Sunday, 28 September 2008

The Challenge of New Media - One day forum, UWE, Bristol

Jon Dovey and Martin Lister of the Department of Culture, Media and Drama and the Faculty of Creative Arts at UWE, Bristol, are organising a one-day forum on issues around media studies and Media Studies 2.0 entitled 'The Challenge of New Media'.

It's on the 12th December 2008 at the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol.

Martin Lister will provide an introduction, locating the issues, I'm going to be arguing the case for the renewal of a failing discipline and Jon Dovey will offer a response to the case. The day will also include chaired discussion groups around the arguments, a consideration of student and employer experiences and case studies on issues around teaching and learning.

For more information contact the organisers.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

New Book: Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories

Coming out any day now in hardback, a new book co-edited by myself, David Clarke, Marcus Doel and Richard Smith (Swansea University) - Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories. Email the publisher Routledge and ask for a paperback edition as soon as possible.

It's based on the 2006 conference, 'Engaging Baudrillard', held at Swansea. Baudrillard couldn't attend due to illness but he sent a new essay, 'On Disappearance' which is included here (along with another essay by him - a 1992 lecture published for the first time).


Introduction The evil genius of Jean Baudrillard David B. Clarke, Marcus A. Doel, William Merrin and Richard G. Smith

1. The vanishing point of communication- Jean Baudrillard

2. On disappearance - Jean Baudrillard

3. Commentaries on Jean Baudrillard’s ‘On disappearance’ - Rex Butler, David B. Clarke, Marcus A. Doel, Gary Genosko, Douglas Kellner, Mark Poster, Richard G. Smith, Andrew Wernick

4. Baudrillard’s taste - Rex Butler

5. Floral tributes, binge-drinking and the Ikea riot considered as an up-hill bicycle race - William Merrin

6. Better than butter: margarine and simulation - Gary Genosko

7. Baudrillard and the art conspiracy - Douglas Kellner

8. ‘Mirror, mirror:’ The Student of Prague in Baudrillard, Kracauer and Kittler - Graeme Gilloch

9. The Gulf War revisited - Philip Hammond

10. Fate of the animal - Paul Hegarty

11. Reality: now and then: Baudrillard and W-Bush’s America - Diane Rubenstein

12. Baudrillard’s sense of humour - Mike Gane

13. The (un)sealing of the penultimate - Andrew Wernick

The Amazon link:

Tara Brabazon on Textbooks

Prof. Tara Brabazon of the media studies department at the University of Brighton recently published this discussion of textbooks as a response to my own critique:

New Book: Copy, Rip, Burn

My colleague at Swansea, David Berry has just published Copy, Rip, Burn: The Politics of Copyleft and Open Source, with Pluto Press.

From the Amazon blurb:

Open source technology, like OpenOffice, has revolutionised the world of copyright. From downloading music and movies to accessing free software, digital media is forcing us to rethink the very idea of intellectual property. While big companies complain about lost profits, the individual has never enjoyed such freedom and autonomy in the market. Berry explores this debate in a clear and concise way, offering an ideal introduction for anyone not versed in the legalistic terminology that - up until now - has dominated coverage of this issue. Looking at the impact that the open source movement has had on journalism, printing, music and design, they show how the ideas that inspired the movement have begun to influence wider cultural and political transformations. This is a key text for students of media studies, journalism and anyone interested in new opportunities for creating a truly independent and democratic media.

Available now!

MS2.0 Paper - Lincoln University 22nd Oct

I'm giving the following paper at Lincoln University on 22nd October:

'Ask the Audience' and 'Say What You See'? ... Time to Upgrade Media Studies


Media studies was a product of the broadcast era, originating with the rise of broadcast media and limiting itself to the study of their mass communication. Unable to study media production, hostile to technology and with a limited interest in theoretical and historical issues, media studies gradually became dominated by an emphasis upon audience research and analyses of broadcast content. In an ironic reflection of the media it claimed to study, ‘ask the audience’ and ‘say what you see’ became the central disciplinary research methods and knowledge. The passage to a post-broadcast era, however, requires a corresponding disciplinary change: one that upgrades the discipline to reflect contemporary digital changes, rethinks its organising categories and returns to broader and more diverse intellectual and media histories to understand a changed media ecology. This is a call for a new media studies: a Media Studies 2.0

It's part of the Research & Professional Practice Seminar Series in the Faculty of Media, Humanities & Technology. From 5pm.

