Monday, October 08, 2012

Media Week (V4, N42): Pearson, Library of Congress, Education & Technology + More

(Frankfurt - Come by Hall 8.0 R 928)

The Telegraph reviews Majorie Scardino's 15 year run as head of Pearson plc (Telegraph):
Part of the joy for Dame Marjorie was reshaping Pearson from a bewildering rag-bag of a business, which included Madame Tussauds wax museum, half of investment bank Lazard and a sizable cache of Ch√Ęteau Latour wine, into today's publishing and education empire. Its current portfolio includes the Financial Times newspaper and Penguin Books, as well as a growing number of English language schools and universities in China and South Africa.

Dame Marjorie, a former rodeo rider, is known within the company for acting on instinct rather than starting out with forensic analysis. Some decisions have been misplaced - she laughs remembering the pink FT mobile phone launched in the late 1990s - but canny investments in digital initiatives and emerging markets have helped the group navigate its way through two recessions, a dotcom meltdown and the structural decline of print media. Pearson's share price has climbed almost 90pc under her 16-year stewardship. Meanwhile, revenues have tripled to £5.9bn and Pearson delivered record operating profits of £942m last year.
The Library of Congress had launched (or evolved based on their explanation) a new magazine and fittingly they are discussing themselves (LOC):
The War of 1812, often called the Second American Revolution, resulted in the burning of the U.S. Capitol and most of its contents. The Library of Congress arose from those ashes to become the largest library in the history of the world. Our premiere issue discusses our history as well as the services we offer to Congress and to researchers today. (Issue-pdf)
Over at Inside Higher Ed, Alexandra Logue writes about evolving idea about how technology continues to change education but it's been going on for a while (Inside):
Although we can all agree that college students are certainly not the same as casino attendees or lab rats, we can also all agree that technology, designed and used correctly, can facilitate instruction through personalization as well as through motivation. (The popular appeal of many online role-playing games is one example of that.)

The teaching techniques and tools discussed here have been promoted by behavioral psychologists for the past century. What lessons can we learn from this? One is that it is possible to facilitate learning using the techniques discussed here, such as personalized instruction, without ever having to use the latest (very expensive) technology. There are times when a relatively cheap programmed textbook will help someone learn, perhaps not as well as the best online programs, but very well.
I've been reading Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series since he released his first back in 1989 (or so). Here's an interview with him in The Economist. News that there is an HBO series in the works is worth looking forward to (Economist)
“PRAGUE FATALE” is the latest novel in the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr, a British crime writer. This is the eighth book featuring Bernie, a sardonic Berlin detective with a fondness for cigarettes and women, since he first appeared in 1989. In the books, Mr Kerr skillfully combines noir-crime plots with authentic historical background placing Bernie in volatile times from the 1930s to the cold war.

In “Prague Fatale”, set in wartime Berlin and Prague, Bernie is dropped into his most morally ambiguous case yet. He accepts an invitation to a country-house gathering with Reinhard Heydrich, Hitler’s architect for the final solution (it would be unwise to refuse). During the weekend, one of Heydrich’s adjutants is found murdered. Bernie’s mettle is tested when he must unravel a whodunit involving some of the most savage characters in the Nazi leadership. HBO is in talks to adapt these taut, atmospheric murder mysteries into a TV series.
From Twitter:
George Pelecanos on what makes a good story, which of his books you should start with, & where to eat in DC

Booker judge says book bloggers drown out serious criticism, to the detriment of literature ”  

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