Research Reading Rec: The Media in Latin America by Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando

“A book’s worth should be measured by what you can learn & carry away from it.”
— James Bryce

Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Media in Latin America ; Released April 2008
As Latin America media systems continue to study and utilize the latest trends/technology to build stronger digital networks across the entire region, at the same time both governments and corporations have been examining different ways this revolution will benefit their specific individual interests. In his latest manuscript, Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando approaches this exact subject with a country-by-country analysis that explores relevant aspects of the media in each society.

While analyzing the interrelationship of Latin America’s regional media to issues involving ownership, regulation policy, film, music, advertising and digital networks remains a Herculean task –Dr. Lugo-Ocando rises to the challenge and provides exceptional observations. Indeed, any student, professor, or researcher that’s pursuing research addressing international socioeconomic issues or foreign diplomatic relations needs to order this title post-haste.

And because Dr. Lugo-Ocando’s book provides such an extensive, comprehensive and critical overview of Latin America’s most important media systems, renown academic leaders were eager to voice their enthusiastic praise. Ramesh Jaura, Chairman of the Global Cooperation Council, has toted the book as a fascinating text which “provides a comprehensive insight into the modern Latin America media landscape.”  Additionally, University of Glasgow Professor Philip Schlesinger testifies that, “For those who want to understand the current realities that shape media performance from the Gulf of Mexico to the Tierra del Fuego, here is the ideal beginning.”

Other works written by Dr. Lugo-Ocando include such titles as: Statistics for Journalists (2011), ICTs, Democracy & Development (2009), and Glosario para Periodistas (2001).

About Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando ;
Lecturer in Journalism Studies @ The University of Sheffield
Although he practices as an internationally known faculty expert, teaching Journalism Philosophy and Practices at one of the UK’s leading communications programs, Dr. Lugo-Ocando formerly worked as a field correspondent for numerous newspapers, magazines and radio stations in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and the United States. He received a MA degree from Lancaster University, then his PhD from the University of Sussex. His main research interests include examining ideas addressing South American Media Democratization and the interrelationship between the developing World and ‘Digital Technologies’.

Outside his academic work, Dr. Lugo-Ocando currently sits on the advisory board of OXFAM-GB’s ‘Asylum Positive Image Project’; serves as an Associate Editor to the Journal of Latin American Communication Research, and the academic journal Temas de Comunicacion.

In between research projects or teaching, Professor Lugo-Ocando travels frequently to speak at global conferences and has recently delivered guest lectures at various campuses including: Columbia University (New York), the Universidad de los Andes (Venezuela), and IQRA University (Pakistan). Keeping in trend to engage inquiring audiences both on and offline, one can connect with Dr. Lugo-Ocando via LinkedIn or follow his Twitter feed – @jairolugo.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Student Spotlight: Camila Vallejo’s Commitment to reform Chilean Higher Education

“Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?”
— Anne Frank

Courtesy of K12.KN3.net

The first time one sees a picture of Camila Vallejo, it’s an easy mistake to think that she closely resembles Catherine Zeta-Jones, or perhaps she looks like a distant Chilean relation to newly-minted royal Kate Middleton.  The 24-year old, Universidad de Chile student looks poised, bright-eyed, conversational and mostly nonchalant despite a growing paparazzi following that began documenting Vallejo’s life ever since early 2011.  This spotlight attention which constantly exposes her leadership efforts to bring change to Chile’s higher education system, echoes a true-to-life reality that history’s most admired figures all learned intimately: for those who enjoy substantial privilege, there comes a great responsibility.

Last spring Chilean college students started organizing the demonstration in order to voice their discontent about the country’s universities shortcomings to policymakers, and quickly nominated Vallejo as the movement’s premier spokesperson. Aware that such a role required one to stifle their anxiety, maintain composure and act peacefully, she eagerly pledged a commitment to support the initiative. One year later, her involvement receives international media coverage whether she’s traveling to meet with other Latin America students or just grabbing a coffee while waiting to begin the next speaking engagement.  A interview feature for UK-based, The Guardian, reports that the events concerning Chile’s higher education carry big political implications, “Sebastian Piñera, Chile’s president, has just 22% public approval ratings, the lowest ever in Chilean history.” Apparently the girl from Ipanema needs to take the back seat, because the world’s attention recently shifted to studying a young reformer hailing from La Florida.

