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Across the Waves
How the United States and France Shaped the International Age of Radio
Derek Vaillant
University of Illinois Press, 2017
In 1931, the United States and France embarked on a broadcasting partnership built around radio. Over time, the transatlantic sonic alliance came to personify and to shape American-French relations in an era of increased global media production and distribution.

Drawing on a broad range of American and French archives, Derek Vaillant joins textual and aural materials with original data analytics and maps to illuminate U.S.-French broadcasting's political and cultural development. Vaillant focuses on the period from 1931 until France dismantled its state media system in 1974. His analysis examines mobile actors, circulating programs, and shifting institutions that shaped international radio's use in times of war and peace. He explores the extraordinary achievements, the miscommunications and failures, and the limits of cooperation between America and France as they shaped a new media environment. Throughout, Vaillant explains how radio's power as an instantaneous mass communications tool produced, legitimized, and circulated various notions of states, cultures, ideologies, and peoples as superior or inferior.

A first comparative history of its subject, Across the Waves provocatively examines how different strategic agendas, aesthetic aims and technical systems shaped U.S.-French broadcasting and the cultural politics linking the United States and France.


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Bad News for Refugees
Greg Philo, Emma Briant, and Pauline Donald
Pluto Press, 2013

Bad News for Refugees analyses the political, economic and environmental contexts of migration and looks specifically at how refugees and asylum seekers have been stigmatised in political rhetoric and in media coverage.

Through forensic research it shows how hysterical and inaccurate media accounts act to legitimise political action which can have terrible consequences both on the lives of refugees and also on established migrant communities.

Based on new research by the renowned Glasgow Media Group, Bad News for Refugees is essential reading for those concerned with the negative effects of media on public understanding and for the safety of vulnerable groups and communities in our society.


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Bootlegging the Airwaves
Alternative Histories of Radio and Television Distribution
Eleanor Patterson
University of Illinois Press, 2024
How fan passion and technology merged into a new subculture

Long before internet archives and the anytime, anywhere convenience of streaming, people collected, traded, and shared radio and television content via informal networks that crisscrossed transnational boundaries.

Eleanor Patterson’s fascinating cultural history explores the distribution of radio and TV tapes from the 1960s through the 1980s. Looking at bootlegging against the backdrop of mass media’s formative years, Patterson delves into some of the major subcultures of the era. Old-time radio aficionados felt the impact of inexpensive audio recording equipment and the controversies surrounding programs like Amos ‘n’ Andy. Bootlegging communities devoted to buddy cop TV shows like Starsky and Hutch allowed women to articulate female pleasure and sexuality while Star Trek videos in Australia inspired a grassroots subculture built around community viewings of episodes. Tape trading also had a profound influence on creating an intellectual pro wrestling fandom that aided wrestling’s growth into an international sports entertainment industry.


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Branding Brazil
Transforming Citizenship on Screen
Leslie L. Marsh
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Branding Brazil examines a panorama of contemporary cultural productions including film, television, photography, and alternative media to explore the transformation of citizenship in Brazil from 2003 to 2014. A utopian impulse drove the reproduction of Brazilian cultural identity for local and global consumption; cultural production sought social and economic profits, especially greater inclusion of previously marginalized people and places. Marsh asserts that three communicative strategies from branding–promising progress, cultivating buy-in, and resolving contradictions–are the most salient and recurrent practices of nation branding during this historic period. More recent political crises can be understood partly in terms of backlash against marked social and political changes introduced during the branding period. Branding Brazil takes a multi-faceted approach, weaving media studies with politics and cinema studies to reveal that more than a marketing term or project emanating from the state, branding was a cultural phenomenon.

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The Brass Check
Upton Sinclair
University of Illinois Press, 2002
In this systematic critique of the structural basis of U.S. media -- arguably the first one ever published -- Upton Sinclair writes that “American journalism is a class institution serving the rich and spurning the poor.” Likening journalists to prostitutes, the title of the book refers to a chit that was issued to patrons of urban brothels of the era.
Fueled by mounting disdain for newspapers run by business tycoons and conservative editors, Sinclair self-published The Brass Check in the years after The Jungle had made him a household name. Despite Sinclair’s claim that this was his most important book, it was dismissed by critics and shunned by reviewers. Yet it sold over 150,000 copies and enjoyed numerous printings.
A substantial introduction to this paperback edition by Robert W. McChesney and Ben Scott asserts the book’s importance as a cornerstone critique of commercial journalism and a priceless resource for understanding the political turbulence of the Progressive Era.

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Broadcasting Hollywood
The Struggle over Feature Films on Early TV
Jennifer Porst
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Broadcasting Hollywood: The Struggle Over Feature Films on Early Television uses extensive archival research into the files of studios, networks, advertising agencies, unions and guilds, theatre associations, the FCC, and key legal cases to analyze the tensions and synergies between the film and television industries in the early years of television. This analysis of the case study of the struggle over Hollywood’s feature films appearing on television in the 1940s and 1950s illustrates that the notion of an industry misunderstands the complex array of stakeholders who work in and profit from a media sector, and models a variegated examination of the history of media industries. Ultimately, it draws a parallel to the contemporary period and the introduction of digital media to highlight the fact that history repeats itself and can therefore play a key role in helping media industry scholars and practitioners to understand and navigate contemporary industrial phenomena.

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Capitalism's Conscience
200 Years of the Guardian
Des Freedman
Pluto Press, 2021
'A lively and well-researched history and critique' - Jonathan Steele, former Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Guardian

Since its inception in Manchester in 1821 as a response to the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, the Guardian has been a key institution in the definition and development of liberalism. The stereotype of the 'Guardianista', an environmentally-conscious, Labour-voting, progressively-minded public sector worker endures in the popular mythology of British press history.

Yet the title has a complex lineage and occupies an equivocal position between capital and its opponents. It has both fiercely defended the need for fearless, independent journalism and handed over documents to the authorities; it has carved out a niche for itself in the UK media as a progressive voice but has also consistently diminished more radical projects on the left.

Published to coincide with its 200th anniversary, Capitalism's Conscience brings together historians, journalists and activists in an appraisal of the Guardian's contribution to British politics, society and culture - and its distinctive brand of centrism. Contextualising some of the main controversies in which the title has been implicated, the book offers timely insights into the publication's history, loyalties and political values.

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The Commercialization of News in the Nineteenth Century
Gerald J. Baldasty
University of Wisconsin Press, 1992

     The Commercialization of News in the Nineteenth Century traces the major transformation of newspapers from a politically based press to a commercially based press in the nineteenth century.  Gerald J. Baldasty argues that broad changes in American society, the national economy, and the newspaper industry brought about this dramatic shift.
     Increasingly in the nineteenth century, news became a commodity valued more for its profitablility than for its role in informing or persuading the public on political issues.  Newspapers started out as highly partisan adjuncts of political parties.  As advertisers replaced political parties as the chief financial support of the press, they influenced newspapers in directing their content toward consumers, especially women.  The results were recipes, fiction, contests, and features on everything from sports to fashion alongside more standard news about politics.
     Baldasty makes use of nineteenth-century materials—newspapers from throughout the era, manuscript letters from journalists and politicians, journalism and advertising trade publications, government reports—to document the changing role of the press during the period.  He identifies three important phases: the partisan newspapers of the Jacksonian era (1825-1835), the transition of the press in the middle of the century, and the influence of commercialization of the news in the last two decades of the century.


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Consuming Environments
Television and Commercial Culture
Michael Budd
Rutgers University Press, 1999

Whether we love it, hate it, or use it just to pass the time, most adults in the United States are watching more television than ever, up to four hours a day by some estimates. Our devotion to commercial television gives it unprecedented power in our lives.

Advertisers and television executives want us to spend as much time as we can in front of our sets, for it is access to our brains that they buy and sell. Yet the most important effect of television may be one that no one intends-accelerated destruction of the natural environment.

Consuming Environments explores how, with its portrayals of a world of simulated abundance, television has nurtured a culture of consumerism and overconsumption. The average person in the U.S. consumes more than twice the grain and ten times the oil of a citizen of Brazil or Indonesia. And people in less industrialized countries suffer while their resources are commandeered to support comfortable lifestyles in richer nations.

Using detailed examples illustrated with images from actual commercials, news broadcasts, and television shows, the authors demonstrate how ads and programs are put together in complex ways to manipulate viewers, and they offer specific ways to counteract the effects of TV and overconsumption's assault on the environment.


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Consuming Environments
Television and Commercial Culture
Craig, Steve
Rutgers University Press, 1999
Whether we love it, hate it, or use it just to pass the time, most adults in the United States are watching more television than ever, up to four hours a day by some estimates. Or devotion to commercial television gives it unprecedented power in our lives. 

Advertisers and television executives want us to spend as much time as we can in front of our sets, for it is access to our brains that they buy and sell. Yet the most important effect of television may be one that no one intends--accelerated destruction of the natural environment. 

