July 06, 2012

My Blog Among Royal Roads University Alumni ‘Featured Blogs’

Thanks RRU!

Check it out here.

Posted by Paul at 09:04 PM

November 02, 2007

MA Convocation From Royal Roads

I convocated from Royal Roads University today with a Master of Arts in Professional Communication.

It was delightful to be back on the gorgeous RRU grounds surrounded by my exuberant peers. The day was marred only by the absence of my mother, who died on April 5 this year, as I was completing my major project. As she steadily and swiftly weakened from a recurrence of cancer, she insisted that I focus on my project. She was a huge supporter of my doing the program, both intellectually and monetarily, and she was sorely missed.

Thanks, Mom, wish you could have been there, and you were -- in my heart.

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My anchor and my inspiration, my loving wife, Yumi.

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Posted by Paul at 10:02 PM

June 16, 2007

Finished Royal Roads MA Program!

I have completed my Master of Arts in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University!

My team submitted its final case study today, and that's it, that's all she wrote, the fat lady has sung, and (as one of my teammates put it) Elvis has left the building. See, I'm a much better communicator now :-).

After these last two intensive, stimulating years of getting a graduate degree while continuing to work, I feel lost. It will be lonely not reading and contributing to online discussion boards every day, and interacting with my cohort. I'll be in withdrawal for awhile.

Overall it's been a great experience, and I'd certainly endorse the program. It wasn't perfect, mind you, but with my cohort being just the third since the degree got underway, there were bound to be some kinks to work out. The faculty has many brilliant members, and I urge present and prospective learners to take full advantage of them.

The two three-week on-campus residencies on the beautiful RRU grounds were amazing -- an intellectual boot camp that in the first year quickly had us all pulling together, and in the second feeling like a Band of Brothers and Sisters :-). The residencies are one of RRU's greatest strengths. They bond learners with learners, and learners with instructors, and I don't see how the program would work without them.

It's been a hell of a ride and I'm going to miss you all!

As for the next while, I'm going to take it easy for a couple of months over the summer and decompress. I may even, ahem, finish some of the textbooks in which I just skimmed the "good parts." :-)

I remember stumbling into the lounge in the dorm at 5:30 a.m. one morning during the first residency to brew some tea and get an early start on some reading. A veteran learner from the previous year's cohort was already there (he was from another time zone and still adjusting) and we got to talking about the voluminous readings. He gave me some excellent advice: "The most important thing to learn is to quickly judge what you MUST read, and what you can leave for later."

Then come autumn, I aim to start putting some of my new knowledge to use.

Thank you fellow learners, thank you instructors, thank you RRU staff and librarians.

Posted by Paul at 07:29 PM

June 07, 2007

Unwinding as RRU Program Nears End

I have less than ten days to go in my Master of Arts in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University. One more case study to write up, and we're done! I wonder what it will be like to have a "normal" life back. Here's one indicator of how busy it's been the last few months -- a stack of unread magazines in my office :-).

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Once I plow through these, I look forward to reading books this summer that are not on an assigned list!

Posted by Paul at 01:33 PM

June 03, 2007

Submitted Master's Project

Yee-hah! I submitted my master's project today for my Master of Arts in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University. Whew!

After I uploaded it, I felt drained. We still have two weeks to go in our last class, and have one more team case study to complete, so it's hard to celebrate.

Two weeks to go!

I'm also feeling a bit bereft, because while it's been a tough slog the last two years, it's also been a blast working with so many great people, co-learners and profs alike. It'll be hard letting go. And moving on... And deciding where to go now in my career...

I just wish Mom was here to see me finish, and to attend convocation this autumn. She was looking forward to it. She was so thrilled that I decided to go back to school that she paid my tuition -- kind of embarrassing for a grown man in his 40s, but that's what she wanted to do for me and I appreciate it so much.

She'd be happy to know that I pulled through -- when she was getting sick this spring she kept insisting that I focus on my project, and while I fell behind on my initial drafts, I made the final deadline.

Thanks, Mom. I love you.

