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ARTS2090 Publics &Publishing Major Essay: Dismantling The Publishing Industry

How much do digital and networked media dismantle the “publishing industry”? Is it being replaced? If so, what is replacing it? If not, what is surviving of the older publishing industry, and how is it doing so?

“It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves—the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public—has stopped being a problem.” (Clay Shirky, 2009)

The world of Publishing is in the midst of continuous transitional changes ever since new-media forms were introduced, and the world shifted from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. The “Publishing Industry”, built on the production and dissemination of literature, information and data, has traditionally solved the problem of making something available to the public (Wikipedia 2011). Yet, as new-media and Web 2.0 have created new platforms for people to engage with, and allowed more people to be more open and social by creating their own
content, the “incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense” of distributing content to the public is lessening as a “problem” (Shirky 2009). The “publishing industry”, both as a whole, and through its industry divisions, has been dismantled in many ways by digital and networked media, influencing the transition from traditional print publishing to online digital publishing.  However, the dismantling of the publishing industry is not marking the end of traditional publishing, but rather taking it to another level.

By breaking down and extracting the processes involved in publishing content, digital and networked media is allowing for more content to be published than ever before. So, as digital and networked media dismantle the publishing industry to allow for more publishing, how exactly is the “traditional” being dismantled? To exemplify this, we can focus on one of the subdivisions well in the middle of a digital revolution – the print-journalism publishing industry. Along with the transition to online journalism, the way in which digital and network media are dismantling the “traditional” can be explored both specifically, and in general. So is the traditional publishing industry being replaced entirely? What aspects are being replaced? What aspects of the older publishing industry are surviving, and how?

Dismantling & Replacing The Print-Journalism Publishing Industry

The production and distribution processes of the Print-Journalism publishing industry are being effectively dismantled by digital and networked media as the transition from print to online continues. The industry itself can be perceived as a “Publishing Assemblage” – networks of publishing and distribution fuelled by how publics influence publishing, the technologies used, and the forms in which content can be published. Resonating from the dismantling of this publishing assemblage, is the notion of getting rid of the “middlemen” involved in the process of publishing content. A greater emphasis is placed on the amount of news content that can be produced and distributed, along with the speed in which these processes can be completed. Ultimately, there is always the aim of reducing costs.

The prevailing theme being reflected by the evolving publishing world – in particular relation to traditional book publishing and print journalism – is that print is dying, and in the near future, newspapers, magazines and books will cease to be produced. This is a direct effect of digital and networked media breaking down and extracting the production and distribution processes. So why is online and digital journalism growing, and traditional print journalism stalling?

Journalism, be it print or online, strives on the production of journalistic content which aims to fulfil the role of the media as the “fourth estate – to inform the public, ignite debate, act as a check on power, and empower citizens. Articles themselves are usually sub-edited by editors, thus the opportunity to change the way a sentence or paragraph is written, phrased or even omitted highlights the control over producing articles. Essentially, this is how traditional journalism works, more so in terms of print journalism. This are an example of the production processes that aided the solution to the problem of making news available to the public. Yet since the introduction of new-media platforms and Web 2.0, these assemblages of processes are being dismantled, and as such, there is no longer a problem.

Internet Technologies writer Clay Shirky explains that:

“If you want to know why newspapers are in such trouble, the most salient fact is this: Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run” (Shirky 2009).

Production costs to produce a newspaper or magazine greatly impact how content is produced, distributed, and ultimately published. Significantly, production costs are integral to the traditional publishing industry solving the problem of making content available to the public. To make something public, it costs money. Production costs to produce a newspaper or magazine significantly impact how content is produced, distributed, and ultimately published. Yet, production costs have changed, as now the need for paper to print an article on isn’t required to produce and article online. For those disseminating their own journalistic content, as a result of being freelance or citizen journalists, their production costs aren’t necessarily monetary, they revolve around internet data usage and time. It may be very expensive to set up and run a printing press, but it is virtually free to set up a WordPress blog.

Websites, blogs and online communities have given rise to the production of news and media content by anyone, for example, citizen journalists, as opposed to entirely receiving information from professional journalists or media experts. As such, the authorship and ownership aspects of the ‘traditional’, have been dismantled by digital and networked media. Blogs, websites, social-networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, are allowing news-content to flow and disseminate at greater speeds. Therefore, the print industry is transitioning into both a print and online-digital industry, and this allows more content to be published. Yet, despite the pros of creating more content, the ability to copy and share information on the internet is challenging copyright and ownership of digital content, despite the fact that individuals on the web generally link content when they share it.