Consuming Environments explores how, with its portrayals of a world of simulated abundance, television has nurtured a culture of consumerism and overconsumption. The average person in the U.S. consumes more than twice the grain and ten times the oil of a citizen in Brazil or Indonesia. And people in less industrialized countries suffer while their resources are commandeered to support comfortable lifestyles in richer nations. Using detailed examples illustrated with images from actual commercials, news broadcasts, and television shows, the authors demonstrate how ads and programs are put together in complex ways to manipulate viewers, and they offer specific ways to counteract the effects of TV and overconsumption's assault on the environment. 

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Democracy’s Detectives
The Economics of Investigative Journalism
James T. Hamilton
Harvard University Press, 2016

Winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Winner of the Tankard Book Award, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
Winner of the Frank Luther Mott–Kappa Tau Alpha Journalism & Mass Communication Research Award

In democratic societies, investigative journalism holds government and private institutions accountable to the public. From firings and resignations to changes in budgets and laws, the impact of this reporting can be significant—but so too are the costs. As newspapers confront shrinking subscriptions and advertising revenue, who is footing the bill for journalists to carry out their essential work? Democracy’s Detectives puts investigative journalism under a magnifying glass to clarify the challenges and opportunities facing news organizations today.

“Hamilton’s book presents a thoughtful and detailed case for the indispensability of investigative journalism—and just at the time when we needed it. Now more than ever, reporters can play an essential role as society’s watchdogs, working to expose corruption, greed, and injustice of the years to come. For this reason, Democracy’s Detectives should be taken as both a call to arms and a bracing reminder, for readers and journalists alike, of the importance of the profession.”
—Anya Schiffrin, The Nation

“A highly original look at exactly what the subtitle promises…Has this topic ever been more important than this year?”
—Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution


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The Edge of Change
Women in the Twenty-First-Century Press
Edited by June O. Nicholson, Pamela J. Creedon, Wanda S. Lloyd, and Pamela J. Jo: Foreword by Ellen Goodman
University of Illinois Press, 2009
Containing nearly three dozen original essays penned by the nation's leading newspaper journalists, editors, and executives, this book advances current discussions regarding women in journalism. Surveying the past quarter century, the book's contributors highlight the unprecedented influence American women have had on the news industry, especially newspapers, and look ahead to the future for women in news. Acclaimed anthropologist and author Helen E. Fisher adds her perspective in examining the role of women across millennia and how the talents of women are changing social and economic life in this global age.

Prominent female voices in journalism provide critical perspectives on the challenges women face in today's news organizations, such as connecting with diverse audiences, educating readers about international issues and cultures, maintaining credibility, negotiating media consolidation and corporate pressures, and overcoming the persistent barriers to professional advancement. A powerful and complex assessment of how women are transforming the news industry, The Edge of Change explores how the news industry might implement further reforms aimed at creating a more inclusive journalistic community.

Contributors are Catalina Camia, Kathleen Carroll, Pamela J. Creedon, Paula Lynn Ellis, Helen E. Fisher, Dorothy Butler Gilliam, Ellen Goodman, Sharon Grigsby, Carol Guzy, Kirsten Scharnberg Hampton, Cathy Henkel, Pamela J. Johnson, Jane Kirtley, Jan Leach, Caroline Little, Wanda S. Lloyd, Arlene Notoro Morgan, June O. Nicholson, Geneva Overholser, Marty Petty, Deb Price, Donna M. Reed, Sandra Mims Rowe, Peggy Simpson, Margaret Sullivan, Julia Wallace, and Keven Ann Willey.


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Embargoed Science
Vincent Kiernan
University of Illinois Press, 2006

The popular notion of a lone scientist privately toiling long hours in a laboratory, striking upon a great discovery, and announcing it to the world is a romanticized fiction. Vincent Kiernan's Embargoed Science reveals the true process behind science news: an elite few scholarly journals control press coverage through a mechanism known as an embargo. The journals distribute advance copies of their articles to hundreds and sometimes thousands of journalists around the world, on the condition that journalists agree not to report their stories until a common time, several days later. When the embargo lifts, airwaves and newspaper pages are flooded with stories based on the journal's latest issue.

In addition to divulging the realities behind this collusive practice, Kiernan offers an unprecedented exploration of the embargo's impact on public and academic knowledge of science and medical issues. He surveys twenty five daily U.S. newspapers and relates his in-depth interviews with reporters to examine the inner workings of the embargo and how it structures our understanding of news about science. Kiernan ultimately argues that this system fosters "pack journalism" and creates an unhealthy shield against journalistic competition. The result is the uncritical reporting of science and medical news according to the dictates of a few key sources.


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The Enforcers
How Little-Known Trade Reporters Exposed the Keating Five and Advanced Business Journalism
Rob Wells with a foreword by David Cay Johnston
University of Illinois Press, 2019
In the 1980s, real estate developer and banker Charles H. Keating executed one of the largest savings and loans frauds in United States history. Keating had long used the courts to muzzle critical reporting of his business dealings, but aggressive reporting by a small trade paper called the National Thrift News helped bring down Keating and offered an inspiring example of business journalism that speaks truth to power. Rob Wells tells the story through the work of Stan Strachan, a veteran financial journalist who uncovered Keating's misdeeds and links to a group of US senators—the Keating Five—who bullied regulators on his behalf. Editorial decisions at the National Thrift News angered advertisers and readers, but the newsroom sold ownership on the idea of investigative reporting as a commercial opportunity. Examining the National Thrift News's approach, Wells calls for a new era of business reporting that can—and must—embrace its potential as a watchdog safeguarding the interests of the public.

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Evangelicals Incorporated
Books and the Business of Religion in America
Daniel Vaca
Harvard University Press, 2019

A new history explores the commercial heart of evangelical Christianity.

American evangelicalism is big business. For decades, the world’s largest media conglomerates have sought out evangelical consumers, and evangelical books have regularly become international best sellers. In the early 2000s, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life spent ninety weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list and sold more than thirty million copies. But why have evangelicals achieved such remarkable commercial success?

According to Daniel Vaca, evangelicalism depends upon commercialism. Tracing the once-humble evangelical book industry’s emergence as a lucrative center of the US book trade, Vaca argues that evangelical Christianity became religiously and politically prominent through business activity. Through areas of commerce such as branding, retailing, marketing, and finance, for-profit media companies have capitalized on the expansive potential of evangelicalism for more than a century.

Rather than treat evangelicalism as a type of conservative Protestantism that market forces have commodified and corrupted, Vaca argues that evangelicalism is an expressly commercial religion. Although religious traditions seem to incorporate people who embrace distinct theological ideas and beliefs, Vaca shows, members of contemporary consumer society often participate in religious cultures by engaging commercial products and corporations. By examining the history of companies and corporate conglomerates that have produced and distributed best-selling religious books, bibles, and more, Vaca not only illustrates how evangelical ideas, identities, and alliances have developed through commercial activity but also reveals how the production of evangelical identity became a component of modern capitalism.


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Forming the Public
A Critical History of Journalism in the United States
Frank D. Durham and Thomas P. Oates
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Throughout United States history, journalists and media workers have mobilized to promote and oppose various movements in public life. But a single meaning of the public remains elusive. Frank D. Durham and Thomas P. Oates provide an eye-opening analysis of the role played by journalism in the ongoing struggle to shape and transform ideas about the public. Using historical episodes and news reports, Durham and Oates offer examples of the influential words and images deployed by not only journalists but by media workers and activists. Their analysis moves from the patriot-inflamed emotions of the revolutionary period to the conventional and creative ways the American Indian Movement confronted the mainstream with their grievances.

Weaving eyewitness history through US history, Forming the Public reveals what understanding the journalism landscape can teach us about the nature of journalism’s own interests in race, gender, and class while tracing the factors that shaped the contours of dominant American culture.


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Friday Night Fighter
Gaspar "Indio" Ortega and the Golden Age of Television Boxing
Troy Rondinone
University of Illinois Press, 2013

Friday Night Fighter relives a lost moment in American postwar history, when boxing ruled as one of the nation's most widely televised sports. During the 1950s and 1960s, viewers tuned in weekly, sometimes even daily, to watch widely recognized fighters engage in primordial battle; the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports Friday Night Fights was the most popular fight show. Troy Rondinone follows the dual narratives of the Friday Night Fights show and the individual story of Gaspar "Indio" Ortega, a boxer who appeared on prime-time network television more than almost any other boxer in history. From humble beginnings growing up poor in Tijuana, Mexico, Ortega personified the phenomenon of postwar boxing at its greatest, appearing before audiences of millions to battle the biggest names of the time, such as Carmen Basilio, Tony DeMarco, Chico Vejar, Benny "Kid" Paret, Emile Griffith, Kid Gavilan, Florentino Fernández, and Luis Manuel Rodriguez.

Rondinone explores the factors contributing to the success of televised boxing, including the rise of television entertainment, the role of a "reality" blood sport, Cold War masculinity, changing attitudes toward race in America, and the influence of organized crime. At times evoking the drama and spectacle of the Friday Night Fights themselves, this volume is a lively examination of a time in history when Americans crowded around their sets to watch the main event.


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From Printing to Streaming
Cultural Production under Capitalism
Michael Chanan
Pluto Press, 2022

A radical and comprehensive analysis of the commodification of artistic creation and the struggle to realize its potential in the digital age.

For mainstream economics, cultural production raises no special questions: creative expression is to be harvested for wealth creation like any other form of labor. As Karl Marx saw it, however, capital is hostile to the arts because it cannot fully control the process of creativity. But while he saw the arts as marginal to capital accumulation, that was before the birth of the mass media.

Engaging with the major issues in Marxist theory around art and capitalism, From Printing to Streaming traces how the logic of cultural capitalism evolved from the print age to digital times, tracking the development of printing, photography, sound recording, newsprint, advertising, film, and broadcasting, exploring the peculiarities of each as commodities, and their recent transformation by digital technology, where everything melts into computer code. Chanan demonstrates how these developments have had profound implications for both cultural creation and consumption.


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Goodbye iSlave
A Manifesto for Digital Abolition
Jack Linchuan Qiu
University of Illinois Press, 2016
Welcome to a brave new world of capitalism propelled by high tech, guarded by enterprising authority, and carried forward by millions of laborers being robbed of their souls. Gathered into mammoth factory complexes and terrified into obedience, these workers feed the world's addiction to iPhones and other commodities--a generation of iSlaves trapped in a global economic system that relies upon and studiously ignores their oppression.

Focusing on the alliance between Apple and the notorious Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, Jack Linchuan Qiu examines how corporations and governments everywhere collude to build systems of domination, exploitation, and alienation. His interviews, news analysis, and first-hand observation show the circumstances faced by Foxconn workers--circumstances with vivid parallels in the Atlantic slave trade. Ironically, the fanatic consumption of digital media also creates compulsive free labor that constitutes a form of bondage for the user. Arguing as a digital abolitionist, Qiu draws inspiration from transborder activist groups and incidents of grassroots resistance to make a passionate plea aimed at uniting--and liberating--the forgotten workers who make our twenty-first-century lives possible.


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The Great Television Race
A History of the American Television Industry, 1925-1941
Joseph H. Udelson
University of Alabama Press, 1989
Television was first successfully demonstrated in 1925; and in 1941 the Federal Communications Commission authorized commercial telecasting in the United States. During the intervening sixteen years the technology of television had been revolutionized, and there had been created an integrated television system. These developments were accomplished amid intense engineering and corporate rivalries of international scope. The result of this competition was the formation of the American television industry composed of three distinct systems: the engineering, the programming, and the promotional. The industry had already reached maturity by the eve of the Second World War, and only the world-wide wartime disruptions prevented its immediate marketing.
The author has utilized a broad range of original sources in order to trace the American television industry from its inception until its commercialization. He demonstrates that the present monochromatic television standards, programming potentials, networking requirements, commercial promotion, and audience research have been the results of incremental achievements accomplished prior to America’s entry into World War II. He analyzes the engineering processes and describes the corporate jockeying for position in the infant industry; and he demonstrates the prominent role played by the federal government in the history of the entire enterprise.

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How Private Investment Funds Helped Destroy American Newspapers and Undermine Democracy
Margot Susca
University of Illinois Press, 2024
The untold history of an American catastrophe

The ultrawealthy largely own and guide the newspaper system in the United States. Through entities like hedge funds and private equity firms, this investor class continues to dismantle the one institution meant to give voice to average citizens in a democracy.

Margot Susca reveals the little-known history of how private investment took over the newspaper industry. Drawing on a political economy of media, Susca’s analysis uses in-depth interviews and documentary evidence to examine issues surrounding ownership and power. Susca also traces the scorched-earth policies of layoffs, debt, cash-outs, and wholesale newspaper closings left behind by private investors and the effects of the devastation on the future of news and information. Throughout, Susca reveals an industry rocked less by external forces like lost ad revenue and more by ownership and management obsessed with profit and beholden to private fund interests that feel no responsibility toward journalism or the public it is meant to serve.


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Hollywood and Broadcasting
From Radio to Cable
Michelle Hilmes
University of Illinois Press, 1990
"Michele Hilmes has produced
  an excellent introduction to a most important subject. This is an invaluable
  work for both scholars and students that places film, radio, and television
  within the context of the national culture experience."
  --- American Historical Review
"Hilmes is one of the few historians
  of broadcasting to move beyond a political economy of the media. . . . Her work
  should serve as a model for future histories of broadcasting."
  --- Journal of Communication
"All media historians will
  find this work a critical addition to their bookshelves."
  --- American Journalism
"A major addition to media
  history literature."
  --- Journalism History

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How to Think about Information
Dan Schiller
University of Illinois Press, 2006

It is common wisdom that the U.S. economy has adapted to losses in its manufacturing base because of the booming information sector, with high-paying jobs for everything from wireless networks to video games. We are told we live in the Information Age, in which communications networks and media and information services drive the larger economy. While the Information Age may have looked sunny in the beginning, as it has developed it looks increasingly ominous: its economy and benefits grow more and more centralized--and in the United States, it has become less and less subject to democratic oversight.

Corporations around the world have identified the value of information and are now seeking to control its production, transmission, and consumption. In How to Think about Information, Dan Schiller explores the ways information has been increasingly commodified as a result and how it both resembles and differs from other commodities. Through a linked series of theoretical, historical, and contemporary studies, Schiller reveals this commodification as both dynamic and expansionary, but also deeply conflicted and uncertain. He examines the transformative political and economic changes occurring throughout the informational realm and analyzes key dimensions of the process, including the buildup of new technological platforms, the growth of a transnationalizing culture industry, and the role played by China as it reinserts itself into an informationalized capitalism.


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Investigated Reporting
Muckrakers, Regulators, and the Struggle over Television Documentary
Chad Raphael
University of Illinois Press, 2005
Triple Award Winner: 
2006 History Division Book Award of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication,
2006 Frank Luther Mott/Kappa Tau Alpha Communications Award, and
2005 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Policy Research 

The public often views television investigative reporting as a watchdog on the government. In fact, some of the centerpiece moments of TV muckraking relied heavily on official sources for inspiration, information, and regulatory protection from critics. At the same time, criticism by government officials and overt threats to regulate the television industry influenced the decision-making and content that went into some of broadcast news's iconic moments.

Chad Raphael's looks at the relationship between journalism and regulation during the celebrated period of muckraking that took place on American television between 1960 and 1975. Raphael offers new insights into the economic, political, and industrial forces that shaped documentaries like Harvest of Shame, Hunger in America, and Banks and the Poor while placing the investigative television documentary into its institutional, regulatory, and cultural context. Throughout, Raphael exposes the complex strands of influence used by government officials to shape--and attack--investigative reporting, and highlights how these tactics created a troubling legacy for the regulation of television news today.


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Joe McCarthy and the Press
Edwin R. Bayley
University of Wisconsin Press, 2003
This is a book for historians, journalists—and for all of us who need to remember this turbulent time on our nation's past, and its lessons for today.

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Last Paper Standing
A Century of Competition between the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News
Ken J. Ward
University Press of Colorado, 2023
Last Paper Standing chronicles the history of competition between the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News—from both newspapers’ origins to their joint operating agreement in 2001 to the death of the News in 2009—to tell a broader story about the decline of newspaper readership in the United States. The papers fought for dominance in the lucrative Denver newspaper market for more than a century, enduring vigorous competition in pursuit of monopoly control. 
This frequently sensational, sometimes outlandish, and occasionally bloody battle spanned numerous eras of journalism, embodying the rise and fall of the newspaper industry during the twentieth century in the lead up to the fall of American newspapering. Drawing on manuscript collections scattered across the United States as well as oral histories with executives, managers, and journalists from the papers, Ken J. Ward investigates the strategies employed in their competition with one another and against other challenges, such as widespread economic uncertainty and the deterioration of the newspaper industry. He follows this competition through the death of the Rocky Mountain News in 2009, which ended the country’s last great newspaper war and marked the close of the golden age of Denver journalism.
Fake news runs rampant in the absence of high-quality news sources like the News and the Post of the past. Neither canonizing nor vilifying key characters, Last Paper Standing offers insight into the historical context that led these papers’ managers to their changing strategies over time. It is of interest to media and business historians, as well as anyone interested in the general history of journalism, Denver, and Colorado.

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Last Rights
Revisiting *Four Theories of the Press*
Edited by John C. Nerone
University of Illinois Press, 1995

Though subjected to years of criticism, Four Theories of the Press remains a core text in communications. Its influence on the field, impact on generations of journalists, and ability to spark debate on why the press acts as it does continue to make it an oft-quoted source and classroom staple. 