Courtesy of http://www.Lupa.Io

Comparatively, although the ‘@GurlFromIpanema‘ describes herself as a ‘world traveler/saleswoman,’ who loves art, cocktails, and salsa; @Camila_Vallejo’s credentials date back to 2008 when she began acting as a prominent counselor to ‘Fech’ – also known as the Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile.  Shortly after this, she was voted the organization’s November 2010 President.  It’s a shining testament to her character as the 105 year-old student union nominated only one other female president. Although her bid to win another presidential term failed, her growing web presence will certainly prepare one to endure a political career long term. In addition to building an extensive YouTube archive, her Twitter account alone connects with 590,000+ followers.

Moreover, Vallejo’s online presence also expresses the empathy she feels toward similar movements taking place all over Latin America. This past summer when Mexican university students kicked off the ‘#YoSoy132′ movement to contest recent Presidential election results, Vallejo made a trip to the capital, ready and willing to lend assistance wherever possible. These collaborative moments reassure the lingering doubts she maintains about creating truly sustainable changes.  She frequently points out how “in Chile we are constantly hearing the message that our goals are impossible and that we are unrealistic, but the rest of the world, especially the youth, are sending us so much support. We are at a crucial moment in this struggle and international support is key.” Indeed, such efforts to band together as Latin America students proves an advantageous strategy as they try to overcome every new challenge involving higher education reformation.

So how will a University of Chile alum turned ‘media powerhouse’, with such an extensive, international reputation play her next move? A book deal seems more rewarding than a reality TV show, so that’s exactly what Vallejo set to accomplish right before the year’s end. In Janurary 2013, Vallejo’s new book entitled Podemos Cambiar el Mundo (We Can Change the World) will come out highlighting a collection of op-ed pieces she’s written, that outline the many problems plaguing Chile’s incredibly dysfunctional higher education system.  The book also discusses what Vallejo predicts will need to happen if South American countries want to adequately prepare future students to enter an increasingly, competitive, global financial market.  Not including the book pre-orders from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. the title already pre-sold 3,000 copies when launched earlier this fall.

Fortunately, modern emerging media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Blogs allow a person to track the spotlight highlighting innovative education student leaders like Camila Vallejo, and support their efforts despite one’s physical address. And in watching Vallejo’s influence gain recognition more and more every day, it’s encouraging to know that her digital footprint serves as a positive reminder… any great change starts with a single, small action.

Buena Suerta mi Amiga y Continuarse!

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Has Social Media Revived or Revolutionized Salon Scholarship?

This week’s theme and blog post highlight various readings which address Shifting Models of Creation/ Participation in Art & Pop Culture.

As I set out to prepare and review my notes and ideas for my Case Study presentation, admittedly, I struggled to find a new media object that would best capture my presentation’s theme and compliment the assigned readings. Bunnies, Cookies, and Podcasts had been all used up so I thought harder. I am interested in International Communications; we’re going to discuss shifting models of creation/participation amongst art and pop culture… How do these things relate back to EMAC 6300?

When a very kind and brilliant professor advised me took back and explore how Lev Manovich describes a new media object, I heeded her guidance and stumbled upon this little nugget which began to solidify things-

“What is new media? We may begin answering this question by listing the categories, which are commonly discussed under this topic in popular press: Internet, Web sites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVD, virtual reality. Is this all new media is? For instance, what about television programs which are shot on digital video and edited on computer workstations? Or what about feature films which use 3D animation and digital compositing? Shall we count these as new media? In this case, what about all images and text image compositions — photographs, illustrations, layouts, ads — which are also created on computers and then printed on paper? Where shall we stop?”

Courtesy of Dean Terry ; Flickr.com

What about a classroom where students transcribe their musings and observations into a rolling feed stream via the Internet while at the same time analyze and critically discuss various other media platforms such as videos, paintings, literature, and song? Could this not also be a new media object? I’m inclined to vote yes; but that’s not where this case study is headed.