In terms of distribution, print journalism requires delivery costs for distributing magazines and newspapers. Depending on the new-media form, distribution costs are diminished. The cost to distribute a news article online, whether via a professional news organisation, or a citizen or freelance journalist, are considerably less than costs of physical distribution of printed versions. Who distributes the content is also dismantled, as digital and networked media allow content producers to also be the distributors. Channels of distribution expand, and thus access to journalistic content is not limited to the geographic proximity of where the newspaper or magazine is based in, but opened to a greater, global audience online.

As a result, the dismantling of the traditional processes is in fact allowing for more publishing to take place.

Is Everything Being Entirely Replaced? What Is Surviving Of The Older Industry?

The way in which print journalism has evolved and transitioned to the online and digital platforms, highlights a paradoxical relationship. While online, digital journalism compliments traditional print journalism, the two forms of publishing also compete with each other. As digital and networked media provide opportunities for the publishing industry to grow, aspects of the ‘traditional’ are being replaced, while other aspects are surviving. These aspects, similarly prominent in the shift in print book publishing to digital book publishing, reflect the ongoing evolution of the publishing industry as a whole.

Newspapers and magazines are not extinct, they are surviving through routine publication, purchase, and regular reading. Yet whilst the print form is surviving, their digital counterparts are becoming more popular, and thus print circulation decreases. As opposed to a physical publication, online publications of newspapers, news content, or magazines gather increasing hits as news stories continuously emerge online, access to content becomes easier, and links to articles are shared via social networking media. In addition to online access, articles and entire publications can be digitally accessed on iPads, a hybrid model of a physical-digital medium. What this means is that while the content is digitally formatted, it is accessed via a handheld, physical device, thus merging the digital and physical in essence. As opposed to turning physical pages, news items can be accessed at the click or flick of a finger. Furthermore, whilst newspapers may have accompanying photographs to stories, it is digital versions that have more accessible multimedia content, such as videos, external links, webfeeds, and live-updating of stories.

What is also somewhat being replaced by digital and networked media is the traditional prioritising of newsworthy stories, and what should be “front-page” news. This is the effect of digital design and layout. On the topic of eBook publishing, Judy Sims argues that print publishers attempting to design the layout for an electronic newspaper as a physical copy would be designed would be the incorrect approach to transitioning from print to digital (Sims 2010). The same notion can be applied to digital and online journalism. Print designers should not influence the way digital versions are designed, as the digital version can offer readers so much more at once, and make accessibility easier through a homepage and other navigational tools. Through personal qualitative research examining the differences between a print newspaper and an online website of the same newspaper, stories are prioritised and emphasised differently, and online, more stories can be accessed at any given time.

Engagement with news and journalistic content is increasing as a result of dismantling the “traditional”. The level of engagement one has with a traditional print newspaper or magazine is not entirely being replaced by digital and networked media, but it is close to it, in particular through the physical-digital iPad. For example, engagement with the magazine ‘The Economist’ on an iPad results in the physical copies of the magazine piling up on the table, as Guardian journalist John Naughton expresses:

“Every Thursday, the “Read” button changes to “Download” and suddenly your iPad acquires the entire content of the current edition – in seconds. The second surprise is that it’s easier and more pleasant to read than its printed counterpart and much nicer than the Kindle edition of the magazine. The iPad has delivered a genuinely “immersive” reading experience” (Naughton 2010)

Thus, in relation to publishing as a whole, new publics and jobs are being created as a result of dismantling the traditional industry, as developers, designers and product managers are required. As such, through digital and networked media, print journalism is being both complimented and competed against in terms of the actual published product.

A major theme resonating in the world of publishing is how the nature of the internet, which strives on the open sharing of information, is being challenged by the introduction of “Paywalls”. Paywall subscription services work effectively for different types of publishing, and as such, the traditional method of paying for print publications is transitioning to online content, and thus looking to survive in a digital world. As Clay Shirky writes, newspapers (in America) had prepared for the coming of the digital age, including introducing paywalls:

“One [idea] was to partner with companies like America Online, a fast-growing subscription service that was less chaotic than the open internet… New payment models such as micropayments were proposed” (Shirky 2009)

Yet, what they didn’t prepare for was that:

”Walled gardens would prove unpopular. Digital advertising would reduce inefficiencies, and therefore profits. Dislike of micropayments would prevent widespread use” (Shirky 2009)

Information and data is flowing constantly, and publishing facilitates this. However, hiding content behind paywalls disrupts this flow. Editor-in-chief of The Guardian Newspaper Alan Rusbridger, speaking on the topic of news-website paywalls says that :

“If you erect a universal pay wall around your content then it follows you are turning away from a world of openly shared content” – (Busfield 2010)