In Last Rights, eight communications scholars critique and expand on the classic text. The authors argue that Four Theories spoke to and for a world beset by a cold war ended long ago. At the same time, they praise the book for offering an alternative view of the press and society and as a useful tool for helping scholars and citizens alike grapple with contradictions in classical liberalism. They also raise important questions about the Internet and other major changes in communications systems and society since the original publication of Four Theories

Contributors: William E. Berry, Sandra Braman, Clifford Christians, Thomas G. Guback, Steven J. Helle, Louis W. Liebovich, John C. Nerone, and Kim B. Rotzoll


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Latinas on the Line
Invisible Information Workers in Telecommunications
Melissa Villa-Nicholas
Rutgers University Press, 2022
Latinas on the Line provides a compelling analysis and historical and theoretical grounding of the oral histories, never before seen, of Latina information workers in the Bell System from their entrance in 1973 to their retirements by 2015. Author Melissa Villa-Nicholas demonstrates the importance of Latinas of the field of telecommunications through their own words and uses supporting archival research to provide an overview of how Latinas engage and remember a critical analysis of their work place, information technologies, and the larger globalized economy and shifting borderlands through their intersectional identities as information workers. The book offers a rich and engaging portrait of the critical history of Latinas in telecommunications, from their manual to automated to digitized labor.


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The Left Behind
Reimagining Britain's Socially Excluded
Pluto Press, 2022

Examines the ways in which the 'Left Behind' have been used to symbolize and foment social divisions in contemporary Britain.

'The Left Behind' is a defining motif of contemporary British political discourse. It is the thread that knits together the 2016 Brexit referendum, the crumbling of the fabled 'Red Wall' in the North, and the pernicious culture war being waged today. But who are the Left Behind?

James Morrison goes in search of the reality behind the rhetoric, offering the first comprehensive, historical analysis of the origins, uses and meanings of the term. He interrogates the popular archetype of the Left Behind - as a working-class, Leave-voting white male from a former industrial heartland - and situates the concept in the context of longstanding, demonizing discourses aimed at communities seen as backward and 'undeserving'.

Analyzing national newspaper coverage and parliamentary discussions, and drawing on interviews with MPs, community leaders, charities, and people with direct lived experiences of poverty and precarity, The Left Behind grapples with the real human cost of austerity for neglected post-industrial communities and other marginalized groups across the world, and the stigmatizing discourse that does little to serve them.


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Make the Connection
Improve Your Communication at Work and at Home
Adubato, Steve
Rutgers University Press, 2006

In this collection of compelling and practical essays, Emmy Award–winning broadcaster, newspaper columnist, and motivational speaker Steve Adubato shares concrete tips and tools that will help you connect more effectively at work, at home, under pressure, in leadership roles, and in high-tech environments. From avoiding unnecessary arguments with your spouse to coaching a valuable, yet difficult employee, Adubato’s essays delve into the key factors that motivate people to act and respond the way that they do.

You will find answers to some of the most common questions about public speaking as well as advice on overcoming its anxieties. Whether the forum is a PTA meeting or a large professional function, essays explore topics such as:

  • Why even practiced speakers sometimes experience stage fright
  • How to keep your audience awake and  interested in what you are saying

 You will learn essential skills for interacting in the workplace, including:

  • How to negotiate a good deal and still be honest and straight
  • How to keep team projects from falling apart
  • How to conduct yourself in confrontational situations, such as receiving a public insult

Drawing on examples set by public figures, including Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mario Cuomo, Martha Stewart, Jack Welch, Joe Torre, and many others, Adubato addresses the unique communication challenges that those in leadership positions face. Essays examine:

·         What ordinary people can learn from leaders in high-profile positions

·         Why so many leaders have difficulty taking responsibility and apologizing for their actions

As technology continues to provide opportunities for quicker and more visual communication, Adubato also lets you know when hi-tech bells and whistles get in the way of making a more personal and human connection. For instance, 

·         Why do we hide behind e-mail messages when we have something very difficult to say?

·         How does communication deteriorate when cell phones and e-mail are competing for our attention?

Finally, Adubato reminds us that communicating at home is no less important or any less difficult than communicating in public or at work. From contemporary challenges to age-old questions, essays explore:

·         How you can more effectively talk with your kids about war and terrorism

·         What forms of persuasion are more effective than nagging

Filled with timely examples and practical suggestions, Make the Connection is a must-read for everyone looking to improve their professional and personal relationships.


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Media Backends
Digital Infrastructures and Sociotechnical Relations
Edited by Lisa Parks, Julia Velkova, and Sander de Ridder
University of Illinois Press, 2023
Exploring how we make, distribute, and consume today’s media systems

Media backends--the electronics, labor, and operations behind our screens--significantly influence our understanding of the sociotechnical relations, economies, and operations of media. Lisa Parks, Julia Velkova, and Sander De Ridder assemble essays that delve into the evolving politics of the media infrastructural landscape. Throughout, the contributors draw on feminist, queer, and intersectional criticism to engage with infrastructural and industrial issues. This focus reflects a concern about the systemic inequalities that emerge when tech companies and designers fail to address workplace discrimination and algorithmic violence and exclusions. Moving from smart phones to smart dust, the essayists examine topics like artificial intelligence, human-machine communication, and links between digital infrastructures and public service media alongside investigations into the algorithmic backends at Netflix and Spotify, Google’s hyperscale data centers, and video-on-demand services in India.

A fascinating foray into an expanding landscape of media studies, Media Backends illuminates the behind-the-screen processes influencing our digital lives. 

Contributors: Mark Andrejevic, Philippe Bouquillion, Jonathan Cohn, Faithe J. Day, Sander De Ridder, Fatima Gaw, Christine Ithurbide, Anne Kaun, Amanda Lagerkvist, Alexis Logsdon, Stine Lomborg, Tim Markham, Vicki Mayer, Rahul Mukherjee, Kaarina Nikunen, Lisa Parks, Vibodh Parthasarathi, Philipp Seuferling, Ranjit Singh, Jacek Smolicki, Fredrik Stiernstedt, Matilda Tudor, Julia Velkova, and Zala Volcic


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Media Culture in Transnational Asia
Convergences and Divergences
Hyesu Park
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Media Culture in Transnational Asia: Convergences and Divergences examines contemporary media use within Asia, where over half of the world’s population resides. The book addresses media use and practices by looking at the transnational exchanges of ideas, narratives, images, techniques, and values and how they influence media consumption and production throughout Asia, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iran and many others. The book’s contributors are especially interested in investigating media and their intersections with narrative, medium, technologies, and culture through the lenses that are particularly Asian by turning to Asian sociopolitical and cultural milieus as the meaningful interpretive framework to understand media. This timely and cutting-edge research is essential reading for those interested in transnational and global media studies.


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Navigating White News
Asian American Journalists at Work
David C Oh
Rutgers University Press, 2023
Combining critical race studies with cultural production studies, Navigating White News: Asian American Journalists at Work is the only academic book to examine the ways that racial identification and activation matters in their understanding of news. This adds to the existing literature on race and the sociology of news by examining intra-racial differences in the ways they navigate and understand White newsrooms. Employing in-depth interviews with twenty Asian American journalists who are actively working in large and small newsrooms across the United States, Navigating White News: Asian American Journalists at Work argues that Asian American reporters for whom racial identities are important questioned what counted as news, questioned the implicitly White perspective of objectivity, and actively worked toward providing more complex, substantive coverage of Asian American communities. For Asian American reporters for whom racial identity was not meaningful, they were more invested in existing professional norms. Regardless, all journalists understood that news is a predominantly and culturally White institution.

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Network Nation
Inventing American Telecommunications
Richard R. John
Harvard University Press, 2015

The telegraph and the telephone were the first electrical communications networks to become hallmarks of modernity. Yet they were not initially expected to achieve universal accessibility. In this pioneering history of their evolution, Richard R. John demonstrates how access to these networks was determined not only by technological imperatives and economic incentives but also by political decision making at the federal, state, and municipal levels.

In the decades between the Civil War and the First World War, Western Union and the Bell System emerged as the dominant providers for the telegraph and telephone. Both operated networks that were products not only of technology and economics but also of a distinctive political economy. Western Union arose in an antimonopolistic political economy that glorified equal rights and vilified special privilege. The Bell System flourished in a progressive political economy that idealized public utility and disparaged unnecessary waste.

The popularization of the telegraph and the telephone was opposed by business lobbies that were intent on perpetuating specialty services. In fact, it wasn’t until 1900 that the civic ideal of mass access trumped the elitist ideal of exclusivity in shaping the commercialization of the telephone. The telegraph did not become widely accessible until 1910, sixty-five years after the first fee-for-service telegraph line opened in 1845.

Network Nation places the history of telecommunications within the broader context of American politics, business, and discourse. This engrossing and provocative book persuades us of the critical role of political economy in the development of new technologies and their implementation.


