Archive for September 2010

Live from Vilnius, Lithuania

September 26, 2010

Three School of Communications students and a professor covered this year’s Internet Governance Forum in eastern Europe — continuing Elon’s history of being the academic eyes and ears of the forum for the world.

Our coverage from Lithuania included live webcasts of panel appearances by Elon students Kirsten Bennett, Sam Baranowski and Drew Smith and by Professor Glenn Scott. They were streamed online by the United Nations on Sept. 16 and 17.

Our systematic reporting from Internet Governance Forums is a product of the Imagining the Internet Center, created by Elon’s School of Communications and under the direction of Professor Janna Anderson.


The Inquisitive Student Mind

September 19, 2010

Give students a research opportunity, and their breadth of ideas will be amazing.

The capstone course in Elon’s School of Communications requires a significant research paper. Each semester, our faculty winnow the 100+ papers to a few selected for publication in the Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications.

We publish the nation’s only student research journal in the discipline, according to the Council on Undergraduate Research.

The Fall 2010 issue contains 10 papers, leading with “The Daily Show and Meta-Coverage: How Mock News Covers the Political Communications System.” Other articles focus on social media use, health communication strategies, public relations framing of a merger, podcast advertising, digital music, legality of live blogging from sports events, and media framing of female presidential candidates.

This journal reflects what we enjoy seeing in our students – intellectual maturing and a curiosity about our media world.

The iPad Initiative

September 6, 2010

All faculty and staff in the School of Communications now have an iPad

The School of Communications has provided every faculty and staff member with an Apple iPad as a form of professional development in a fast-changing communications world.

The school offered the base model (Wi-Fi 16 GB) for free and allowed faculty and staff to choose whether to personally pay for any desired upgrade. In all, 13 chose the base model, seven upgraded storage to 32 or 64 GB, 30 added 3G capability for continuous Internet roaming, and seven decided to wait until the second-generation iPad is released in 2011.

Let the learning curve begin!  Faculty and staff already have formed a user’s group to share apps and to discuss how technologies are transforming both the creation and the distribution of media content.

The initiative was funded through stipends that accumulated through the years from the school’s success in the Hearst Journalism Awards program as well as fund-raising efforts in the school.

The School of Communications – one of only 18 private universities in the nation with an accredited communications program – is embarking this fall in its self-study process leading to a re-accreditation visit in Fall 2011.

One of the national standards focuses on staying abreast of communication technologies.

Dirty Words

September 5, 2010

The title of Tom Wolfe’s 1940 novel “You Can’t Go Home Again” has entered the public vocabulary as a way of saying that the passing of time prevents a person from ever really being able to “go home again.”

I put that notion to the test this weekend by returning to my first academic home, Kansas State University, where I served as a professor and administrator for 16 years before coming to Elon as founding dean of the School of Communications in 2001.

Sorry, Tom Wolfe. I think you can successfully go home again, or at least it felt that way for me.

In my national role as 2010-11 ASJMC President, I was invited to speak at the 100th anniversary banquet celebrating Kansas State’s journalism school, which is the third-oldest in the nation. (The School of Journalism at Missouri is the oldest, formed two years earlier.)

While there, I enjoyed seeing former colleagues and former students. One former student remembered the time when I stood in front of her media law class and recited the seven “dirty words” that were banned from the broadcast airwaves. Our textbook had chickened out and not printed them, and this is before the Internet days when a student could do a quick Google search. So when I was asked what were the seven words, I recited them matter-of-factly.

Nancy Chartrand, the former student who reminded me of this classroom moment, says she and a few friends thought about raising their hands and saying, “Excuse us, Professor Parsons, we missed that last one — the one that began with an F. Could you repeat that one please?” But she says they, too, chickened out and the moment passed.

A beautiful day for a win over UCLA

The day after the 100th celebration events, I returned to Kansas State’s football stadium to watch the Wildcats defeat UCLA, 31-22, amid more than 50,000 purple-clad fans. As this picture shows, I was wearing purple, too.

I’ve decided that you can go home again, at least for a memorable weekend.