As the transition from print to digital allows news articles and journalistic content to reach wider audiences than the regular demographic, proximity and scope that print circulation reaches, hiding content behind a paywall would deter readership. Regular readers may accept a paywall, but non-regular readers would seek out other newspaper websites for news. Yet paywalls continue to emerge, and are, for example, a big part of Rupert Murdoch’s “Digital Dynasty”, as the Times online has now implemented a subscription service, and in Australia, ‘The Australian’ is said to follow suit:

“Content is not just king. It is the emperor of all things electronic. We are on the cusp of a digital dynasty”- Rupert Murdoch. (The Australian, 5 August 2010)

There are two emerging trends that relate specifically to the practice of journalism, that has been affected by digital and networked media, resulting in replacing occurring both negatively, and positively. The first revolves around speed of production and distribution. The modern day journalist has to adhere to the paradoxical standards of speed and depth when writing news reports. “Almost by definition, speed and depth can’t coexist” (Meyer 2010).

As Phillips (2010) explains, organisational goals, editorial requirements, and increased competition between news firms place greater pressures on journalists to meet deadlines. As a result of online news websites hastily disseminating news to its readers, journalists are foregoing source verification. News organisations aim to be the first in delivering news stories, and the instantaneous nature of the internet creates this opportunity. Yet Meyer (2010) claims that:

 “If a premium is put on speed, getting it first, the opportunity for in-depth reporting is lost”. An increasing emphasis on speed hinders in-depth and thorough reporting”.

Therefore, a combination of dismantling the writing process, along with the greater emphasis on organisational goals, means that source-verification is being replaced by a lack thereof. This hints at the issue of copyright in publishing, for as it is so easy to copy and paste information, ownership and source verification is challenged.

The second “replacing” trend, a positive one, in both print and digital journalism as a result of digital and networked media is ‘transparency’. As the role of the media is to inform the public, media organisations, in particular Wikileaks, has the aim to make information known and visible to the world, not hidden by governments and those in power.

“Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people”. (Wikileaks 2011)

As journalist shield laws protect sources, and the Freedom of Information Act allows information to be obtained, transparency is improved, and checks on power can be properly conducted. While print still achieves the 4th Estate role, the transition to the online, digital platform means that the role of the 4th Estate is being conducted more proficiently.

Thus, what is being replaced, and what is surviving in journalism, and publishing in general, not only involves production and distribution, but the traditions and norms of the practices themselves.

What Is The Future Of The Publishing Industry

Essentially, as digital and networked media dismantle traditional publishing industries, like the print journalism industry and its transition to the digital-online platform, more publishing is allowed to occur, as more opportunities to become active creators as opposed to consumers, are made. Not only are processes changing, but the practices themselves are evolving, and things are changing, both for the positive, and for the negative. Traditional print journalism is still necessary, be it to some extents. As such, the dismantling of the traditional by digital and networked media is challenging the traditional for the better.

References

Busfield, S 2010, ‘Publishers Take Note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’ ‘, theguardian.co.uk, 25 January 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/25/guardian-editor-paywalls , accessed 1 June 2011

Charalambous, L 2011, Transitioning Publics & Publishing – ARTS2090, http://publishingintransition.wordpress.com  , last accessed, 9 June 2011

Chessel J 2010, ‘Digital strategy key for News Corp’ , The Australian, 5 August, 2010, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/digital-strategy-key-for-news-corp/story-e6frg996-1225901479381?from=public_rss

Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘Making Is Connecting’, posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/TIyXZoz0aLY , last accessed 15 May 2011

Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘David Gauntlett explains key reason why he wanted to write Making is Connecting’ , posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/C0erC5Z3qto , last accessed 15 May 2011

Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘David Gauntlett explains Web 2.0′ , posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/PFIXcDyKUOk , last accessed 15 May 2011

Meyer, L 2010, The Newsroom On Steroids, weblog, posted 26 July 2010, last accessed 29 May 2010, http://blog.niemanwatchdog.org/?p=1634

Naughton, J 2010, ‘Publishers Take Note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’ ‘, theguardian.co.uk, 19 December 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/dec/19/ipad-publishing-kindle-books-apple , accessed 29 May2011

Penguin Group USA 2010, Dorling Kindersley Books, Khaki Films, ‘The Future Of Publishing’ , YouTube Video, accessed 27 May 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weq_sHxghcg

Phillips, A 2010, ‘New Media, Old News – Journalism & Democracy In The Digital Age’ in Fenton, N 2010, Old Sources: New Bottles, 1st ed, Sage, London, p 86-101

Sims, J 2010, ‘Keep The Print Guys Away From The iPad App’, blog post, SimsBlog, http://simsblog.typepad.com/simsblog/2010/01/keep-the-print-guys-away-from-the-ipad-app.html , accessed 7 June 2011