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Networking China
The Digital Transformation of the Chinese Economy
Yu Hong
University of Illinois Press, 2017
In recent years, China 's leaders have taken decisive action to transform information, communications, and technology (ICT) into the nation's next pillar industry. In Networking China , Yu Hong offers an overdue examination of that burgeoning sector's political economy. Hong focuses on how the state, in conjunction with market forces and class interests, is constructing and realigning its digitalized sector. State planners intend to build a more competitive ICT sector by modernizing the network infrastructure, corporatizing media-and-entertainment institutions, and by using ICT as a crosscutting catalyst for innovation, industrial modernization, and export upgrades. The goal: to end China's industrial and technological dependence upon foreign corporations while transforming itself into a global ICT leader. The project, though bright with possibilities, unleashes implications rife with contradiction and surprise. Hong analyzes the central role of information, communications, and culture in Chinese-style capitalism. She also argues that the state and elites have failed to challenge entrenched interests or redistribute power and resources, as promised. Instead, they prioritize information, communications, and culture as technological fixes to make pragmatic tradeoffs between economic growth and social justice.

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Never Done
A History of Women’s Work in Media Production
Hill, Erin
Rutgers University Press, 2016
Winner of the 2018 Best First Book Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS)​

Histories of women in Hollywood usually recount the contributions of female directors, screenwriters, designers, actresses, and other creative personnel whose names loom large in the credits. Yet, from its inception, the American film industry relied on the labor of thousands more women, workers whose vital contributions often went unrecognized. 
Never Done introduces generations of women who worked behind the scenes in the film industry—from the employees’ wives who hand-colored the Edison Company’s films frame-by-frame, to the female immigrants who toiled in MGM’s backrooms to produce beautifully beaded and embroidered costumes. Challenging the dismissive characterization of these women as merely menial workers, media historian Erin Hill shows how their labor was essential to the industry and required considerable technical and interpersonal skills. Sketching a history of how Hollywood came to define certain occupations as lower-paid “women’s work,” or “feminized labor,” Hill also reveals how enterprising women eventually gained a foothold in more prestigious divisions like casting and publicity.   

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New Deal Radio
The Educational Radio Project
David Goodman
Rutgers University Press, 2022
New Deal Radio examines the federal government's involvement in broadcasting during the New Deal period, looking at the U.S. Office of Education's Educational Radio Project. The fact that the United States never developed a national public broadcaster, has remained a central problem of US broadcasting history. Rather than ponder what might have been, authors Joy Hayes and David Goodman look at what did happen. There was in fact a great deal of government involvement in broadcasting in the US before 1945 at local, state, and federal levels. Among the federal agencies on the air were the Department of Agriculture, the National Park Service, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Federal Theatre Project.

Contextualizing the different series aired by the Educational Radio Project as part of a unified project about radio and citizenship is crucial to understanding them. New Deal Radio argues that this distinctive government commercial partnership amounted to a critical intervention in US broadcasting and an important chapter in the evolution of public radio in America.

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Niccolò di Lorenzo della Magna and the Social World of Florentine Printing, ca. 1470–1493
Lorenz Böninger
Harvard University Press, 2021

A new history of one of the foremost printers of the Renaissance explores how the Age of Print came to Italy.

Lorenz Böninger offers a fresh history of the birth of print in Italy through the story of one of its most important figures, Niccolò di Lorenzo della Magna. After having worked for several years for a judicial court in Florence, Niccolò established his business there and published a number of influential books. Among these were Marsilio Ficino’s De christiana religione, Leon Battista Alberti’s De re aedificatoria, Cristoforo Landino’s commentaries on Dante’s Commedia, and Francesco Berlinghieri’s Septe giornate della geographia. Many of these books were printed in vernacular Italian.

Despite his prominence, Niccolò has remained an enigma. A meticulous historical detective, Böninger pieces together the thorough portrait that scholars have been missing. In doing so, he illuminates not only Niccolò’s life but also the Italian printing revolution generally. Combining Renaissance studies’ traditional attention to bibliographic and textual concerns with a broader social and economic history of printing in Renaissance Italy, Böninger provides an unparalleled view of the business of printing in its earliest years. The story of Niccolò di Lorenzo furnishes a host of new insights into the legal issues that printers confronted, the working conditions in printshops, and the political forces that both encouraged and constrained the publication and dissemination of texts.


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The Paradox of Connection
How Digital Media Is Transforming Journalistic Labor
Diana Bossio, Valérie Bélair-Gagnon, Avery Holton, and Logan Molyneux
University of Illinois Press, 2024

Using a framework of online connection and disconnection, The Paradox of Connection examines how journalists’ practices are formed, negotiated, and maintained in dynamic social media environments. The interactions of journalists with the technological, social, and cultural features of online and social media environments have shaped new values and competencies--and the combination of these factors influence online work practices. Merging case studies with analysis, the authors show how the tactics of online connection and disconnection interact with the complex realities of working in today’s media environments. The result is an insightful portrait of fast-changing journalistic practices and their implications for both audiences and professional identities and norms.


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Phonographic Modernity
The Gramophone Industry and Music Genres in East and Southeast Asia
Edited by Fumitaka Yamauchi and Ying-fen Wang
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Histories of phonographic technologies and industries have long overlooked the East and Southeast Asian contributions to the sonic dimension of global modernity. Fumitaka Yamauchi and Ying-fen Wang address this one-side perspective with a collection of essays that show the nations of East and Southeast Asia as vibrant contributors to and participants in human audible history.

A roster of experts on countries from Japan to Indonesia explores the complicated relationship between the gramophone industry and music genres in East and Southeast Asia. Extending the boundaries of their research across multiple disciplines, the contributors connect the gramophone industry to theories surrounding phonography and modernity. Their focus on phonography combines an interest in discs with an interest in the sounds contributing to the recent sonic-auditory turn in sound studies.

Ambitious and expansive, Phonographic Modernity examines the bloc of East and Southeast Asia within the larger global history of sound recording.


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Point of Sale
Analyzing Media Retail
Daniel Herbert
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Point of Sale offers the first significant attempt to center media retail as a vital component in the study of popular culture.  It brings together fifteen essays by top media scholars with their fingers on the pulse of both the changes that foreground retail in a digital age and the history that has made retail a fundamental part of the culture industries.  The book reveals why retail matters as a site of transactional significance to industries as well as a crucial locus of meaning and interactional participation for consumers. In addition to examining how industries connect books, DVDs, video games, lifestyle products, toys, and more to consumers, it also interrogates the changes in media circulation driven by the collision of digital platforms with existing retail institutions.  By grappling with the contexts in which we buy media, Point of Sale uncovers the underlying tensions that define the contemporary culture industries. 

front cover of Portals
A Treatise on Internet-Distributed Television
Amanda D. Lotz
Michigan Publishing Services, 2017
Television audiences and its industry alike have been confused by the emergence of new ways to watch television. On one hand, the programs seem every bit like the television we’ve long known, while the way we can watch, what we can watch, and the business models supporting them differ significantly.

Portals: A Treatise on Internet-Distributed Television pushes understandings of the business of television to keep pace with the considerable technological change of the last decade. It explains why shows such as Orange is the New Black or Transparent are indeed television despite coming to screens over internet connection and in exchange for a monthly fee. It explores how internet-distributed television is able to do new things – particularly, allow different people to watch different shows chosen from a library of possibilities. This technological ability allows new audience behaviors and new norms in making television.
Portals are the “channels” of internet-distributed television, and Portals identifies how the task of curating a library of shows differs from channels’ task of building a schedule. It explores the business model—subscriber funding—that supports many portals, and identifies the key differences from advertiser or direct purchase. Portals considers what we know about the future of television, even though we remain early in a process of transformative change.

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Prologue to a Farce
Communication and Democracy in America
Mark Lloyd
University of Illinois Press, 2006
“A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both.”--James Madison, 1822

Mark Lloyd has crafted a complex and powerful assessment of the relationship between communication and democracy in the United States. In Prologue to a Farce, he argues that citizens’ political capabilities depend on broad public access to media technologies, but that the U.S. communications environment has become unfairly dominated by corporate interests.

Drawing on a wealth of historical sources, Lloyd demonstrates that despite the persistent hope that a new technology (from the telegraph to the Internet) will rise to serve the needs of the republic, none has solved the fundamental problems created by corporate domination. After examining failed alternatives to the strong publicly owned communications model, such as antitrust regulation, the public trustee rules of the Federal Communications Commission, and the underfunded public broadcasting service, Lloyd argues that we must re-create a modern version of the Founder’s communications environment, and offers concrete strategies aimed at empowering citizens.