July-August Digital Media News

August 2008

An article on some of the forgotten pioneers of electronic music (29th Aug): See also (20th Sept):

In an interesting example of cross-media fertilisation and old-new media relationships, the creator of West Wing is planning a film about Facebook (29th Aug):

Photographs of the Dead Sea Scrolls will now go online in a five year project (28th Aug):

Online advertising is predicted to grow again this year to overtake radio as the 3rd largest market (behind TV and newspapers/magazines) (28th Aug):

An article about Captcha – Completely Automated Public Turing Tests – those squiggly numbers and letters you have to type to prove you are human rather than an automated machine. Experts now say that they have been broken by spammers (28th Aug):

A new website will offer music fans the chance to invest in artists in £10 increments up to a pre-ordained level when it will fund the recording of an album. Investors will then get a copy of the album and a percentage of profits plus other perks (27th Aug):

A Turkish court lifts the ban on Youtube imposed since May after videos were posted deemed insulting to the modern state’s founder (26th Aug):

iTunes users in China are blocked from downloading music after an album calling for greater rights for Tibetans was placed on the site (22nd Aug):

Future Technology:
An article about the idea of intelligent swarms of autonomous robots for military information gathering and reconnaissance (21st Aug):

An article about changes to Ebay’s business model (20th Aug): See also (10th Aug):

A British woman is ordered to pay a US games company £16000 after illegally sharing its files over the internet (19th Aug):

Mobile Phones:
Vodafone raises its charges in an attempt to claw back revenues lost through increased regulation (19th Aug):

An article on a new cable linking east Africa to the net (18th Aug):

An article on Google (17th Aug):

Google ‘pipped’ by Apple, as their market-share overtakes their hi-tech rival’s, a success attributed in part to the new iPhone (15th Aug):

A story about fundamental changes in television viewing in the digital, post-broadcasting ecology (14th Aug):

Blogs are increasingly a target for site hackers (14th Aug):

Local councils, health authorities and hundreds of other public bodies are to be given the power to access details of everyone’s personal texts, emails and internet use under Home Office proposals (13th Aug):

Mobile Phones:
A poolside row between two of Britain’s Olympic swimmers affected their final performance and prevented them winning a medal. The row was because one of the two divers took exception to the other receiving a mobile phone call from their mother as they were preparing for their sixth dive (12th Aug):

Mobile Phones:
Watchdog urges mobile companies to improve their age filtering for phone content (12th Aug):

Mobile Phones:
3’s sale of over 100 000 Skype phones highlights the growing attraction of free internet-based telephony, but there are problems here for the economics of the industry (11th Aug):

Mobile Phones:
Ikea launches a ready-made mobile phone service through T-Mobile (9th Aug): See also (4th Aug):

Old Media:
ITV down £1.5bn as falling advertising revenue begins to bite. The problems of old media with changes in advertising placement (7th Aug):

On life after death – user profiles of dead people on social networking sites (7th Aug):

A Spanish hacker is jailed for two years for sending out the private emails of their ex-manager (6th Aug):

Video Games:
Sales of Grand Theft Auto are halted in Thailand after a teenager allegedly killed a taxi driver to re-enact scenes from the video game, to find out if robbery was as easy as it was depicted (5th Aug):

Coverage of the Facebook-organised water fight ‘splash-mob’ at Kensington Gardens that ended with violence and arrests (4th Aug): The Daily Mail has a picture of the violence:

Proof that there are 6.6 degrees of separation between people (3rd Aug):

British broadband suppliers are hit by the housing crisis and falling demand (1st Aug):

July 2008

Future Technology:
An article on mechanical creatures and our relationships with them (31st July):

Google’s ‘street view’ service cameras can be used in the UK after a privacy watchdog said it had no complaints about the service (31st July):