Shirky, C 2009, ‘ http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/ ,  last accessed 2 June 2011

Wikileaks 2011, ‘About’, http://213.251.145.96/About.html , accessed 6 June 2011

Wikipedia 2011, ‘A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity’, http://en.wikipedia.org/A_New_Philosophy_of_Society:_Assemblage_Theory_and_Social_Complexity  , last accessed 27 May 2011

Wikipedia 2011, ‘Publishing’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publishing  , last accessed 3 June 2011

 

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Distribution, Aggregation and the Social; Open and Closed

How “Making” Is “Connecting” In The Publishing World – Creators, Rather Than Just Consumers

Perhaps the most significant advancement in publishing since the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, boosted by the introduction of new technologies, new-media platforms and the expanding internet, is allowing publics to be more “Social” and “Open” through Distribution. As David Gauntlett puts it, “Making Is Connecting”. By people creating their own content and publishing it on the internet, like posting videos on YouTube, blogging, or twittering, they can “express themselves, have a voice, and say something in the world”. Creating and sharing content has become much more easier that we’re not only putting ideas together, but we’re socialising and engaging with the world. As such, “making” is at the basis of “connecting”.

The way in which content – whether information or data – can be created and distibuted has increased rapidly. The internet provides various platforms for content to be distributed, such as on blogs, social media, websites. Creations such as videos, music, articles, visualisations, VJ productions and more is able to be distributed at a greater speed, to a wider audience, and over greater proximity – crossing space and time boundaries. The publishing industry has changed, most notably through eBook publishing and online distribution. New publishing jobs are being created to create digital content, new publics are created such as eBook readers, iPad users or Kindle users, and new networks develop. It’s not a bad thing – books aren’t going to die out. What this means is that new forms of publishing allows for greater engagement, diverse distribution channels, and a greater drive to continue enhancing.

We’re continuing to see before our eyes a  publishing revolution that began with the developement of Web 2.0. As Gauntlett explains, there’s a stark contrast between now and the 20th century where “people had to have what they were given, made by media professionals” through technologies such as the TV and Radio (Gauntlett 2011). Now, we’re making things in the world, not just consuming them.

In explaining concepts in his book “Making Is Connecting”, Gauntlett goes on to express the significance of publishing publics:

As David Gauntlett explains through his graphic of the tree, the soil that a vibrant publishing society grows from is filled with opportunites for us to publish. Creativity is the fuel for growth. Essentially, when you have enough individuals deciding to create rather than just consume things, it amplifies activity, and can amplify political activity.

In the next short video, he goes onto explain the impact and effects of Web 2.0 on publishing through lego-made garden visualisations:

 “People were making their own individual gardens” in the Web 1.0 age, but now the garden (websites) comprises of every individual creation, and allows connectivity to happen. So when more people use the new-media and distribution platforms, they get better at it, and this enhances our engagement and connectivity with the world through publishing. YouTube is of course one primary example of how connectivity is created, in which videos made by an individual can go viral and attain mass attention. Not only does a viral video garner attention for the individual, it creates new publics of fans, and encourages more publishing by the video’s creator, as well as fans by linking to it on their blogs or social media profiles, or leaving comments under the video.

Take for instance the first ever “Annoying Orange” video created by Daneboe, which went viral and has now resulted in countless more videos being created since:

 

I guess what hasn’t been considered as opposed to Gauntlett’s optimistic approach to publishing in the Web 2.0 era, are the barriers to connecting with the world and sharing. For example, social media sites such as Facebook are rarely used in countries such as China and Vietnam because of political regulations. In Middle Eastern countries, content such as videos on YouTube that argue against the dominant political and social ideals are targeted negatively in order for them to be removed off the site. Not only does that prevent those people in the country seeing it, but others around the world too. So there are effects to the democracy of publishing and distributing content, but more so hinderances to the democratic effects that these created content can have.

*Update: In our ARTS2090 tutorial on Monday, our class went through some of the Pros & Cons of the rise of self-publishing and connecting:

List Of Pros & Cons made by the ARTS2090 Monday 11pm Tutorial Students and tutor Caroline Wake

 

What the next challenge is, is to develop regulations for these rapidly growing new-forms of media and self-publishing in the Web 2.0 world.

So whilst there are some issues towards democratically being allowed to share in published content, ultimately the advent of Web 2.0 continues to allow individuals to creatively engage with the world, and distribute their own content. In creating rather than just consuming, they are “connecting” by “making”.

