Today’s political candidates campaign in a world in which news and information travels with unprecedented speed and arrives on smartphones that we carry in our pockets.
But modern technology has not produced a more informed and educated electorate. In fact, when New Jersey voters go to the polls on Nov. 5 to choose a candidate for governor, they may be less prepared to make that decision than they were four years ago.
For starters, the size of newsroom staffs at news outlets covering the state has decreased through buyouts, layoffs and other cutbacks. At the same time, the growth of the Internet has altered the manner in which news is gathered, reported and disseminated, placing new demands on depleted news staffs. Neither of these developments is unique to New Jersey, but our experience in the Garden State may provide a lesson for the rest of the nation. Because we are the most densely populated state in the country, public policy issues often emerge here first – and we are among the first to react and respond to them. Read more…
With Chris Christie up for re-election on Tuesday, I’ll be updating my study on Who’s the Real Jersey Guy: Chris Christie or Bruce Springsteen?
My wife Anne Lee will join me in making the presentation on Thursday at the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association (MAPACA) conference in Atlantic City.
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I presented a paper at the New York State Communication Association conference in Ellenville, N.Y., on Oct. 19.
I was the Political Communication in a Networked World panel with my St. Bonaventure colleague Ben Gross, an assistant professor of sociology, Ben presented a paper titled What Makes Someone a Cyber Balkan? Finding the Linkages between Social Psychology and Self-Selectivity in U.S Politics Online, and I explored the question Are the Media Leaving Today’s Voters Less Informed?
More details are in this story in The Bona Venture, our campus newspaper.
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My op-ed on voters and the media appeared in several publications this week. You’ll find links to each one below:
A few months ago, WSBU-FM did a throwback issue of its magazine and asked the DJs to review albums we felt had been especially influential. I did mine on Lou Reed’s Transformer album. I’m posting it here in honor of a man who influenced countless musicians and writer. His influence on rock’n’roll will live on.
Reed as the ‘Transformer’ of Rock’n’Roll
It’s not the amount of copies Transformer has sold that makes it one of the most significant recordings in rock’n’roll history. Instead, the 1972 Lou Reed album secured its legacy by impacting the path rock traveled in the four decades after its release.
If not for Transformer’s success, Reed’s old band, the Velvet Underground, would today be considered simply a New York group that had a brief career and a small, but loyal, following. But Transformer’s popularity sparked interest in the Velvets and brought their music to new audiences, influencing many artists who would shape rock’n’roll’s future.
No song did more to send folks scouring record bins for old Velvet albums than “Walk on the Wild Side.” The track captured the essence of the world Reed inhabited. At a time when popular songs were celebrating new attitudes toward sex, love and drugs, Reed was telling the other side of the story. Like his work with the Velvets, “Walk on the Wild Side” was filled with tales about transvestites, male prostitutes and junkies.
The song was based upon people who had been part of Reed’s circle when he fronted the Velvets and worked with Andy Warhol. It provided a bridge between Reed’s work with the band and his career as a solo artist. But the song never would have become a classic if it had not been so perfectly structured and produced. It opens with double bass lines that set the stage for Reed’s monotone-like vocals, which are interspersed with a touch of soul from a female chorus. A saxophone solo ends the recording, but leaves the impression that there is more to the story.
While “Walk on the Wild Side” remains the best known song from the album, there are other reasons to listen to Transformer. “Vicious,” the record’s opening track, puts the listener on immediate notice that this is a different type of album as Reed issues a variety of nasty threats and warnings. “I’m So Free” is an upbeat number in which the singer declares and celebrates his freedom. And “Perfect Day” is a ballad filled with positive lyrics that belie the somber tone of the music.
Transformer also owes its place in rock history to the man who co-produced it – David Bowie. Bowie, who was becoming an international superstar, was a fan of the Velvets and regularly performed their songs in concert. Although Reed’s emergence as a solo artist could have threatened Bowie’s growing fan base, he chose to embrace the American’s work and give it his imprimatur. If not for that unselfish decision, Transformer would not have been the same album, and rock’n’roll history would have been forever altered.
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This article originally appeared in the March 26, 2013, issue of The Buzzworthy.
Click here to read the review of Lou’s 1974 ‘Rock’n'Roll Animal’ LP. The arm in the staged photo accompanying the article is mine.
President Obama’s news conference on the IRS started about 20 minutes late yesterday. It’s not unusual for a president – or a governor or a mayor – to run behind schedule. They usually try to fill their days with as many events and activities as possible, and the demands of their jobs often send preset schedules off kilter.
But Obama’s tardiness yesterday came at a most inopportune time and represented a public relations miscue of sorts.
Because cameras already were set up at the White House, cable news viewers were shown the image of an empty podium while pundits discussed the president’s upcoming remarks. This created two problems. Read more…
Yesterday, I shared an example of a bad public relations practice. Today, we’ll examine a technique that worked very successfully – Angelina Jolie’s New York Times op-ed about her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy because her doctors estimated she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Why do I consider Jolie’s announcement a successful use of public relations? For starters, she used an op-ed as the vehicle to convey her message. Op-ed articles are one of the rare public relations tools that allow individuals and organizations to choose their own wording and phrasing when they communicate with the public. With it comes to press releases, press conferences, speeches, interviews and other public relations tools, the journalists who report those stories select the parts (if any) of those materials that make it into their news accounts.