UK MPs tell internet firms to police the ‘dark side’ of the web (31st July):

British hacker who broke into the Pentagon loses their battle against extradition to the US (31st July): plus their appeal a month later (28th Aug):

The government has set a target to cut film and music filesharing by 80% by 2011 (25th July):

A man is ordered to pay £22000 in damages after setting up a fake Facebook profile to spread lies about an ex-friend (25th July):

Mobile Phones:
A leading cancer expert tells his staff to limit their mobile phone use (25th July):

An article on the rise of the touch-screen and its limits (24th July):

Sky sets up rival to iTunes with a deal with Universal music for a new subscription music service (23rd July):

A wife’s rant on Youtube about her husband that attracted 4m viewers was used by him in his divorce claim. The judge agreed with his claims of ‘spousal abuse’ (23rd July):

A human rights-group praises video as a new weapon against the Israeli army after footage of a soldier firing baton rounds at a blindfolded and cuffed Palestinian detainee emerged (22nd July):

A story about how the music industry is adapting to the new digital times (21st July):

A secret study in Bath tracks tens of thousands of people without their consent using scanners to capture Bluetooth radio signals from phones, laptops and cameras (21st July):

A story about the hit website 4chan and its comedy viral ‘memes’ (20th July):

Hi-tech is turning us all into distracted time-wasters psychologists warn (20th July):

A story about how HMV is able to offer cheaper products online due to its use of Jersey to avoid the 17.5% British VAT and how it is installing kiosks in its physical stores for customers to order online in-store (19th July):

Mobile Phones:
The European Commission threatens enforcement action against hundreds of European websites conning young people into taking out expensive mobile phone contracts (18th July):

A computer technician is charged with launching a cyber-coup against the city of San Francisco (18th July):

Online sales are booming as consumers switch from traditional shops (18th July):

Video Games:
A changing economic climate means that more video games are being cancelled due to development costs (17th July):

A teenage hacker in New Zealand who pleaded guilty to hacking into computers around the world and accused of stealing millions of pounds has been discharged without a conviction (16th July):

The UK information commissioner warns about a Home Office project to create a ‘super-database’ tracking all phone, email, text and internet usage (16th July):

BT aims for faster broadband and higher margins with a new £1.5bn fibre-optic network (16th July):

Mobile Phones:
The EC puts forward proposals to cut the cost of ‘roaming’ texts by 66% (16th July):

A story about the hit Youtube amateur instruction videos (14th July):

Bloggers spot that Iranian photos of a missile launch have been photoshopped to add a missile that failed to launch (11th July):

An internet flaw leads to the biggest security fix in web history (10th July):

An agreement about intellectual property rights to be ratified by the G8 heads highlights conflicts between ownership and privacy (10th July):

Social Networking:
A soldier who bragged on Facebook that he’d served with the SAS and killed over 100 people has resigned from the army after being exposed as a fantasist by genuine soldiers (9th July):

The Microsoft-Yahoo takeover continues as Microsoft says it will talk to yahoo if it replaces its board (8th July):

Mobile Phones:
O2 and T-Mobile double the minimum connection charge for many prepay customers following Vodaphone’s similar rise last month. Coinciding with plans by the EC to cut the cost of connection charges, networks are trying to claw back lost revenue (5th July):

Google is asked to hand over the personal details of every person who has ever watched a video on Youtube to Viacom. Civil liberties groups are unhappy at the court ruling (4th July):

Economics/Mobile Phones:
Vodaphone buys a 70% stake in Ghana Telecommunications for £452m (3rd July):
(see also 4th July):

Future Technology:
A critique of claims that the internet’s processing power might rival that of the human brain (3rd July):

Ambitious plans by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 for project ‘Kangaroo’, an online video service offering more than 10 000 hours of classic TV shows, are hit by a decision to refer them to the Competition Commission (1st July):

Ebay ordered by a French court to pay a 38.6m Euro fine in damages to the luxury goods group LVMH for allowing the sale of fake goods (1st July):

Future Technology:
A story about how robots – intelligent armed vehicles using GPS, laser and heat-recognition technology – are close to being deployed (25th June):