Archive for December, 2010

Happy Holidays: Reflections on 2010

As 2010 winds to a close, one can’t help but reflect on the many great people and events that have marked the past year in the Diederich College of Communication.

And what an eventful year it’s been for the College!

There were the departures of Associate Dean Gary Meyer and Assistant Dean Rose Richard, the appointments of Dr. Joyce Wolburg and Dr. Erik Ugland to fill the roles of Associate Dean and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research (respectively), and the arrival of our new Assistant Dean Chioma Ugochukwu.

There’s the ongoing Centennial of Journalism celebration with events such as our September kickoff party at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the student-produced Centennial Seminars program, and the launch of a new website dedicated to the past, present and future of our journalism program.

In June, our Urban Journalism Workshop celebrated its 25th anniversary (and continues to keep going strong).

We hosted numerous inspirational guest speakers, such as free press advocates Robert McChesney and John Nichols, host of the PBS NewsHour Gwen Ifill and acclaimed journalist Lisa Ling.

And of course, there were the renovations in Johnston Hall that have brought us the new elevator and the opening of the incredible JPad student lounge.

Thanks to all our readers and contributors for a great first year. Look for new posts when we resume in January. Until then, happy holidays!

Wikileaks: A Journalist’s Perspective

By Steve Byers

It’s interesting that the best discussion of the implications of the Wikileaks situation from the point of view of freedom of the press that I’ve seen so far comes from German site Spiegel Online.

Spiegel Online’s Thomas Darnstadt argues that press freedom has come under attack ever since 9/11 and that “the U.S. government has transformed itself into a huge security apparatus.” He makes a strong case for fighting back in the article titled “Is Treason a Civic Duty?”

Press freedom is vital, he argues, and this essay will cause the reader to question current assumptions.

Steve Byers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.

Like It or Not: Facebook’s “Like” Button Causes Users to Question Online Privacy

By Lauren Haberkorn

A few months back, Facebook introduced the new “Like” button. Since the launch of that seemingly simple and fun addition to Facebook, users have been “liking” their favorite things and presumably enjoying this fun new button!

It turns out, however, that websites and corporations may actually be the ones liking the “Like” button most of all. Since its launch, nearly two million websites have added the small icon with a picture of a “thumbs up” to their webpages. Not only can you “like” a friend’s status update, photo albums and wall posts; you can also “like” that Christmas dress from your favorite store, a particular article from the New York Times, or the new gadget that you want for Christmas. The “Like” button is now popping up all over retail websites, company homepages, and gossip blogs. With just one click, you can simply say you “like” whatever it is you’re viewing.

It seems so simple. But what happens next? Of course we know our profile and news feed reflect our newly found “like,” but does the owner of the webpage that we “liked” gain access to our personal information and information about our friends? The answer does not seem so clear… Continue reading ‘Like It or Not: Facebook’s “Like” Button Causes Users to Question Online Privacy’

Painting with Pixels: Artists Embrace iPad as Creative Tool

By Jennifer Janviere

Ever since its launch early this year, the iPad has been lauded as a breakthrough in digital content delivery technology. Now it seems that the revolutionary device is quickly taking on a new role: that of creative conduit.

The champion of this movement (or at least the most famous spokesperson currently) is British artist David Hockney, a longstanding and influential member of the world art community.  The 72 year-old artist has been known throughout his career for embracing technology and combining old techniques with new media. Hockney recently adopted the iPhone as his new sketchbook, and soon afterward transitioned to the iPad due to its larger display screen. Using the “Brushes” app, Hockney simulates finger painting on the device’s screen. In the few months since he began using the iPad as a canvas, the artist has created a collection of hundreds of digital paintings.

Hockney attributes his fascination with creating art on the iPad to its tactile user experience. He has even admitted to becoming so caught up in the digital painting process that he occasionally catches himself wiping “paint” from his hands, forgetting that he’s actually painting with pixels.

A show of David Hockney’s iPad-produced digital paintings titled “Fresh Flowers” is currently on display at the Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris until the end of January 2011. His glowing, back-lit images have been compared to stained glass in appearance.

From this writer’s perspective, it’s exciting to witness the creative community beginning to embrace new media and technology as vehicle for expression. While digital art has been around for awhile, the media still holds many untapped possibilities. I’d like to believe that we’re at the forefront of a movement that makes the process of artistic creation more accessible and approachable to the general public, while opening up new ways to create and display work. As respected figures like Hockney embrace such versatile devices for artistic exploration, hopefully many others will follow.

View images from Hockney’s digital art show online at Pocket-Lint.com

Jennifer Janviere is a multimedia specialist and instructor in the Diederich College of Communication.

A Case Against Internet Advertising

By Steve Byers

For years, I’ve been asking politely to see evidence that Internet advertising works. I’ve watched advertising dollars race away from mainstream media to whatever new digital platform seems hottest at any moment. But I’ve always wondered if it works.

In part, that comes from my own experience with finding a new travel location. The beach that I’ve used in recent years has lost its appeal since the latest hurricane attack, so I’m searching for another. Used to be, travel sections were filled with great advertising making me think of this alternative or that. Today’s travel sections are filled with… nothing. Where has the travel advertising money gone, I ask. Why to the Internet where it is targeted, I’m told.

Well I spend much of my life on the Internet, and I am actively seeking travel ideas, and newspaper and magazine advertising guided me repeatedly in the past. Not so today.

I’ve even seen signs that some of the more savvy marketers—autos and financial areas—seem to be shifting back into print while beverage and pharmaceutical advertising never really left. Full page newspaper ads suddenly are appearing again.

Finally some data seeps through: Americans ignore Internet advertising in record numbers. They ignore other forms as well, but not nearly as much as they ignore Internet advertising. Except for product-specific clickthrough ads (where consumers know exactly what they want), what Internet advertising seems to have going for it is that it’s cheap.  So is television at 3 a.m.  You get what you pay for.

Steve Byers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.

Social Media? Not in My Life.

By Danielle Kuhman

FACEBOOK ICONWhen the topic of social networking comes up, people seem shocked when I say I don’t have a Facebook. Responses are usually quite similar, ranging from “What do you mean you don’t have a Facebook?” to “How are you even alive?!”

O.M.G.

See, I used to have a Facebook profile. I did for over three years. And while it provided me with hours of stalking, an occasional haul on the ol’ plantation during ‘Farmville,’ and the occasional Chinese food prize money I won from Food Frenzy, I found myself being more annoyed and upset after being on the site than I had before. Besides the fact that it’s a complete time-sucker (not good for someone in six classes, two internships, and a 20 hour/week part-time job), it often made me dislike the people I was around in my daily life. I know you can choose who you’re ‘friends’ with, but after surfing my home page and going from one person’s profile to the next, the only thing I gained was disappointment.

• I would realize I was kind of lame for not going out last Friday night as I looked at people’s party pictures.
• I could see that the hot guy I’d been crushing on was, in fact, still ‘in a relationship.’
• I realized updating my status would just be telling a bunch of people (who really couldn’t care less what I was doing) every next move I was going  to make.

I’ve always been big on privacy and personal space. After a drama filled summer that saw a lot of rumors fly my way, I realized that by cutting myself off to the websites that only provoked negative thoughts it would be the easiest way to rid myself of having to deal with it. Continue reading ‘Social Media? Not in My Life.’