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The name of the program I was invited to participate in--it was originally framed as an interview, but it was a bit more like a discussion, is Where We Live, hence the title of this post, and the host is John Dankowsky, and here's what he looks like:
Not that you need to know what he looks like, since this is radio after all, but that's what the web does to radio, for good and mostly ill I would say. Not that there's anything wrong with the way this fellow looks, mind you, just that it ruins the whole mystique of radio, with its disembodied voices from the ether... but what can you do, that's the way the media environment crumbles, so they say, and ether way you look at things, there's nothing much to be done about it. So, for good measure, here's another picture for ya:
So, anyway, I do want to say that I very much liked this guy, John Dankowsky, I thought he was a bright and articulate host, and needless to say, I was very pleased to discover that he has an interest in media ecology. Very cool. So anyway, John's program, Where We Live, is described as follows:
This WNPR-produced, interactive program explores important issues and ideas that affect where, how and even why people live in Connecticut – and how Connecticut fits into a global society. Using the award-winning producers of WNPR News, Where We Live expands in-depth, original reporting, creating conversations that will draw in newsmakers, opinion leaders and engaged citizens.Not too shabby, eh? And you can get this and more on the Where We Live website, which I've linked to here, so if you had just clicked on Where We Live you'd be home by now. But you might miss the rest of this blog post. And there really isn't that much more to it, so stick around just a little bit more, whydon'tya?
So, the program I participated in aired on Wednesday, August 13, 2008, and if you're reading this blog post soon after its posting, there will still be a link right on the Where We Live page, under the heading of Episodes, the episode bearing the title Media Ecology: Is Technology Helping? If not, you may have to go back through the archives from that page. Or... just click here to go the episode's very own page.
The episode begins with the author, Dick Meyer, talking about his recently published book, Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millenium. Dick is the editorial director of digital media at NPR, and was a longtime columnist and reporter for CBS News. His book is very much in line with other cultural critiques familiar to media ecologists, such as Daniel Boorstin's The Image, Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism, and more recently Tom de Zengotita's Mediated. The critique is about the decline of civility and community, and the tendency to be divisive and argumentative, in contemporary American culture. It's basically a rant, with some sense that media play a role in what's happened--after all, he's a journalist/columnist, not a scholar's in-depth study. Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death is listed in the bibliography, but not discussed in the book itself, missing out on Neil's cogent explanation for the decline of discourse. McLuhan is mentioned, misquoted actually, but does not appear in the bibliography. Overall, Meyer provides a good overview of the symptoms, which can be useful to someone employing a media ecological framework to provide an explanation for why things have changed.
As you can tell, I actually went out and bought the book prior to the show, and read it. But as it turns out, the part of the show I was involved with, while continuing the discussion on whether technology is good or bad (a good question for generating a lot of heat, but not much light), did not directly address Dick Meyer's Why We Hate Us. Oh well, reading it certainly did no harm!
So, Meyer was on for about 15-20 minutes, and then he was gone and they turned to me, and to Alex Halavais, a professor at Quinnipiac University, who I know through communication, and media ecology circles, and they also had folks calling in. I had the pleasure of sitting in one of WFUV's studios at Fordham University--WFUV is our own outstanding public radio station. The discussion itself was quite good, I thought, given the limited time that even a public radio program affords.
On an interesting side note, I mentioned that I was getting tweets on Twitter during the program, although unfortunately no one tweeted anything worth mentioning, and not long after the program aired, several new people started following me on Twitter.
So, on the Media Ecology: Is Technology Helping? page you can listen to or download the entire program, there's an area to leave comments, they have a link for the Media Ecology Association, and a link to a page they set up for me! Check it out by clicking here! I am very pleased to be included on their website as well as their program, so I'll stop yakking here so that you can go listen to me yakking there. And why not leave a comment on their Media Ecology: Is Technology Helping? page, if you feel like it? I'm sure they'd appreciate you utilizing the technology to its fullest.