References

  1. Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘Making Is Connecting’, posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/TIyXZoz0aLY, last accessed 15 May 2011
  2. Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘David Gauntlett explains key reason why he wanted to write Making is Connecting’ , posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/C0erC5Z3qto, last accessed 15 May 2011
  3. Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘David Gauntlett explains Web 2.0′ , posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/PFIXcDyKUOk, last accessed 15 May 2011
 
 

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Visualising The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual

What Is The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual? What’s A Simple Way To Collect Data On This Topic? How Do We Then Visualise That Data?

Social media plays a big role in our daily lives – keeping us connected with friends and family, formulating into our everyday routine, providing a platform to be mentally and socially active, and allowing us to create and maintain our online identity and online citizenship. But how much is Facebook really worth in the eyes of users?

For my ARTS2090 Visualisation project, my group and I decided to visualise ‘The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual’. In particular, I wanted to see what the affects on usage of the social networking site would be if the whole site itself, or several of its features, were hidden behind paywalls. We know that the Times now implements an online paywall for its articles and content, but what if social networking sites were to adopt this practice? Would YOU boycott Facebook if it hid behind a paywall? How much do YOU value Facebook?Paywalls are seen as a boundary to publishing, especially when the nature of the internet is to share information. In one of my earlier blog posts The Affects On Paywalls On Digital Publishing And What It Could Mean For My Own Publishing’, I looked at how paywalls would affect the way we publish information, in particular in regards to news content and social networking. A “voluntary sharing and exchange of information for the purpose of connectivity” (Ibrahim 2008, Nardi 2005). Also, as Facebook plays such an important role in the lives of many, how much do they value it? Are they dependant on it. Using new-media has become a ‘Media Ritual’ (Couldry 2003).

Sample of the design of our survey

So, my group, consisting of Kady Holt, Jana Malos & I, set off to collect data in order to visualise the worth of Facebook to individuals. How did we go about collecting the data? The easiest data collecting tool that we found, and that a few of the other assignment groups used was the simple question survey. We created a survey on surveymonkey.com, consisting of 9 simple questions, each with different answering methods such as as ratings, choosing one answer, choosing more than one answer, written responses, etc.After creating our survey, we published the links to it via Facebook so that we could get Facebook users particularly around the same demographic as ourselves in order to obtain the data. Once we had gotten 100 responses, we closed the collection links, and then Survey Monkey analysed our data for us.

Sample of how our data was analysed after collection by Survey Monkey. (Click On Image To Enlarge)

The next step was to visualise this data, and compile the visualisations together in one format. So here are the slides containing the visualisations of the data received from our 9 questions:

I’ll quickly explain 2 of the visualisations I created:

The question we asked our respondents was ‘Which Facebook Feature Do You Most Value?’. As respondents could only choose one answer, the results were easy to visualise. So, sticking to our Facebook theme, I decided to emulate the act of “liking” a certain status or page on Facebook, and visualised the data this way. As such, “Wall Post – 41 people like this” = 41 people said that this is the feature they most value. For the “Other” response, created my version of “commenting” on a status. Respondents could fill in an answer box what they value that wasn’t part of the initial options, hence the “commenting” visualisation.

We asked users what their intentntions were when posting information on Facebook, and they could choose more than 1 answer, hence the numbers. Using paint, which I did for all each of my 3 visualisations, I created this little men with different expressions that correspond to the intention, and then one added to the powerpoint, I then made the speech bubbles. It’s a unique way to publish and visualise data, but one that I thought suited this question.

Overall, we visualised data about an important topic in social network and publishing, and looked at a new way of publishing data through visualisations. Every aspect of this visualisations – the colours, images, texts, variables, etc – are important, like the Actor Network Theory suggests. All these elements combine to best represent the data and emerging patterns in ‘The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual’. Furthermore, the publics that would find this information useful, Facebook users, non-users, and the Facebook/Social Networking companies have here some basic models to understand just how much individuals value Facebook.

References

  1. Couldry, Nick. “Media Rituals: The Short and the Long Route.” Media Rituals: A Critical Approach, London, Routledge, 2003, pg 1-20
  2. Ibrahim, Y 2008, ‘The new risk communities: Social networking sites and risk’, International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 245-253.
  3. Nardi, B.A. 2005, ‘Beyond Bandwidth: Dimensions of Connection in Interpersonal Communitation,’ Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, 14: pp. 91–130.
 
 

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Visualizations (Making The Invisible Visible) & How They Enhance Debates On The Issue Of Climate Change

How Do Visualisations Aid The Communication Of Science Within The “Public Sphere”?

Amidst the continuous Climate Change debate, more and more data from both the “Climate Skeptics” and the “Scientific Consensus” is published. There is so much information from each of the respective publics being added to the ever-growing flow of data, and a lot of it may seem invisible to us. So how then do we go about making the “invisible” data “visible”? We “Visualise“.  Visualisation enables us to discover the unknown, to make the invisible flows of data visible, through the use of images to structure new relationships, and exemplify and identify existing patterns of data.