Posted by Paul at 06:55 PM

January 31, 2007

How Do Canada's National Newspapers Frame Sustainability?

This is the topic of my research project for my MA in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University.

At no time have people been more concerned about sustainability than they are now. We read and hear about environmental sustainability, corporate sustainability, sustainable development, and building sustainable communities. The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change published on October 30, 2006, forecast that human impact on climate change could result in damage to economic growth on the scale of the great wars and the economic depression in the last century. It was followed by stories based on an article in the journal Science projecting that global fish and other seafood stocks could completely collapse by 2048 if they continue to be lost at their present rate.

A recent Angus Reid poll called Canadians Question Government on Environment shows that 71% of Canadians do not think the federal government is doing enough on pollution and climate control, and in another Angus Reid poll, Environment Becomes Key Concern in Canada, 26% of Canadians say the environment is their top issue when it comes to the next national election, beating all other categories.

How are mass media framing sustainability? How does media coverage relate to the original concept of ?sustainable development? proposed by a United Nations commission nearly 20 years ago? The World Commission on Environment and Development issued the Brundtland Report in 1987, saying ?sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.? Is there evident bias in how mass media report on sustainable development??in how the issue is framed? If there are biases in how mass media frame issues of sustainability, what are they?

In particular, how do the National Post and The Globe and Mail, which respectively are viewed as being Canada?s conservative and liberal national newspapers, frame sustainability and sustainable development? Do they cover the same stories? What are their biases, if any? How do they differ? How are they similar? What sources do they use? The underlying hypothesis of this research is that coverage and sources differ between the two newspapers, with the National Post slanted toward conservative stories highlighting business and economic impacts, and citing government and business sources, while the The Globe and Mail takes a more liberal stance, and cites more non-governmental organizations and environmentalists.

This research will shed light on the framing of sustainability in Canada?s national newspapers so that readers are aware of what is covered and how it is covered. The media play a huge role in setting agendas and framing the news, and citizens will benefit by becoming more discerning consumers of what they read.

Posted by Paul at 09:30 PM

January 23, 2007

Review: How to Do Media & Cultural Studies

How to Do Media & Cultural Studies
by Jane Stokes

This is one of two texts I'm reading in preparation for researching and writing my final project for my MA in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University.

It's a slim tome at less than 200 pages, but it covers the bases and provides references to more detailed works in specific areas.

I am on the last lap of the program, with two classes and my SP (short project) to go. If all goes well, I should be done around June, and while I've greatly enjoyed the program, my professors and my fellow learners, I'm looking forward to finishing.

Posted by Paul at 08:54 PM

October 31, 2006

Frosty Halloween Morning at Royal Roads

It was a frosty morning at Royal Roads University in Victoria today, with the temperature at -1 C. The cold, fresh air cleared my mind as I took an early morning walk to prepare for another long, intensive day in residency. This is my second, and last, residency in the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program, and with a little over two days to go on campus, my feelings are bittersweet. I've really enjoyed it and have loved the intensive work with so many amazing people. I'm going to miss everyone. But I also want to go home. I think these wintry shots evoke that feeling a bit as they signify a changing of the seasons, death, and looking forward to rebirth...

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Posted by Paul at 10:20 PM

Royal Roads MAPC Poster Preparation

Learners in the Royal Roads University Master of Arts in Professional Communication program are gearing up for their poster presentations with which they will display their major project tomorrow. My research question is "How Do Canada's National Newspapers Frame Sustainability?" Here's a shot of my poster in progress and a shot of the final product. Am I happy with it? Well, lets just say that it is colorful and legible... :-)

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Posted by Paul at 10:12 PM

October 22, 2006

Royal Roads Gardens

After studying for about eight hours, I took a break and walked around the gardens at Royal Roads University this afternoon. While the autumn colors were past their peak, the gardens were still wonderful.

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Posted by Paul at 08:18 PM

Royal Roads Sunrise

It looks like we're heading toward several days of rain here in Victoria over the coming week, so I took advantaqe of a quiet Sunday morning during my residency at Royal Roads University to get out for a walk before sunrise.