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Radio's Second Century
Past, Present, and Future Perspectives
John Allen Hendricks
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Winner of the 2022 Broadcast Education Association Book Award

One of the first books to examine the status of broadcasting on its one hundredth anniversary, Radio’s Second Century investigates both vanguard and perennial topics relevant to radio’s past, present, and future. As the radio industry enters its second century of existence, it continues to be a dominant mass medium with almost total listenership saturation despite rapid technological advancements that provide alternatives for consumers. Lasting influences such as on-air personalities, audience behavior, fan relationships, and localism are analyzed as well as contemporary issues including social and digital media. Other essays examine the regulatory concerns that continue to exist for public radio, commercial radio, and community radio, and discuss the hindrances and challenges posed by government regulation with an emphasis on both American and international perspectives. Radio’s impact on cultural hegemony through creative programming content in the areas of religion, ethnic inclusivity, and gender parity is also explored. Taken together, this volume compromises a meaningful insight into the broadcast industry’s continuing power to inform and entertain listeners around the world via its oldest mass medium--radio. 

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The Real Cyber War
The Political Economy of Internet Freedom
Shawn M. Powers and Michael Jablonski
University of Illinois Press, 2015
Contemporary discussion surrounding the role of the internet in society is dominated by words like: internet freedom, surveillance, cybersecurity, Edward Snowden and, most prolifically, cyber war. Behind the rhetoric of cyber war is an on-going state-centered battle for control of information resources. Shawn Powers and Michael Jablonski conceptualize this real cyber war as the utilization of digital networks for geopolitical purposes, including covert attacks against another state's electronic systems, but also, and more importantly, the variety of ways the internet is used to further a state’s economic and military agendas.
Moving beyond debates on the democratic value of new and emerging information technologies, The Real Cyber War focuses on political, economic, and geopolitical factors driving internet freedom policies, in particular the U.S. State Department's emerging doctrine in support of a universal freedom to connect. They argue that efforts to create a universal internet built upon Western legal, political, and social preferences is driven by economic and geopolitical motivations rather than the humanitarian and democratic ideals that typically accompany related policy discourse. In fact, the freedom-to-connect movement is intertwined with broader efforts to structure global society in ways that favor American and Western cultures, economies, and governments.
Thought-provoking and far-seeing, The Real Cyber War reveals how internet policies and governance have emerged as critical sites of geopolitical contestation, with results certain to shape statecraft, diplomacy, and conflict in the twenty-first century.

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Reality Squared
Televisual Discourse on the Real
Friedman, James
Rutgers University Press, 2002

Reality Squared develops the scholarly discussion of the aesthetic of realism, documentary conventions, and modes of television broadcasting, in sophisticated new directions.  Friedman’s historical perspective is especially valuable since so much discussion of the new aesthetic of realism on television fails to take into account similar trends throughout television history.”—Ellen Seiter, professor of communication, University of California at San Diego

Reality Squared offers a rich variety of insights into the way television and new media make us believe in the worlds they represent. Spanning across the decades of early live TV to contemporary digital culture, this volume is an important history, not only of media but alsoof our perception of reality itself.”—Lynn Spigel, University of Southern California and author of Welcome to the Dreamhouse 

Through the 1980s and 1990s, the television industry and its critics have identified and promoted the re-emergence of “reality-based” television. During the past two decades, this type of programming has come to play a major role in both production decisions and network strategy. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, viewers’ desire for “reality TV” shows no signs of diminishing, as evidenced by the meteoric rise of shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Survivor, and MTV’s Real World

Although debates concerning the relationship between representational media and reality have occupied scholars and artists for quite some time, a surprisingly small number of books have examined this subject. As the title suggests, Reality Squared examines the representation of reality within the squared televisual viewing frame, as

well as the exponential growth of these representational programs on broadcast, cable TV, and even beyond, to the worldwide web. The contributors approach the issues surrounding television and reality from a wide range of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Topics include: the internet, the impact of global news events, weather predictions on the Weather Channel, and the representation of criminality on America’s

Most Wanted. This diverse volume contributes to the ongoing conversation about reality and representation, history and fiction, text and context, and the “inside” and “outside” of that box we call television.


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Renovating Value
HGTV and the Spectacle of Gentrification
Robert Goldman
Temple University Press, 2021

HGTV has perfected stories about creating and capturing value in the housing market. But according to Robert Goldman, this lifestyle network’s beloved flagship programs, Flip or Flop, Property Brothers, and Fixer Upper—where people revitalize modern spaces and reinvent property values—offer “fairy tales” in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. The cable channel’s seductive, bingeable programs may show how to find and extract value from properties, but, in fact, they insidiously ignore the realities of the real estate and mortgage markets, housing inequality, gentrification, economic insecurity, and even homelessness. In effect, HGTV has turned house flipping into a master narrative about getting ahead in America during an era of otherwise uneasy economic prospects.

HGTV pictures its insular moral economy as an alternative to a crisis-ridden neoliberal finance system that shaped landscapes of foreclosure and financial uncertainty for millions of households. Renovating Value explores the circuitry of consumer credit and debt, and a rent-gap model of gentrification that charts a path to the rehabilitation of Value. Goldman shrewdly critiques the aspirational myth of adding value to a home simply by using imagination, elbow grease, and aesthetic know-how.


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Rereading Marx in the Age of Digital Capitalism
Christian Fuchs
Pluto Press, 2019
The 'end of history' has not taken place. Ideological and economic crisis and the status quo of neoliberal capitalism since 2008 demand a renewed engagement with Marx. But if we are to effectively resist capitalism we must truly understand Marx: Marxism today must theorise how communication technologies, media representation and digitalisation have come to define contemporary capitalism. There is an urgent need for critical, Marxian-inspired knowledge as a foundation for changing the world and the way we communicate from digital capitalism towards communicative socialism and digital communism. Rereading Marx in the Age of Digital Capitalism does exactly this. Delving into Marx's most influential works, such as Capital, The Grundrisse, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, The German Ideology and The Communist Manifesto, Christian Fuchs draws out Marx's concepts of machinery, technology, communication and ideology, all of which anticipate major themes of the digital age. A concise and coherent work of Marxist media and communication theory, the book ultimately demonstrates the relevance of Marx to an age of digital and communicative capitalism.

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The Return of the Moguls
How Jeff Bezos and John Henry Are Remaking Newspapers for the Twenty-First Century
Dan Kennedy
University Press of New England, 2018
The Return of the Moguls chronicles an important story in the making, one that will affect more than just the newspaper business—it has the power to change democracy as we know it. Over the course of a generation, the story of the daily newspaper has been an unchecked slide from record profitability and readership to plummeting profits, increasing irrelevance, and inevitable obsolescence. The forces killing major dailies, alternative weeklies, and small-town shoppers are well understood—or seem obvious in hindsight, at least—and the catalog of publications that have gone under reads like a who’s who of American journalism. During the past half-century, old-style press barons gave way to a cabal of corporate interests unable or unwilling to invest in the future even as technological change was destroying their core business. The Taylor family sold the Boston Globe to the New York Times Company in 1993 for a cool $1.1 billion. Twenty years later, the Times Company resold it for just $70 million. The unexpected twist to the story, however, is not what they sold it for but who they sold it to: John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. A billionaire who made his money in the world of high finance, Henry inspired optimism in Boston because of his track record as a public-spirited business executive—and because his deep pockets seemed to ensure that the shrunken newspaper would not be subjected to further downsizing. In just a few days, the sale of the Globe was overtaken by much bigger news: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the world’s richest people, had reached a deal to buy the Washington Post for $250 million. Henry’s ascension at the Globe sparked hope. Bezos’s purchase seemed to inspire nothing short of ecstasy, as numerous observers expressed the belief that his lofty status as one of our leading digital visionaries could help him solve the daunting financial problems facing the newspaper business. Though Bezos and Henry are the two most prominent individuals to enter the newspaper business, a third preceded them. Aaron Kushner, a greeting-card executive, acquired California’s Orange County Register in July 2012 and then pursued an audacious agenda, expanding coverage and hiring journalists in an era when nearly all other newspaper owners were trying to avoid cutting both. The newspaper business is at a perilous crossroads. This essential book explains why, and how today’s new crop of media moguls might help it to survive.

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Reuse, Misuse, Abuse
The Ethics of Audiovisual Appropriation in the Digital Era
Jaimie Baron
Rutgers University Press, 2021
In contemporary culture, existing audiovisual recordings are constantly reused and repurposed for various ends, raising questions regarding the ethics of such appropriations, particularly when the recording  depicts actual people and events. Every reuse of a preexisting recording is, on some level, a misuse in that it was not intended or at least anticipated by the original maker, but not all misuses are necessarily unethical. In fact, there are many instances of productive misuse that seem justified. At the same time, there are other instances in which the misuse shades into abuse. Documentary scholars have long engaged with the question of the ethical responsibility of documentary makers in relation to their subjects. But what happens when this responsibility is set at a remove, when the recording already exists for the taking and repurposing? Reuse, Misuse and Abuse surveys a range of contemporary films and videos that appropriate preexisting footage and attempts to theorize their ethical implications.