The “Scientific Consensus”  publicise their data in scientific journals & textbooks, public or university lectures, books, through graphs & visuals, websites, newspapers, mainstream media, etc. “Climate Skeptics”  publicise through lectures, websites, blogs, newspapers, mainstream media, visuals, videos, etc. There’s so much information being published that even if you have a particular stance towards Climate Change, understanding all the arguments isn’t always easy, nor is it easy to bring all that information together so a proper debate can be had.

Even the portrayal of Climate Change issues and perspectives in the media can be biased. Power & personal opinion  editors or owners of media organisations have an influence on what type of information is published, and thus influences how the public debates issues. Newspapers or forms of media may publish a more favourable amount of “scientific consensus” perspective articles/editorials as opposed to “climate skeptic” perspective articles, and vice versa.

As such, for people either of a particular stance towards Climate Change, or looking to develop a broader understanding to help shape their opinion, they need a way to have both perspectives & arguements brought together. This is where an amazing infographic visualisation entitled ‘Climate Change Deniers vs. The Consensus brings together arguments from both perspectives in this big graphic of both text and images about the issue of Carbon Dioxide influencing Climate Change. It was created by David McCandless in December 2009, and is published on the great infographic site, Information Is Beautiful, where “ideas, issues, knowledge, data [are] visualised”. The graphic is huge, so I’ve cut it up into particular sections to make analysing it easier, but to view all of it & and a whole, just click on the link two sentences above! Why not have a read of the arguments as you look at the pictures too!

The layout of the image presents the “Climate Skpetics” perspectives on the left side of the visual, with their argument/thesis made bold and clear in pink. The “Scientific Consensus” perspectives are on the right with their argument/thesis made bold and clear in green. In the “Global Warming Skeptics vs The Scientific Consensus” section that begins the visualisation, the clear arguments of both sides are presented in text so that they can not only  be clearly identified, read, and understood, but be presented in a way that signifies equal importance. The first opposing arguments centre around the relationship between CO2 emissions and rising temperatures. You have the two arguments each on their respective side with their respective colour, and as well a graph in the middle that both sides can relate to, or draw their arguments from. This is the layout for issue/section of the infographic: 

  

 

As you can see from the above pictures, different types of graphics are used, including graphs, maps and scientific diagrams. A combination of text, colour and dynamic visuals enhance visualisations enhances the experience for those who learn better through text, and those who learn better through visuals. The graphic diagrams in the centre of each opposing arguments gives the viewer data to aid in developing their own opinion/understanding.

This visualisation not only presents a series of arguments for both the “Climate Skeptics” and “Scientific Consensus” in a fair and equal weight, but uses various resources for its images and information, as most images are reference. A conclusion to both arguments is provided at the bottom, so in fact, you have a whole debate all in this one infographic. The “Climate Skeptics” conclude that Man made CO2 cannot be driving Climate Change, whereas the “Scientific Consensus” has the opposite conclusion. But along the way, both arguments have been supported by evidence & graphics to further both arguments. At the bottom you have the sources used for both sides arguments, and a link to further sources.

As such, this amazing infographic visualisation allows for an easier understanding of the debate about Climate Change by taking an objective stance and equally presenting both perspectives. The author looked to simulate what is was like researching Climate Change online.  Henceforth, visualisations don’t just transform how data is published, they can bring together differernt froms of data into one piece of publishing. It’s a good example for future visualisations depicting information on Climate Change.

* All Images are adaptations of the original image found belonging to, and found at http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/

References

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Week 9 Tutorial 8

 

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Wikileaks: Publishing & Archive Fever

What Makes Wikileaks A Legal Form Of Publishing? How Has It Revolutionalised Journalism & Publishing? How Can We Classify Wikileaks As a “Super Archive”?

“[Wikileaks] could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.” – Time Magazine 

For the past few years, Wikileaks has been on everybodys lips. Stories have been reported about both the practices and process involved in “leaking” information via Wikileaks, as well as stories that have stemmed and formed issues from various cables and leaks published via Wikileaks. When we look at the change transition from print to digital in the world of publishing, Wikileaks becomes a significant tool and form of new-media that is very much worth examining.

For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to try my best to look at Wikileaks objectively (at least I hope I can) and solely as a publishing tool. A lot of people have probably never looked at the Wikileaks site, and only know about it through what the media disseminates. So what I’m going to do really briefly and succinctly is look at what makes Wikileaks legal, how has it changed publishing, and how is the information archived.