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I ran across this deer just before the sun broke the horizon. My Canon SD400 does not do well in low light, particularly at the telephoto end of its range.

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Another deer was inquisitive. I spotted it 30-40 meters down a path, and as I talked to it in a low, gentle voice, it gradually ambled toward me, ears pitched and eyes ogling.

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Here's the sun breaking over the lagoon.

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A sailboat on the dock.

I ran into a couple of other learners and we watched the changing colors as the sun rose.

Posted by Paul at 08:08 PM

October 21, 2006

Autumn Colors at Royal Roads University

The autumn colors are gorgeous here at Royal Roads University. I took a break from studying this Saturday afternoon and took a walk around the grounds. You could spend the whole day from sunrise to sunset exploring the photographic opportunities here.

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Hatley Castle -- I'm looking forward to our tour next weekend.

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Canada geese in the lagoon.

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Two of the famous peacocks.

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A tiny garter snake. I've never seen one this small.

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The trees have wonderful personalities.

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And so do leaves and needles.

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Posted by Paul at 09:30 PM

October 17, 2006

Evening at Royal Roads Lagoon

I ambled down to the lagoon at Royal Roads University after my last class today and found several rowing sculls hard at training. The sky was filled with billowing clouds as the sun sank toward the horizon.

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Posted by Paul at 09:31 PM

October 15, 2006

Royal Roads Second Residency

I headed off to Royal Roads University today for the second three-week residency in my Master of Arts in Professional Communication program. I'm really looking forward to the residency. It's a chance to catch up face-to-face with other learners in my cohort.

It rained much of the night in Burnaby, and was still raining as I drove out to the ferry. I was happy with the rain because returning salmon need higher water in local creeks to spawn, yet I was a bit disappointed that learners from across Canada had missed our gorgeous late summer and autumn. The crossing was overcast and drizzling, yet by the time I reached the campus the sun had broken through -- a good omen!

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The crossing from Tsawassen to Swartz Bay was misty and monochromatic.

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Evening avenue of trees on campus.

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The lagoon at sunset viewing Fort Rodd Hill.

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Another view of the lagoon.

Posted by Paul at 06:16 PM

August 14, 2006

Finished First Year of Royal Roads MAPC!

Whew! Yesterday I finished my first year in the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program at Royal Roads University.

It's been a heck of a ride so far, and I've been really enjoying it. The combination of a three-week on-campus residency at the beginning of each year followed by online distance learning has been working well. While the online system of team and classwide discussions, email and chats has been productive and stimulating, I'm really looking forward to my second residency in October.

Learners are told to expect 20 - 25 hours a week of reading, researching, discussion and paper writing while they are in the program, and I think that's a pretty fair assessment. Some weeks the load is lower and some weeks higher, but it likely balances out in that range. While I've greatly enjoyed the classes, I'm looking forward to a break!

Posted by Paul at 11:34 AM

April 22, 2006

Geertz on Theory

Here's a quotation on theory that brought a grin to my face and a huge, healthy chuckle from my belly late on this Saturday night as I worked on a paper for a class in my MA in communications program at Royal Roads University. Fellow learners of all persuasions, enjoy...

?Because theories are seldom if ever decisively disproved in clinical use but merely grow increasingly awkward, unproductive, strained, or vacuous, they often persist long after all but a handful of people (though they are most passionate) have lost much interest in them. Indeed, so far as anthropology is concerned, it is almost more of a problem to get exhausted ideas out of the literature than it is to get productive ones in, and so a great deal more of theoretical discussion than one would prefer is critical rather than constructive, and whole careers have been devoted to hastening the demise of moribund notions. As the field advances one would hope that this sort of intellectual weed control would become a less prominent part of our activities. But, for the moment, it remains true that old theories tend less to die than to go into second editions? (p. 27).

Geertz, Clifford. (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic Books.

Agree or disagree, read it out loud--it falls so deliciously from the tongue!

Posted by Paul at 10:41 PM

February 21, 2006

Review: Understanding the Media

Devereux, Eoin. (2003). Understanding the Media. London: Sage Publications.

