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Susan Moeller

Keeping Haiti on My Mind

Antonio Lambino's picture

The snow is finally melting in Washington, D.C. and its surrounding areas.  Things seem to be on their way to returning to business as usual. 

We have just gotten through back-to-back blizzards worse than most seen in a century, evidenced in part by the stunned old-timers and record-setting snowfall levels.  That said, what we have recently experienced here is a far cry from the devastation and suffering caused by natural disasters in other parts of the world, such as the recent typhoon in Southeast Asia and earthquake in Haiti.  But that’s not the impression one would take away from the local and national news coverage of these snowstorms.

Rarely warranted hyperbole has become typical in coverage of natural disasters.  Take, for example, what some print and broadcast news outlets named their snowstorm coverage: “Snowmageddon”, “Snowpocalypse”, and “Snowtorius B.I.G.”  Jon Stewart, executive producer and host of Comedy Central’s fake news program The Daily Show, poked fun at these ridiculous appellations.  And quite rightly, I think. 

New Media and Accountability

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Susan's blog on media literacy and the outcome of the Presidential Election in the U.S. reminded me of a discussion I recently had with several communication scholars, among them French sociologist Daniel Dayan. We were talking about the difference between "old" and "new" media, and their respective roles in society. The main point that refers to Susan's post and to development is: old media's function is mainly the dissemination of information. New media's function is entirely different! New media are a new form of audience, or rather, they are an extension of the audience. This extension enables the audience to participate. New media are therefore media of participation, going way beyond dissemination.