“WikiLeaks is a non-profit media organization dedicated to bringing important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for independent sources around the world to leak information to our journalists. We publish material of ethical, political and historical significance while keeping the identity of our sources anonymous, thus providing a universal way for the revealing of suppressed and censored injustices” – (Wikileaks)

Wikileaks essentially publishes information that isn’t readily available to the general public. What they publish include articles written by the organisation’s journalists, embassy cables, and also warlogs, in particular the Iraq and Afghan War Diaries, along with military videos. This content that is published are generally referred to as “leaks”, because they have leaked the information in the first instance, and they are the first publisher to release that information. It’s not like Wikipedia that is built on open-access publishing, there are several methods for giving information to the journalists, and it’s worth a look at on the site.

 So the legality of Wikileaks, or at least what allows Wikileaks to argue their legality, is based upon the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights, In particular, Article 19 stating that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. (Wikleaks) This is basically Freedom of Information.

But another important aspect making Wikileaks legal are “Shield Laws”. Wikileaks’ base is in Sweden, a country which has probably the world’s best shield laws that protect confidential source-journalist relationships, which is a plus for journalists and ethical journalistic practices. (Woolner 2010, Wikipedia) Also, there is the argument that since Wikileaks is a publisher, it should have protection regarding freedom of the press. (Ingram 2010) In the “About” section of Wikileaks, they state that “Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people”. On of the role’s of the media as the 4th estate is to inform the public and ignite debate, and that is bascially what Wikileaks does.

Now in terms of it’s archiving system, Wikileaks is a “super archive”. Just a heads up before looking at the following mind map, Wikileaks has both links to the archives themselves from the Main Page, as well as a new Super Archive with everything every published, yet those that are not articles are mainly available to download in torrent form. You can browse through each archive through categories, types, dates of creation, countries, etc.

References

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Week 7 Tutorial 6

 

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Who’s Got Archive Fever?

How does the “archive” influence or decide the type of “archival” content? What is this archive instituting? Destroying? What new “inside” and “outside” does it constitute?

For those unfamiliar with the popular TV sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory’, let me introduce you to Dr Sheldon Cooper. With an IQ of 187, the Theoretical Physicist has, in his own words, “remembered everything since the day my mother stopped breastfeeding me”.  In fact, he says it was a “drizzly Tuesday”. This super-genius’s brain  is a magnificent archive. More so, he’s a human archive. But unlike Sheldon, it’s extremely difficult to remember every single thing that has ever happened, or keep a mental note of every thought or utterance without recording it somewhere else. This is why man created and continues to develop ‘Archives’.  

An ‘archive’ is any way in which we can store data and information so it can be accessed later. Archives can be physical, such as libraries, books, a collection of letters, etc, OR they can also be digital, such as YouTube, websites, an email inbox, etc. Jacques Derrida, author of ‘Archive Fever’, suggests that archives lay the basis for authority, because archives decide what is “inside” or “outside” of culture. This pretty much means that those who create archives and input data have control over what is recorded, preserved, destroyed, and what can or can’t be accessed. As such, you could consider what the data was like before it was put in the archive, and how it may affect how you engage with it.

Derrida argues that :

“The technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content…archivization produces as much as it records the event”. – (Derrida 1997, Stokes 2003, Enszer 2008)

Uh Oh, I can feel a case of “Archive Fever” coming along! “Archive Fever” encompasses how different modes of publishing constitutes our mode of living, structures information for perservation, distribution and access, and what  consequences may arise. With the advent of digital publishing you have video, email inbox, social media & blog archives, as well as websites acting as archives such as Hansard (recording the minutes of every parliamentary question time). What arises is the new-media philosophy that “if it’s not recent, it’s not important”. (Ogle 2009)

 Facebook lets you “download” a version of basically everything you’ve ever done using the site, and even has a “Photo Memories” tool. This way you have an archive of your thoughts posted, photos, and can experience an archive of emotions. The archives of this blog site, aided by “tagging” and “categories” not only stores the posts, but categorises them for future reference, and this is open to anyone. The way information is published in an archive creates the basis for how that data can be accessed in the future. Also, the correlation between archives and publishing can largely affect the possibilites of what can be done. If Freud communicated via email or text, then psychoanalysis would have been completely different back then.

 But, there are some negatives in the way digital publishing is enhancing archiving. If you record something in a diary, and keep it, it’s easy to find, because you’ve got the date on the page. But with Twitter, it’s extremely difficult to find what you’ve tweeted last month, let alone last week. The technology simply can do it easily, because of the attitude to what’s recent being the most important. For an interesting read on “archive fever” and this issue of retrieval systems, please visit http://mattogle.com/archivefever/ . The current MySchool website has changed the way parents choose prospective schools for their children. Is it “destroying” the whole concept of schooling and what schools to choose? 