This short (app. 150 page) introduction to media focuses on how mass media works and how to analyze it. It takes a distinctly social view, with students encouraged to question media hegemony and think about structure vs. agency in how mass media depict the disadvantaged and the disenfranchised.

Devereux touches on most media/communication theories and provides exercises for stimulating thinking about mass media. The recurring thread throughout is political economy, ownership, the concept of "dominant ideology," and media representations "of a divided world," "of social class," "of ethnicity," and "of gender." This focus is evident in the chapter titles: Understanding the Media, Media Globalization, Media Ownership: Concentration and Conglomeration, Media Production and Media Professionals, Media Ideology, Analyzing Media Content: 'Re-presentations in a Divided World,' and Audiences and Reception.

Devereux includes introductory material on content analysis, and a good comparison of quantitative vs. qualitative approaches.

Though the book was published in 2003, it uses Internet statistics mostly from 1996-97 and 1999, so I disagree with the overly negative take on the Internet's potential influence on promoting agency and revitalizing the public sphere.

Posted by Paul at 03:28 PM

February 13, 2006

Effects of Blogs on Mass Media

A few fellow learners in the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program at Royal Roads University have asked to see a paper I did on blogging, so I've decided to post it here. (Newsdaily Canada has linked to this paper.)

The Effects of Blogs on Mass Media
From a Media Theory Perspective

by Paul Cipywnyk

Introduction

This paper explores the effects of Web logs, or blogs, on traditional mass media with reference to media theory. It covers the evolving relationship between blogs and mass media since the first blog was set up at the end of 1997 (Lyons, 2005), and how the blogging medium may face the imposition of regulation in the future.

The premise of this paper is that this simple, yet powerful communication medium has already had a significant impact on traditional mass media. While this impact will increase in the future as this technological change challenges traditional social discourse in a post-modern fracturing of the social equilibrium, there are also signs that normative effects may tame this publishing free-for-all to some extent over the next decade, along with the possibility of increased legal constraints and attempts at greater corporate control of the medium.

The Rise of Blogging Technology

Blogs have become an increasingly prominent means of communication on the Internet, and continue to proliferate rapidly. "A hundred thousand new blogs are created every day, more than one new blog per second, says Technorati, a firm in San Fransisco that tracks the content of 20 million active blogs" (Lyons, 2005, p. 131). Many companies, including major Internet players such as Google and Microsoft, offer free blogging services that allow users to easily post text, photos, and audio and video files to a blog simply by using forms through a Web browser, without having to know the underlying markup languages. Blogs typically present a series of chronological posts with the latest at the top of the page, with earlier entries being pushed downward, and eventually archived onto separate pages. Bloggers usually provide links to news or events or products that they write about, and commonly include RSS feeds that enable readers to monitor new posts to blogs they are interested in through automatically updated aggregators on their computers, or through Web sites that offer such aggregation services.

Blogging's Impact on Traditional Mass Media

The free-wheeling, personalized phenomenon of blogging exemplifies a post-modern world driven by technological change. "According to Marx, the capitalist class ? the bourgeoisie ? control the 'production and distribution of ideas' because of their control of the 'means of material production'" (Williams, 2003, p. 37), yet these days, anyone with access to the Internet can have a free or inexpensive printing press. The blogging phenomenon was enabled by technological change, and in turn is forcing mass media to modify long-standing journalistic practices. While Internet access is far from universal, technology has enabled individuals to challenge traditional mass media in ways that were impossible as recently as a decade ago.

The development of blogging has enabled individual reporting on events from a personal point of view, and when masses of bloggers question or directly confront reporting in traditional mass media, their collective power can be persuasive. For example, bloggers focused attention on racist remarks by former U.S. Speaker of the House Trent Lott, elevating a back-page story to a campaign of criticism that forced his removal (Kahn & Kellner, 2004). In another case, bloggers created "a media frenzy over the dishonest reporting that was exposed recently at the New York Times? (and) set upon the newsprint giant, whipping up so much controversy and hostile journalistic opinion that the Times?s executive and managing editors were forced to resign in disgrace" (Kahn & Kellner, 2004, p. 92).