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Saving the Media
Capitalism, Crowdfunding, and Democracy
Julia Cagé
Harvard University Press, 2016

The media are in crisis. Confronted by growing competition and sagging advertising revenue, news operations in print, on radio and TV, and even online are struggling to reinvent themselves. Many have gone under. For too many others, the answer has been to lay off reporters, join conglomerates, and lean more heavily on generic content. The result: in a world awash with information, news organizations provide citizens with less and less in-depth reporting and a narrowing range of viewpoints. If democracy requires an informed citizenry, this trend spells trouble.

Julia Cagé explains the economics and history of the media crisis in Europe and America, and she presents a bold solution. The answer, she says, is a new business model: a nonprofit media organization, midway between a foundation and a joint stock company. Cagé shows how this model would enable the media to operate independent of outside shareholders, advertisers, and government, relying instead on readers, employees, and innovative methods of financing, including crowdfunding.

Cagé’s prototype is designed to offer new ways to share and transmit power. It meets the challenges of the digital revolution and the realities of the twenty-first century, inspired by a central idea: that news, like education, is a public good. Saving the Media will be a key document in a debate whose stakes are nothing less crucial than the vitality of democracy.


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Shaded Lives
African American Women and Television
Beretta E Smith-Shomade
Rutgers University Press, 2002
Since its invention, television has been one of the biggest influences on American culture. Through this medium, multiple visions and disparate voices have attempted to stake a place in viewer consumption. Yet even as this programming supposedly reflects characteristics of the general American populace, television-generated images are manipulated and contradictory, predicated by the various economic, political, and cultural forces placed upon it.

In Shaded Lives, Beretta Smith-Shomade sets out to dissect images of the African American woman in television from the 1980s. She calls their depiction "binaristic," or split. African American women, although an essential part of television programming today, are still presented as distorted and deviant. By closely examining the television texts of African-American women in comedy, music video, television news and talk shows (Oprah Winfrey is highlighted), Smith-Shomade shows how these voices are represented, what forces may be at work in influencing these images, and what alternate ways of viewing might be available.

Smith-Shomade offers critical examples of where the sexist and racist legacy of this country collide with the cultural strength of Black women in visual and real-lived culture. As the nation's climate of heightened racial divisiveness continues to relegate the representation of Black women to depravity and display, her study is not only useful, it is critical.


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Shadow of the New Deal
The Victory of Public Broadcasting
Josh Shepperd
University of Illinois Press, 2023

Despite uncertain beginnings, public broadcasting emerged as a noncommercial media industry that transformed American culture. Josh Shepperd looks at the people, institutions, and influences behind the media reform movement and clearinghouse the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) in the drive to create what became the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio.

Founded in 1934, the NAEB began as a disorganized collection of undersupported university broadcasters. Shepperd traces the setbacks, small victories, and trial and error experiments that took place as thousands of advocates built a media coalition premised on the belief that technology could ease social inequality through equal access to education and information. The bottom-up, decentralized network they created implemented a different economy of scale and a vision of a mass media divorced from commercial concerns. At the same time, they transformed advice, criticism, and methods adopted from other sectors into an infrastructure that supported public broadcasting in the 1960s and beyond.


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Smartland Korea
Mobile Communication, Culture, and Society
Dal Yong Jin
University of Michigan Press, 2017
The dramatic advancement of cellphone technology has fundamentally changed our daily lives. Smartphones and their applications have created new capital for information and communication technology corporations and changed the way people communicate. Because of an interesting awareness of the significance for digital economy and people’s daily culture, many countries, from the U.S. to China, have massively invested in the smartphone industries since the early 21st century. Among them, South Korea has become one of the centers for technology development and digital culture, although the country was once lagging behind in the penetration of the phones and their apps. Yet within the last few years, the country has taken a big step toward their goal of becoming a ‘mobile game wonderland’ by appropriating smartphones and it now exists as a curious test-bed for the future of smartphone technology. Smartland Korea, as the first attempt to comprehensively analyze mobile communication in the context of Korean smartphones, looks into a largely neglected focus of inquiry, a localized mobile landscape, with particular reference to young Koreans’ engagement with their devices and applications. Dal Yong Jin focuses not only on the celebratory achievement of technological advancement, but also the significance of social milieu in the development of the smartphones. He situates the emergence of smartphones within the growth of mobile technologies and overall telecommunications industries embedded in Korea’s information and communication technologies. The book examines the technology’s innovation and the evolution, the digital economy through the lens of political economy, and the youth culture embedded in the Korean smartphone context.


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The Synchronized Society
Time and Control From Broadcasting to the Internet
Randall Patnode
Rutgers University Press, 2023

The Synchronized Society traces the history of the synchronous broadcast experience of the twentieth century and the transition to the asynchronous media that dominate today. Broadcasting grew out of the latent desire by nineteenth-century industrialists, political thinkers, and social reformers to tame an unruly society by controlling how people used their time. The idea manifested itself in the form of the broadcast schedule, a managed flow of information and entertainment that required audiences to be in a particular place – usually the home – at a particular time and helped to create “water cooler” moments, as audiences reflected on their shared media texts. Audiences began disconnecting from the broadcast schedule at the end of the twentieth century, but promoters of social media and television services still kept audiences under control, replacing the schedule with surveillance of media use. Author Randall Patnode offers compelling new insights into the intermingled roles of broadcasting and industrial/post-industrial work and how Americans spend their time.


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Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
Alex Carey
University of Illinois Press, 1995
Alex Carey documents the twentieth-century history of corporate propaganda as practiced by U.S. businesses, and its export to and adoption by Western democracies like the United Kingdom and Australia. The collection, drawn from Carey's voluminous unpublished writings, examines how and why the business elite successfully sold its values and perspectives to the rest of society.

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Talk Radio’s America
How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States
Brian Rosenwald
Harvard University Press, 2019

The cocreator of the Washington Post’s “Made by History” blog reveals how the rise of conservative talk radio gave us a Republican Party incapable of governing and paved the way for Donald Trump.

America’s long road to the Trump presidency began on August 1, 1988, when, desperate for content to save AM radio, top media executives stumbled on a new format that would turn the political world upside down. They little imagined that in the coming years their brainchild would polarize the country and make it nearly impossible to govern. Rush Limbaugh, an enormously talented former disc jockey—opinionated, brash, and unapologetically conservative—pioneered a pathbreaking infotainment program that captured the hearts of an audience no media executive knew existed. Limbaugh’s listeners yearned for a champion to punch back against those maligning their values. Within a decade, this format would grow from fifty-nine stations to over one thousand, keeping millions of Americans company as they commuted, worked, and shouted back at their radios. The concept pioneered by Limbaugh was quickly copied by cable news and digital media.

Radio hosts form a deep bond with their audience, which gives them enormous political power. Unlike elected representatives, however, they must entertain their audience or watch their ratings fall. Talk radio boosted the Republican agenda in the 1990s, but two decades later, escalation in the battle for the airwaves pushed hosts toward ever more conservative, outrageous, and hyperbolic content.

Donald Trump borrowed conservative radio hosts’ playbook and gave Republican base voters the kind of pugnacious candidate they had been demanding for decades. By 2016, a political force no one intended to create had completely transformed American politics.


front cover of Telecommunications and Empire
Telecommunications and Empire
Jill Hills
University of Illinois Press, 2007

Jill Hills picks up from her pathbreaking study The Struggle for Control of Global Communication: The Formative Century to continue her examination of the political, technological, and economic forces at work in the global telecommunications market from World War II to the World Trade Organization agreement of 1997. In the late twentieth century, focus shifted from the creation and development of global communication markets to their intense regulation. The historical framework behind this control--where the market was regulated, by what institution, controlled by what power, and to whose benefit--masterfully complements Hills's analysis of power relations within the global communications arena. 

Hills documents attempts by governments to direct, replace, and bypass international telecommunications institutions. As she shows, the results have offered indirect control over foreign domestic markets, government management of private corporations, and government protection of its own domestic communication market. Hills reveals that the motivation behind these powerful, regulatory efforts on person-to-person communication lies in the unmatched importance of communication in the world economy. 

As ownership of communications infrastructure becomes more valuable, governments have scrambled to shape international guidelines. Hills provides insight into struggles between U.S. policymakers and the rest of the world, illustrating the conflict between a growing telecommunications empire and sovereign states that are free to implement policy changes. Freshly detailing the interplay between U.S. federal regulation and economic power, Hills fosters a deep understanding of contemporary systems of power in global communications.


front cover of Transnational Korean Cinema
Transnational Korean Cinema
Cultural Politics, Film Genres, and Digital Technologies
Dal Yong Jin
Rutgers University Press, 2020
In Transnational Korean Cinema author Dal Yong Jin explores the interactions of local and global politics, economics, and culture to contextualize the development of Korean cinema and its current place in an era of neoliberal globalization and convergent digital technologies.

