Recent Book News

Uses of Blogs, edited by Joanne Jacobs and me, is now out on Peter Lang. Order now!

My book Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production is now available from - order it here!

Where Was I?

Backtracking a bit to cover some events from the last couple of weeks. That Ten News story I taped finally ran on Friday 24 June, but with all the delays and amidst other (and perhaps more urgent and timely) news stories it didn't turn out quite as well as it might have - in the end they used only a short soundbite from what had been probably five minutes' worth of material in the interview. That's the nature of these 'soft' news stories, I guess - they're ready to be chopped and changed as required when more important stories come to hand. What we had thought it would be was a more substantial piece to be promoted throughout the week, but in the end they ran only one promo for it on Thursday night. Ah well.

Welcome to Iceworld

OK, I really have to get back to blogging again. I suppose I blog the most when exciting and interesting things are happening, but the last few weeks, filled with chores between the end of one semester and the start of the next, have been difficult to say the least. I have tried hard to keep my weekends free from work-related tasks at least, though - with varying levels of success. Will try and post a few updates on current projects over the next few days.

One thing I have been able to do is to compile Iceworld, a CD of some ambient soundscapes I've tinkered with over the last few months. These are mainly improvs very much in a 'drone, bleep, blurt' mode, recorded live and edited into a series of individual tracks. The CD clocks in at just over 70 minutes and generally has a somewhat antarctic feel to me (hence the title); I've made it available here in MP3 format under a Creative Commons licence. Having listened to them a few times today, I'm quite fond of these tracks - "The Factory Ship" in particular has some very impressive bottom end on a good sub-woofer... Any comments are very welcome. (I might write a little more about how I've recorded these at another time.)

M/C Journal 'copy' Issue Launched

Today I sent out the announcement for the latest issue of M/C Journal, edited by Rachel Cobcroft and Susanna Leisten:


                          M/C - Media and Culture
            is proud to present issue three in volume eight of

                                M/C Journal

          'copy' - Edited by Rachel Cobcroft and Susanna Leisten

On the News Tonight...

Well, tune in to Ten news tonight - that segment I taped the other day will be on; it already made it into yesterday's previews. While generally I'm a little bemused by the idea of being able to preview what will be in the news tomorrow (not exactly news then, is it?), I guess in this case it makes sense... Let's hope I did, too.

Rakin' It In

Just when I'm starting to bag the Federal government, they're starting to hand out the dough (but they'll have to do plenty more to change my rock-bottom opinion of them). Aaanyway, it's been a good day for us at QUT, with to funding decisions in favour of the Creative Industries Faculty: not only will we be setting up a new ARC Centre of Excellence in Cultural and Media Industries, but in addition our founding Dean John Hartley will become a Federation Fellow.

Past Futures

It's nice to see your students do well after university - and especially if they remember you. Today an ex-student of mine who now works for Channel Ten in Brisbane came by to interview me for their Friday news show. He's found some 1980s news footage about the (then) impending changes due to the rise of computers, and is putting together a kind of reality check and update of the predictions made back then.

So, I talked about the 'computers will take over our lives' scenario from back then, and how it has, and hasn't, come true by now - yes, they're almost ubiquitous in our everyday lives, but they still aren't much smarter or in control of us than they were then. The main thing that has happened, and continues to happen, is the gradual shift away from manual and menial and towards more intellectual and creative work environments which computers have enabled - with all the negatives of workforce changes and unemployment for some, and the positives of more interesting and self-determined work for others. Has the computer destroyed more jobs than it's created, or is it the other way around? Perhaps that's not the most important question, as it's unlikely that we can change or stop the trend even if we wanted to. Rather, we need to make sure that new opportunities are made available to those who are disadvantaged by the changes. (Of course, socially responsible policy is not something the Howard government has ever been interested in...)

M/C Journal 'print' Issue Launched

I produced the latest issue of M/C Journal last night, which was edited by my colleagues Glen Thomas and Jaz Choi:


                         M/C - Media and Culture
             is proud to present issue two in volume eight of

                               M/C Journal

                'print' - Edited by Glen Thomas & Jaz Choi

Setting the Record Straight

I've been meaning to post something about this for a while: in response to that silly article in The Australian recently, some 40 of us in the Creative Industries Faculty (which is what, half the permanent staff?) have written a joint response which was published in the letters section a couple of weeks ago. This was a spontaneous response by staff, not an action orchestrated by Faculty management, and so should demonstrate the massive groundswell of disgust and disagreement engendered by the original article (whose sheer cluelessness and lack of consideration for fellow students and staff continues to amaze me). Unfortunately, the authors of that article still haven't given up on their self-appointed crusade, sending out yet another diatribe (which was largely ignored by all) through an internal forum. Their persistence in the face of so many helpful corrections to their misconceptions reminds me of the old joke about the driver going up the wrong highway access ramp, then hearing a radio warning that someone is going in the wrong direction on the highway: 'What do you mean, someone? There's hundreds of them!' Anyway, here's the full letter we sent to The Australian, with all signatories:


My postgraduate coursework student Qiongli Wu pointed me to the Trendwatching site the other day - very interesting stuff. This ties right in with much creative industries theory, and especially points to the rise in user-led content production which is also at the heart of the open news and blogging phenomena I write about in my Gatewatching book. Of course in watching for new trends in this field the Trendwatching team are involved in a form of gatewatching - and what's more, they've even set up a world-wide network of what they call 'springspotters' to help them carry out this task.


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