According to post-modern media theory, audiences have the power to passively or actively resist media messages, and they cannot be fooled or manipulated by the mass media (Williams, 2003). Now, with the interactivity and personal publishing of blogging, mass media are facing a "community (that) is far from shy about going after journalists for offenses real and imagined, shocking thin-skinned journalists unused to being scrutinized the way they scrutinize others. Everything? is now subject to public analysis, comparison and fact-checking" (Singer, 2005, p. 180). Williams (2003) writes that the liberal theory of press freedom posits that "the smooth operation of the political system depended on the free expression of public opinion" (p. 39), and that the press acts as the voice of the people, and is accountable to them, as the fourth estate. Blogging is to some extent removing this intermediary function, and is putting the power of the press into individual hands. Blogs go beyond the structures of traditional journalism, drop much of the gatekeeping and filtering done by mass media, do not rely on corporate sponsors, and are even scooping the mainstream press (Wall, 2005).

Yet traditional mass media are not going away, and are not losing their influence. Bloggers often cite, and link to, material provided on Web sites run by huge media conglomerates. Research about war blogs that mushroomed after the invasion of Iraq in spring 2003 shows that nearly half of all links were to "mainly mainstream news outlets, primarily from the USA and the UK. In the USA, this included outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, etc." (Wall, 2005, p. 164). As for blogs run by mass media outlets, of 20 sites examined in one study, only three allowed direct commenting from readers, indicating they were unwilling to give up their gatekeeping role, so "it is still about vertical communication, from journalist to user, rather than horizontal communication that positions the journalist as a participant in a conversation" (Singer, 2005, p. 192).

Wall (2005), however, points out that the popularity of the war blogs arose at least partly because "mainstream media, as is historically its pattern during war, became less critical of the government and military actions and more prone to repeating propaganda?. leading increasing numbers of Americans to turn to the Web" (p. 153).

Are Blogs a New, Post-Modern Journalism?

Is blogging a new form of journalism? Are bloggers changing how mass media report the news? Wall (2005) argues that blogs are post-modern journalism:

This analysis suggests that these blogs represent a new genre of journalism ? offering news that features a narrative style characterized by personalization and an emphasis on non-institutional status; audience participation in content creation; and story forms that are fragmented and interdependent with other websites. Ultimately, these shifts suggest that some forms of online news such as blogs have moved away from traditional journalism?s modernist approach to embody a form of post-modern journalism (pp. 153-154).

Traditional journalism is supposed to be objective, or at least fair, yet the "voice of the typical current events blogger is personalized, opinionated, and often one-sided. Indeed, an opinionated voice is a hallmark of blog writing and those mainstream journalists who fail to reflect this are criticized as not being true bloggers" (Wall, 2005, p. 161). Readers of newspapers and watchers of TV tend to be passive; however, "on blogs, audiences are often invited to contribute information, comments, and sometimes direct financial support. In effect, audiences sometimes co-create content and also serve as patrons" (Wall, 2005, p. 161). While journalists are taught the inverted pyramid of story writing, "with blogs, the story form has changed into a fragment, one that is often incomplete without following a link and, thus, is seemingly never closed" (Wall, 2005, p. 162). All of these hallmarks of blogging make for a very different experience than reading or watching the packaged stories provided by mass media.

Kahn & Kellner (2004) propose:

Bloggers have demonstrated themselves as technoactivists favoring not only democratic self-expression and networking, but also global media critique and journalistic sociopolitical intervention?. blogs make the idea of a dynamic network of ongoing debate, dialogue and commentary central and so emphasize the interpretation and dissemination of alternative information to a heightened degree (p. 91).

While mass media may be retaining their influence and their audience, the post-modern fracturing of the mostly one-way communication of traditional media into the millions of inter-linking blogging voices has created a new openness and the ability for individuals to share their personal interpretations of the world to potentially global audiences. Bloggers are providing alternatives to mass media. "Large political events, such as the World Summit for Sustainable Development, the World Social Forum, and the G8 forums all now have wireless bloggers providing real time alternative coverage" (Kahn & Kellner, 2004, p. 93).