As such, the data in archives allow for a form of content & expression in the type of data and how it is archived. As such, the issue in the transition from print to digital publishing is how new ways of archiving determines what is archivable.

References

  1.  Ogle, M 2009, ‘Archive Fever – A Love Letter To The Post Real-Time Web’’, http://mattogle.com/archivefever/ accessed 25March 2011
  2. Enszer, J.R. 2008, ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression by Jacques Derrida , http://julierenszer.blogspot.com/2008/11/archive-fever-freudian-impression-by.html , last accessed 26 March 2011
  3. Stokes, J 2003,   Reading Notes: Archive Fever’, http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2003/06/130.ars , accessed 25 March 2011
  4. School Of English, Media & Performing Arts 2011,  ‘ARTS2090 Publics & Publishing In Transition  – 2011 Course Outline’ , accessed from  http://arts2090.newsouthblogs.org/,   pp.33-35
  5. The featured Image is taken from the tumblr blog ‘Sheldon Cooper For The Win’ , http://sheldoncooper.tumblr.com/post/257699116/primetimesoapjunkie81-via-www-formulatv-com
 

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Assembling Publishing Publics

What is the Relationship Between Different Publishing Tools & Techniques & The Social In “Publishing Assemblages”?

May I present to you my very over-simplified diagram of the world of Publishing :

This diagram shows that within the complex world of publishing, there are subdivisions and networks that are, & continue to be created as the nature of publishing changes. These networks of social and technological interaction can be called “Publishing Assemblages”. It’s a network that centres on publishing and distributing content, the technolgies used, the expressions and forms that enable content to be published, and how publics nfluence publishing. So how are these publishing networks and relations changing?

One way of looking at these “Publishing Assemblages” is through the ‘Actor-Network Theory’  (ANT) developed by Bruno Latour and others. The following video explains ANT in plain English:

As the video explains, when studying networks, we often focus on the technological or social aspects which form the network. Arguments are that only technology accounts for any technological changes, versus social cultures determining technological changes. (Wikipedia 2011) The Actor-Network theory however suggests that all actants (elements) in a network, Social and Technologial, human or non-human, should be treated the same, as they are hard to distinguish. This is “Generalised Symmetry”.

“What seems to be Technical, is partly Social; and what seems to be Social, is partly technical” – (Delukie 2009)

Criticism comes down to “agency”, the capacity for humans to make choices and impose those choices in the world (Wikipedia 2011), being given to non-human actants. How do non-human actants have “intentions”? Also, it ignores power and pre-existing social standings.

So how does this all relate to ‘Publishing':

Here’s a simple example of eBook Publishing network. The human actants are of course publishers, software developers, readers/buyers, writers, adverstisers, etc. Non-human actants include iPads, Kindles, the software, libraries etc. According to ANT, everything has equal agency. But is it that simple? Let’s look at publishing tools for instance. Publishers and companies such as Amazon would influence what tool or media is used for the product, e.g. iPad, Kindle, PC. 

 The issue of publishing technology is tricky. If new-technology is made, the former becomes outdated, thus a change in the eBook network is apparent. The new technology is created as a result of social intentions.Yet, for example, if people aren’t buying Kindle’s, then publishers won’t give Amazon the authority to sell and distribute their eBook. Publishers have control. What this does then is distort the part of the network of eBook reader who read with Kindles. Thus, a change to iPad or PC only use may be the result of social influences. Pricing of eBooks may be influenced by the technology created, but there are human actants that have a stronger role in determing this.

 How an iPad or Kindle itself has intentions still puzzles me, which is why I’m not eager to accept the ANT. But all in all, when it comes down to complex publishing networks, it’s the social and technological aspects that result in the continuous creation of, and changes of publishing networks.

References

  1.  Wikipedia 2011, ‘Actor Network Theory, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actornetwork_theory , last modified 13 March 2011, accessed 19 March 2011
  2. Wikipedia 2011, A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity’, http://en.wikipedia.org/A_New_Philosophy_of_Society:_Assemblage_Theory_and_Social_Complexity , last accessed 19 March 2011
  3. Delukie 2009,  Khaki Films, ‘Actor-Network Theory In Plain English’, YouTube Video, accessed 18 March 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2YYxS6D-mI
  4. Wikipedia 2011, ‘Agency (philosophy)’ , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_(philosophy), last modified 16 March 2011, last accessed 20 March 2011
  5. School Of English, Media & Performing Arts 2011,  ‘ARTS2090 Publics & Publishing In Transition  – 2011 Course Outline’ , accessed from  http://arts2090.newsouthblogs.org/,   pp.29-32
 

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