Monday, June 25, 2012

MediaWeek (V5, N26): AAUP Meeting, Summer Reading Lists, Magazines, The Guardian's Future +More

Last week the Association of American University Presses held their annual conference in Chicago, (where I attended and made two presentations but more on that later) and there were several write-ups.  First, the organizers added a session on the last afternoon about the Georgia eReserves case and here is a blow-by-blow of the session (Inside Higher Ed):
University presses are still unhappy with the outcome of the landmark copyright case, which centered on Georgia State University's practice of duplicating book material and making it available to certain students free through the universities' electronic reserve database. That much was clear at Wednesday’s session, during which Steinman repeatedly slammed Judge Orinda Evans’s legal reasoning in the decision to a chorus of exasperated groans from a packed room of university press workers and executives.
“This is a terrible decision, it’s poorly reasoned, the result is a poor one, it’s a terrible precedent to have on the books,” said Steinman, doubling down on the AAUP’s much milder statement last month, which merely asserted that Evans’s 347-page ruling “appears to make a number of assertions of fact that are not supported by the trial record.”
But collective disdain for the judge’s reasoning in her decision eventually gave way to a general agreement among the attendees that, in order to make the outcome workable, university presses need to mend fences with another key player on their campuses -- librarians.
And from Jennifer Howard at The Chronicle an overview of the entire meeting:
Be part of the conversation, mind your metadata, and use technology as a bridge to the world: That advice animated sessions at the annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses, held here this week.
This year marks the group's 75th anniversary, and attendance hit a record high, with 787 people registered. The numbers created some logistical hassles but gave the meeting energy, too, tempering nervousness about how to feed the growing e-book market and how to convince budget-obsessed administrators that presses are assets, not liabilities.
People talked somberly about the news that the University of Missouri plans to shut down its press. But so far Missouri has been the exception, not the rule. Most presses have survived the recession and budget cuts. Some, like Princeton University Press, had excellent years, according to Peter Dougherty, the Princeton press's director and the new president of the association.
What should the kids read over summer (NYTimes)
Reading literature should be intentional. The problem with much summer reading is that the intention is unclear. Increasingly, students are asked to choose their own summer reading from Web sites like ReadKiddoRead, where the same advanced Real World Fiction category includes “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Flipped,” by Wendelin Van Draanen, which centers on divorce and kissing. Both books can be enjoyed by middle schoolers, but how will the seventh grader determine which one to pick?
The issue is further compounded when summer assignments require students to write about what they read. The problem is that the tasks assigned are at once too open and too circumscribed to be of use. What summer reading needs to be is purposeful. But how do we ensure purposeful independent reading given the low accountability of summer assignments?
Some students will happily read off a recommended-reading list (which should include a companion list of resources to support understanding). They will head to the park with Dickens or Austen under their arms, so long as they can leave the Post-it notes at home. They should be permitted this luxury, to have their teachers treat them as independent learners capable of a first dip into a classic, with no destined-to-be-unread written responses required. Doing this allows the student who chooses tougher books to say, “I didn’t understand half of it.” What better time to allow students to struggle than summer, when no one is calling on them to interpret or explain?
How's the magazine business doing you ask? (Economist)
But among magazines there is a new sense of optimism. In North America, where the recession bit deepest (see chart), more new magazines were launched than closed in 2011 for the second year in a row. The Association of Magazine Media (MPA) reports that magazine audiences are growing faster than those for TV or newspapers, especially among the young.
Unlike newspapers, most magazines didn’t have large classified-ad sections to lose to the internet, and their material has a longer shelf-life. Above all, says David Carey, the boss of Hearst Magazines, a big American publisher, they represent aspirations: “they do a very good job of inspiring your dreams.” People identify closely with the magazines they read, and advertisers therefore love them: magazines, says Paul-Bernhard Kallen, the chairman of Hubert Burda Media, a large German publisher, remain essential for brand-building.
Also from More Intelligent Life (Economist Family) a look at The Guardian newspaper and how it might survive (I thought it was).
In terms of reach and impact, the Guardian is doing better than ever before. But its success may contain the seeds of its demise. Its print circulation is tumbling. In October 2005, boosted by a change to the medium-sized Berliner format, the average daily circulation was 403,297. By March 2012 it was down to 217,190. Those figures are not quite like-for-like, as the Guardian has sworn off the Viagra of giveaway copies and overseas sales (which tend to be counted less rigorously); but they are still bleak. Saturday sales remain sturdy, at 377,000, but, on a typical weekday, only 178,000 people buy the Guardian, while millions graze on it for nothing on their screens. In the financial year 2009-10, the national newspapers division of Guardian Media Group—which also includes the Observer, Britain’s oldest Sunday paper—lost £37m. The following year, it managed to cut costs by £26m, and still ended up losing £38m. In May, Rusbridger told me he was expecting a similar loss for 2011-12. So, for three years running, the Guardian has been losing £100,000 a day. This is not boom or bust, but both at once: the best of times, and the worst of times. 
At the Open Weekend, one event looked at whether journalism was a second-rate form of writing. In the audience of 50 or so was the white-haired figure of Nick Davies, taking a breather from his investigative duties. When the conversation turned to long-form journalism, he spoke up, sounding exasperated. “In 20 years’ time,” he said, “there won’t be any newspapers left to do this. All these millions of hits won’t pay our salaries. The internet is killing journalism.”

Rare aerial photographs of Britain go online

15 books that apparently make you "undateable" – happy to report I've read most

Libraries, patrons, and e-books  

Top US universities create online platform EdX worldwide initiative to deliver online course by Harvard & MIT

The French Still Flock to Bookstores

No comments: