumption. It provides details of our cross-platform news consumption metric – ‘share of references’. The report also compares findings related to news consumption with those from 2013, where possible.

Journal of Communication — Special Issue — Big Data in Communication Research

June 25, 2014 Comments off

Big Data in Communication Research
Source: Journal of Communication
From Afterword:

I had two goals in mind when I decided to dedicate a special issue of the Journal of Communication to “Big Data.” One was to provide an outlet for the growing number of excellent Big Data studies on mass communication, digital technologies, political communication, health communication, and many other areas of interest to our discipline. My focus was on empirical papers that made substantive contributions using new methods, rather than on explanations, endorsements, or critiques of the Big Data movement. The goal was to showcase the state of the art in recent research in computational communication science.

My second goal was to provide a benchmark for research innovation. Big Data research is still in its infancy in communication. Relatively little of the work done in this early stage will stand the test of time, but all of it will likely be critical in the on going process of conceptual and methodological advance. The articles featured in this issue represent the best of what is currently being done. Their strengths will guide future work, but so, too, will their limitations.

Just Released — Supreme Court decision — American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc.

June 25, 2014 Comments off

American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc.
Source: U.S. Supreme Court

The Copyright Act of 1976 gives a copyright owner the “exclusive righ[t]” to “perform the copyrighted work publicly.” 17 U. S. C. §106(4). The Act’s Transmit Clause defines that exclusive right to include the right to “transmit or otherwise communicate a performance . . . of the [copyrighted] work . . . to the public, by means of any deviceor process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance . . . receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.” §101.

Respondent Aereo, Inc., sells a service that allows its subscribers towatch television programs over the Internet at about the same timeas the programs are broadcast over the air. When a subscriber wants to watch a show that is currently airing, he selects the show from a menu on Aereo’s website. Aereo’s system, which consists of thousands of small antennas and other equipment housed in a centralized warehouse, responds roughly as follows: A server tunes an antenna, which is dedicated to the use of one subscriber alone, to the broadcast carrying the selected show. A transcoder translates the signals received by the antenna into data that can be transmitted over the Internet. A server saves the data in a subscriber-specific folder onAereo’s hard drive and begins streaming the show to the subscriber’sscreen once several seconds of programming have been saved. The streaming continues, a few seconds behind the over-the-air broadcast, until the subscriber has received the entire show.

Petitioners, who are television producers, marketers, distributors,and broadcasters that own the copyrights in many of the programs that Aereo streams, sued Aereo for copyright infringement. Theysought a preliminary injunction, arguing that Aereo was infringing their right to “perform” their copyrighted works “publicly.” The District Court denied the preliminary injunction, and the Second Circuit affirmed.

Held: Aereo performs petitioners’ works publicly within the meaning of the Transmit Clause. Pp. 4–18.

Accenture Digital Consumer Survey for Communications, Media and Technology (CMT)

June 24, 2014 Comments off

Accenture Digital Consumer Survey for Communications, Media and Technology (CMT)
Source: Accenture

The 2014 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey is based on interviews with 23,000 Internet consumers in 23 mature and growth markets around the world. The interviews covered a representative sample of the online population aged 14 and up, of which 54% were male and 46% female.

The survey covers a wide range of topics relevant for Communications, Media and Technology companies.

  • Devices
  • Evolving media consumption
  • Superplatforms
  • The Internet of things
  • Democratization of creation
  • Constrained broadband
  • Brand experience
  • Brand growth
  • Trust
  • Price and perceived value
  • Propensity to pay for content
  • Channel

American Time Use Survey — 2013 Results

June 24, 2014 Comments off

American Time Use Survey — 2013 Results
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

On an average day in 2013, employed adults living in households with no children under age 18 engaged in leisure activities for 4.5 hours, about an hour more than employed adults living with a child under age 6, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Nearly everyone age 15 and over (95 percent) engaged in some sort of leisure activity, such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising.

Journal of Communication — Special Issue — Expanding the Boundaries of Entertainment Research

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Expanding the Boundaries of Entertainment Research
Source: Journal of Communication
From Introduction:

This Special Issue of the Journal of Communication grew out of an appreciation of the development and expansion of entertainment scholarship that has built upon the insights provided by foundational theories. We believed that the time was ripe to take stock of the diversity of ways that researchers are pushing the boundaries of media theory that illuminate the breadth of entertainment’s reach in almost all facets of our media-saturated lives. It was our hope that by gathering together some of the most recent and insightful scholarship, we could provide a road map for future scholars who are interested in our continued efforts to broaden our understanding of entertainment experiences.

Rising Tides or Rising Stars?: Dynamics of Shared Attention on Twitter during Media Events

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Rising Tides or Rising Stars?: Dynamics of Shared Attention on Twitter during Media Events
Source: PLoS ONE

“Media events” generate conditions of shared attention as many users simultaneously tune in with the dual screens of broadcast and social media to view and participate. We examine how collective patterns of user behavior under conditions of shared attention are distinct from other “bursts” of activity like breaking news events. Using 290 million tweets from a panel of 193,532 politically active Twitter users, we compare features of their behavior during eight major events during the 2012 U.S. presidential election to examine how patterns of social media use change during these media events compared to “typical” time and whether these changes are attributable to shifts in the behavior of the population as a whole or shifts from particular segments such as elites. Compared to baseline time periods, our findings reveal that media events not only generate large volumes of tweets, but they are also associated with (1) substantial declines in interpersonal communication, (2) more highly concentrated attention by replying to and retweeting particular users, and (3) elite users predominantly benefiting from this attention. These findings empirically demonstrate how bursts of activity on Twitter during media events significantly alter underlying social processes of interpersonal communication and social interaction. Because the behavior of large populations within socio-technical systems can change so dramatically, our findings suggest the need for further research about how social media responses to media events can be used to support collective sensemaking, to promote informed deliberation, and to remain resilient in the face of misinformation.

Newspapers Canada releases 8th annual National Freedom of Information Audit

June 18, 2014 Comments off

Newspapers Canada releases 8th annual National Freedom of Information Audit
Source: Newspapers Canada

Newspapers Canada released its 8th annual National Freedom of Information (FOI) Audit report on June 4, 2014. The 2013/2014 audit reviews the performance of Canadian governments and various public institutions with respect to their access to information regimes. As such, it provides the public with the opportunity to see the degree to which our governments are in compliance with their own FOI legislation, as well as facilitating comparisons among jurisdictions.

“The audit represents an important tool for asserting the public’s right to access government information,” says John Hinds, CEO of Newspapers Canada. “The results of this audit show that we’ve still got a long way to go before we really have a culture of openness and accountability around government data.”

This year’s study put special emphasis on asking for electronic data, to test governments’ commitment to the concept of open data. “We found that governments may boast about being open with their data, but they don’t always live up to that talk,” says Newspapers Canada’s Senior Advisor, Policy and Public Affairs Jason Grier. “Open data doesn’t really mean much if it’s only carefully manicured data, with anything interesting or newsworthy stripped out before the public has access.”

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