The book emphasizes the economic and industrial aspects of the story, looking at questions on the interaction of politics and economics, including censorship and public funding, and provides a better view of the big picture by laying bare the relationship between film industries, the global market, and government. Jin also sheds light on the operations and globalization strategies of Korean film industries alongside changing cultural policies in tandem with Hollywood’s continuing influences in order to comprehend the power relations within cultural politics, nationally and globally. This is the first book to offer a full overview of the nascent development of Korean cinema.

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True Story
How a Pulp Empire Remade Mass Media
Shanon Fitzpatrick
Harvard University Press, 2022

The larger-than-life story of Bernarr Macfadden, a bodybuilder who turned his obsession with muscles, celebrity, and confession into a publishing empire that transformed global media.

In True Story, Shanon Fitzpatrick tells the unlikely story of an orphan from the Ozarks who became one of history’s most powerful media moguls. Born in 1868 in Mill Spring, Missouri, Bernarr Macfadden turned to bodybuilding to transform himself from a sickly “boy” into a creature of masculine perfection. He then channeled his passion into the magazine Physical Culture, capitalizing on the wider turn-of-the-century mania for fitness. Macfadden Publications soon become a pioneer in mass media, helping to inaugurate our sensational, confessional, and body-obsessed global marketplace.

With publications like True Story, a magazine purportedly written and edited by its own readers, as well as scores of romance, crime, and fan magazines, Macfadden specialized in titles that targeted women, immigrants, and the working class. Although derided as pulp by critics of the time, Macfadden’s publications were not merely profitable. They were also influential. They championed reader engagement and interactivity long before these were buzzwords in the media industry, breaking down barriers between producers and consumers of culture. At the same time, Macfadden Publications inspired key elements of modern media strategy by privileging rapid production of new content and equally rapid disintegration and reconfiguration of properties in the face of shifting market conditions.

No less than the kings of Hollywood and Madison Avenue, Macfadden was a crucial player in shaping American consumer culture and selling it to the world at large. Though the Macfadden media empire is overlooked today, its legacies are everywhere, from true-crime journalism to celebrity gossip rags and fifteen-minute abs.


front cover of The TVs of Tomorrow
The TVs of Tomorrow
How RCA’s Flat-Screen Dreams Led to the First LCDs
Benjamin Gross
University of Chicago Press, 2018
In 1968 a team of scientists and engineers from RCA announced the creation of a new form of electronic display that relied upon an obscure set of materials known as liquid crystals. At a time when televisions utilized bulky cathode ray tubes to produce an image, these researchers demonstrated how liquid crystals could electronically control the passage of light. One day, they predicted, liquid crystal displays would find a home in clocks, calculators—and maybe even a television that could hang on the wall.
Half a century later, RCA’s dreams have become a reality, and liquid crystals are the basis of a multibillion-dollar global industry. Yet the company responsible for producing the first LCDs was unable to capitalize upon its invention. In The TVs of Tomorrow, Benjamin Gross explains this contradiction by examining the history of flat-panel display research at RCA from the perspective of the chemists, physicists, electrical engineers, and technicians at the company’s central laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.
Drawing upon laboratory notebooks, internal reports, and interviews with key participants, Gross reconstructs the development of the LCD and situates it alongside other efforts to create a thin, lightweight replacement for the television picture tube. He shows how RCA researchers mobilized their technical expertise to secure support for their projects. He also highlights the challenges associated with the commercialization of liquid crystals at RCA and Optel—the RCA spin-off that ultimately manufactured the first LCD wristwatch. The TVs of Tomorrow is a detailed portrait of American innovation during the Cold War, which confirms that success in the electronics industry hinges upon input from both the laboratory and the boardroom.

front cover of The Universal Journalist
The Universal Journalist
David Randall
Pluto Press, 2021
This is the only 'how to' book on journalism written by writers and editors who have operated at the top level in national news. It has long been the go-to book of advice for young reporters This edition includes a chapter on social media and is extensively updated throughout, with new content from Jemma Crew, an award-winning national news journalist. The book emphasises that good journalism must involve the acquisition of a range of skills that will empower trainees to operate in an industry where ownership, technology and information are constantly changing. This handbook includes tips and tricks learned from working at the very top of the business, and is an invaluable guide to the 'universals' of good journalistic practice for professional and trainee journalists worldwide.

front cover of Visions of the Press in Britain, 1850-1950
Visions of the Press in Britain, 1850-1950
Mark Hampton
University of Illinois Press, 2004
Historians recognize the cultural centrality of the newspaper press in Britain, yet very little has been published regarding competing historical understandings of the press and its proper role in British society.

In Visions of the Press in Britain, 1850-1950, Mark Hampton argues that qualities expected of the contemporary British press--lively writing, speed, impartiality, depth, and the ability to topple corrupt governments by informing readers--are not obvious attributes of journalism but derive from more than a century of debate. He analyzes the various historical conceptions of the British press that helped to create its modern role, and demonstrates that these conceptions were intimately involved in the emergence of mass democracy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Hampton surveys a diversity of sources--Parliamentary speeches and commissions, books, pamphlets, periodicals and select private correspondence--in order to identify how governmental elites, the educated public, professional journalists, and industry moguls characterized the political and cultural function of the press. The resulting blend of cultural history and media sociology demonstrates how once optimistic visions of the press have given way to more pessimistic contemporary views about the power of the mass media.

With clarity and panache, this book shows that many competing conceptions continued to influence twentieth-century understandings of the press but did not remain satisfactory in new political, cultural, and media environments. Visions of the Press in Britain, 1850-1950 provides a rich tapestry against which to understand the contemporary realities of journalism, democracy, and mass media.


front cover of Waves of Opposition
Waves of Opposition
Labor and the Struggle for Democratic Radio
Elizabeth Fones-Wolf
University of Illinois Press, 2006

Radio sparked the massive upsurge of organized labor during the Great Depression. The powerful new medium became an important weapon in the ideological war between labor and business. Corporations used radio to sing the praises of individualism and consumerism, while unions emphasized equal rights, industrial democracy, and social justice. 

Elizabeth Fones-Wolf analyzes the battle to utilize, and control, the airwaves in radio's early era. Working chronologically, she explores the advent of local labor radio stations such as WCFL and WEVD, labor's campaigns against corporate censorship, and union experiments with early FM broadcasting. Using union archives and broadcast industry records, Fones-Wolf demonstrates radio's key role in organized labor's efforts to fight business's domination of political discourse throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. She concludes with a look at how labor's virtual disappearance from today's media helps explain why unions have become so marginalized, and offers important historical lessons for revitalizing organized labor.


front cover of Wired into Nature
Wired into Nature
The Telegraph and the North American Frontier
James Schwoch
University of Illinois Press, 2018
The completion of the Transcontinental Telegraph in 1861 completed telegraphy's mile-by-mile trek across the West. In addition to linking the coasts, the telegraph represented an extraordinary American effort in many fields of endeavor to know, act upon, and control a continent.

Merging new research with bold interpretation, James Schwoch details the unexplored dimensions of the frontier telegraph and its impact. The westward spread of telegraphy entailed encounters with environments that challenged Americans to acquire knowledge of natural history, climate, and a host of other fields. Telegraph codes and ciphers, meanwhile, became important political, military, and economic secrets. Schwoch shows how the government's use of commercial networks drove a relationship between the two sectors that served increasingly expansionist aims. He also reveals the telegraph's role in securing high ground and encouraging surveillance. Both became vital aspects of the American effort to contain, and conquer, the West's indigenous peoples—and part of a historical arc of concerns about privacy, data gathering, and surveillance that remains pertinent today.

Entertaining and enlightening, Wired into Nature explores an unknown history of the West.


front cover of You've Been Had!
You've Been Had!
How the Media and Environmentalists Turned America into a Nation of Hypochondriacs
Benarde, Melvin A
Rutgers University Press, 2002

With all of the negative media about environmental threats over the last four decades, is it any wonder that most people believe disaster is just around the corner?  But despite what the media would lead us to believe, annual reports from the Surgeons General show that Americans are the healthiest they have ever been, are becoming healthier and are, in fact, the healthiest people on the planet.

In You’ve Been Had!, Melvin Benarde aims to set the record straight and counteract the culture of complaint and worry with an unbiased account of the scientific facts — facts which suggest we are worried and frightened about the wrong things. Contrary to what the media would have us believe, he argues that the environmental factors that most adversely affect our health are those that are within our power to alter, such as smoking, diet, drugs, stress, guns speed, exercise, and basic safety precautions. Topics covered include: carcinogens and anti- carcinogens; dietary supplements and neutraceuticals; food safety, pasteurization and irradiation; genetically modified foods; microbial threats to health; hazardous and toxic waste; radiation and skin cancer; global warming; risk-taking; obesity, asthma, violence and longevity. Benarde also looks at the ways the media reports science and evidence-based medicine.


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