To a certain degree I would qualify our Wednesday evening class that meets at 7pm every week as a new media object. Our class incorporates technology in to the traditional components of communication and media so therefore it retains a ‘new media’ aura. However I think the more appropriate label is something I like to refer to as ‘Salon Scholarship’. Salon Scholarship occurs when academics congregate at any given time to converse, theorize, collaborate, observe and record thoughts on a certain topic or idea. Salon Scholarship requires participating using communication to express one’s ideas to those gathered. More often than not addressing these concepts amongst a group leads to inspirational creativity. And so the question presents itself.. Has Social Media Revived or Revolutionized Salon Scholarship?

When we look at all the online platforms we participate in every day (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, FlickR, SlideShare, Prezi, YouTube, etc.) we’re participating as online citizens who converses with our peers, family and friends about relevant topics and at times create art, opportunities, or other expressions of life that thrive amongst the technology that pushes us forward. As we see things today are Convergence and Salon Scholarship a nostalgic throw back to the times of The Renaissance, Moileré, and Mary Shelley? Or has social media revolutionized the model to a point of no return and altered the idea entirely? We’ll participate in a lively debate over these questions and create our own conclusions. Of course this also means we’ll celebrate as scholars in fantastic salon fashion!

Til Soon-
AM

Is New Media Violating Small, Town USA? Do They Enjoy It?

This year I decided to spend the Labor Day holiday outside of Dallas, about 4 hours away, nestled in the Texas Hill Country, while resting at my family country home in Fredericksburg, Texas.  Over the weekend I came across a quote that perfectly captured my intentions for the weekend, “Spending One Day in the Country, Makes a Month in the City Worth It…”

For those not familiar with this quaint, German settlement just outside of Austin, Fredericksburg is full of delightful entertainments to make a weekend go right along.  Whether you find yourself drinking wine amongst the local vineyards, or popping your head into antique shops down Main Street, when city folks arrive to enjoy their weekend stay—those ugly, mundane to-dos that occupy the majority of one’s day back in the city simply melt away.  I took a breath and paused.

My intention over the weekend was above all things to forget about work.  As I mentioned before I work in Social Media outside of pursuing my Master’s degree in Emerging Media and Communications, so for one weekend only I wanted to perhaps, not live La Vida New Media for a brief 72 hours.  Where better to do this than in the quiet country home with no landline and no cell phone charger.

Here’s the thing…as much as I wanted to leave my La Vida New Media in Dallas for the weekend in exchange for a quite country get away… it turns out that even in Small Town, USA folks can still live some type of New Media Vida, and I think they’re kind of enjoying it.

When my parents bought our family house in 1993, Fredericksburg was half the size it is now.  It had half the stores; half the restaurants but some of the same stores I walked to on Main Street when I was 10 are still in the same spot 17 years later.  However 17 years later, they promote a Facebook Fan page.  Take Hondo’s for the example – the local cantina watering hole has a lively 405 fans, 4 or so photo albums, 7 outside link connections, and an Events Tab…

I have to wonder— Would Fredericksburg have experienced the tremendous amount of growth over the years had it not been for the development of new media?  The underlying question to all of this, narrative anecdote aside, is the following: Is the power of New Media Violating Small Town, USA?  And more to the point, are they enjoying it?

It’s quite a quandary… by exposing a small town to a vast and infinite audience online, they run the risk of garnering up such media attention and tourism that eventually the powerhouse brands will attempt to move in and secure a piece of the market share that the local brands have enjoyed a monopoly on for so long.  However, without continued growth, new development, and change the small town will not generate an evolving presence that will allow it to keep up with the times.

It’s a tough question to answer and I am still scratching my head over the question even though I had a glorious 4-hour car ride home to mull it over.  If you do get a chance to head down to Fredericksburg any time soon, be sure to stop by the local burger shop, and drink a beer at Hondo’s, buy an antique map of Texas, then fan the places you liked upon your return home.  I hope that Fredericksburg will remain the rare exception that can continue to enjoy growth but still keep it’s country charm while livin’ la vida new media—