Tag Archives: Media Studies

  • March Round-Up

    Highlights from the month of March.

    Awards:

    Conferences:

    • Mark Thompson, acquisitions editor, represented the press at the annual meeting of the Society of Cinema and Media Studies.
    • Natalie Fingerhut (acquisitions editor) and Suzanne Rancourt (executive editor) attended the annual conference of the Renaissance Society of America in New Orleans, LA.

    Media Highlights:

    New Releases:

  • Crisis Communication in Canada

    To mark the publication this fall of Crisis Communication in Canada, author Duncan Koerber reflects on how crisis management and communication have changed in the digital age. He also comments on the importance for Canadian students of having Canadian content that they can relate to when studying crises in the media. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, his commentary on the Jian Ghomeshi case is especially relevant.

    For Instructors: To request an exam copy of Crisis Communication in Canada for an upcoming course, send us an email at requests@utphighereducation.com.

    When I was in the middle of writing my new book, Crisis Communication in Canada, a major public crisis hit a famous radio host. Being one of the first major social media crises in Canadian history, it was the perfect case study for the book. The person in crisis was CBC radio host, author, and celebrity Jian Ghomeshi.

    I followed the case from the first news to Ghomeshi’s infamous Facebook post to the post-mortem accounts of Ghomeshi’s trial, in which he was found not guilty of sexual assault. Ghomeshi’s case was interesting because while he was eventually acquitted, it represented the downfall of a favourite son who failed in his crisis communication—an excellent lesson for students.

    When I started teaching crisis communication in 2011, I could find only a handful of scholarly cases with a Canadian angle. What issues were uniquely Canadian in this field? I wasn’t sure. This meant my students were reading about Tiger Woods’ domestic assault, the Chicago Tylenol case, and the faux pas of southern US politician Strom Thurmond. But in every class, students brought in uniquely Canadian cases for discussion and debate. Crisis Communication in Canada brings together and emphasizes the study of these Canadian cases to help students work through what went right and wrong, with an eye on our own Canadian issues.

    The Ghomeshi case also speaks to an important thread in my book about social media, which is a growing topic of analysis in the field. After years of studying crisis communication, I argue in the book that the social media crisis could be the defining type of our time. I show how these crises develop and how to use social media in prevention and response.

    That’s why the early chapters focus first on just what a crisis is—if a student doesn’t know what a crisis is, he or she can’t prevent or respond to it, after all. In the past, crises tended to be defined as large events that disrupted corporations (product failures, oil spills, employee violence) or damaged cities (hurricanes, earthquakes, emergencies). Now, in addition to these crises, we seem to have an abundance of new crises rooted in words posted online. That is, many people, famous or not, write the wrong things on Twitter, and they lose their livelihoods or even face violent retribution. But who decides what is wrong? Mediated communities with certain values. Crisis Communication in Canada provides students with the theoretical background to think more broadly about crises occurring in our Digital Age.

    The book also critiques common crisis communication tactics. Jian Ghomeshi tried to use digital communication—a Facebook post right at the start of his crisis—to explain his side of the story. He said the anonymous woman who charged him with sexual assault was a jilted ex-lover. But his public post, shared by thousands, opened up the possibility of counter-narratives through Facebook and Twitter and blogs.

    People immediately countered Ghomeshi’s story, and this made the crisis far worse for him. Getting ahead of the narrative, as the Ghomeshi case showed, doesn’t always work in this hyper-mediated world where other voices can provide a strong counterpoint. This kind of analysis in Crisis Communication in Canada helps students question common wisdom—such as “one should always get ahead of the narrative”—and build new crisis communication theory in the process.

    Duncan Koerber has taught media studies, communication theory, and writing at a number of universities in the Toronto area. His articles on media and journalism history, writing studies, and crisis communication have appeared in a number of journals including the Canadian Journal of Communication, Public Relations Review, the Journal of Canadian Studies, Journalism History, and the Canadian Journal of Media Studies.

  • Remembering Marshall McLuhan

    Last week marked the birthday of Marshall McLuhan, who would have turned 106 on July 21st. Marshall McLuhan was a famous media theorist who was born in Alberta and spent most of his professional career as a professor at the University of Toronto.

    To celebrate his life and to learn more about him and his works, we invite you to read these University of Toronto Press books – the first is a famous work by McLuhan himself, the others, studies of McLuhan and his works.

    C150-McLuhan_GutenbergGalaxyThe Gutenberg Galaxy

    By Marshall McLuhan

    The Gutenberg Galaxy catapulted Marshall McLuhan to fame as a media theorist and, in time, a new media prognosticator. Fifty years after its initial publication, this landmark text is more significant than ever before.

    Readers will be amazed by McLuhan’s prescience, unmatched by anyone since, predicting as he did the dramatic technological innovations that have fundamentally changed how we communicate. The Gutenberg Galaxy foresaw the networked, compressed ‘global village’ that would emerge in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries — despite having been written when black-and-white television was ubiquitous.

    This new edition of The Gutenberg Galaxy celebrates both the centennial of McLuhan’s birth and the fifty-year anniversary of the book’s publication. A new interior design updates The Gutenberg Galaxy for twenty-first-century readers, while honouring the innovative, avant-garde spirit of the original. This edition also includes new introductory essays that illuminate McLuhan’s lasting effect on a variety of scholarly fields and popular culture.

    A must-read for those who inhabit today’s global village, The Gutenberg Galaxy is an indispensable road map for our evolving communication landscape.

    Powe (4506) cover 02.inddMarshall Mcluhan and Northrop Frye: Apocalypse and Alchemy

    By B.W. Powe

    Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye are two of Canada’s central cultural figures, colleagues and rivals whose careers unfolded in curious harmony even as their intellectual engagement was antagonistic. Poet, novelist, essayist and philosopher B.W. Powe, who studied with both of these formidable and influential intellectuals, presents an exploration of their lives and work in Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye: Apocalypse and Alchemy.

    Powe considers the existence of a unique visionary tradition of Canadian humanism and argues that McLuhan and Frye represent fraught but complementary approaches to the study of literature and to the broader engagement with culture. Examining their eloquent but often acid responses to each other, Powe exposes the scholarly controversies and personal conflicts that erupted between them, and notably the great commonalities in their writing and biographies. Using interviews, letters, notebooks, and their published texts, Powe offers a new alchemy of their thought, in which he combines the philosophical hallmarks of McLuhan’s “The medium is the message” and Frye’s “the great code.”

    Lamberti_MarshallMcLuhansMosaicMarshall Mcluhan's Mosaic: Probing the Literary Origins of Media Studies

    By Elena Lamberti

    One hundred years after Marshall McLuhan’s birth, Elena Lamberti explores a fundamental, yet neglected aspect of his work: the solid humanistic roots of his original ‘mosaic’ form of writing. In this investigation of how his famous communication theories were influenced by literature and the arts, Lamberti proposes a new approach to McLuhan’s thought.

    Lamberti delves into McLuhan’s humanism in light of his work on media and culture, exploring how he began to perceive literature not just as a subject, but a ‘function inseparable from communal existence.’ Lamberti pays particular attention to the central role played by Modernism in the making of his theories, including the writings of Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Wyndham Lewis. Reconnecting McLuhan with his literary past, Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic is a demonstration of one of his greatest ideas: that literature not only matters, but can help us understand the hidden patterns that rule our environment.

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