Blogs Surpass Mass Media in Raising Political Consciousness

In addition to offering an alternative to corporate mass media, blogs are raising political consciousness in a manner traditional media have been unable to do. Because blogs are personal, they have an ability to attract readers in a way that traditional media do not. This is shown by the experience of Blog for America, the blog that helped galvanize Howard Dean's campaign in the U.S. primary race starting in March 2003.

Alternately informative, cheesy, silly, self-absorbed, innovative, and brilliantly effective, Blog for America turned tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of people into political activists and united them in collective action that extended beyond cyberspace?. This is something mainstream journalism could never accomplish (Kerbel & Bloom, 2005, pp. 20-21).

Blog for America may be viewed as a revival of the public sphere described by J?rgen Habermas. "Central to the operation of the public sphere is the free flow of information and communication, and media institutions are essential to its effective working" (Williams, 2003, p. 68). Williams (2003) goes on to say that eventually "the public sphere became corrupted by the growth of the power of the state, the emergence of corporate capitalism and transformation of the media into commercial operations" (p. 68). Blog for America became a forum to foster and harness the free flow of information in the public sphere, revitalizing the political process.

However, here too, there are cautionary notes.

As a third-tier candidate with few resources, Dean had little to lose by doing things unconventionally, and as we noted, discussion on the Dean blog became more conventional as the candidate started playing for keeps. For blogs like Blog for America to become routine, future campaign managers will have to weigh the obvious benefits of cultivating a loyal, active following against the potential loss of message control inherent in a decentralized campaign structure where anyone can participate. What is clear is that without some degree of decentralization, blog communities cannot thrive. It is the nature of the technology to buck centralized control, and it is the thing that generates feelings of empowerment (Kerbel & Bloom, 2005, p. 24).

Post-Modern Blogging

So while on one hand it appears that blogs are impacting mass media by providing alternative forums for shared self-expression, by confronting and challenging conventional journalism, and by enabling public discourse in a global manner heretofore unheard of in history, on the other hand it is also apparent that at least so far mass media are retaining much of their authority. Yet blogging may just be getting started, and has the potential to further spread its influence in the future as more citizens around the world come online and share their individual, unique perspectives. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, for as with any technology, it cannot simply be assumed that blogging will only lead to greater good. Overall, however, the benefits could outweigh the drawbacks.

Today, blogs embody the contradictions of postmodernity ? they may balkanize interest groups and cater to partisan audiences but they may also encourage the creation of a multitude of virtual communities in which ordinary people feel free to participate and discover their own political voices. That is, blogs may ultimately pull more people into public conversations and perhaps provide opportunities for collective problem-solving. Those who fear the demise of the great society created in part by national media are perhaps overly nostalgic for a media that rarely reflected the entire community or allowed ordinary people much of a voice (Wall, 2005, p. 167).

Conclusion

While blogging's Wild West milieu has already had an impact on traditional mass media, and will continue to require mass media corporations to adjust to the onslaught of individual voices, there are doubts if the medium's free-wheeling nature will last forever. Blogs may undermine societal equilibrium, and to take a page from functionalism, "all components of society including the media are organized and structured and operate to maintain social stability" (Williams, 2003, p. 50). While blogging may fundamentally be of an individualistic, fractured, post-modern nature, in five or ten years some of the regulations that apply to traditional mass media may be extended to cover the Internet, and bloggers.

Indeed, Lyons (2005) describes the anonymous slander of individuals and corporations by packs of bloggers, and cries out for means to control them:

Google and other carriers shut down purveyors of child porn, spam, and viruses, and they help police track down offenders. So why don't they delete material (from blogs) that defames individuals? Why don't they help victims identify their attackers? Because they are protected by the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which frees a neutral carrier of Internet content from any liability for anything said online (p. 136).

Lyons (2005) goes on to cite a victim of a concerted smear campaign who "argues that Yahoo and other carriers should step up: 'They make money selling ads on these message boards, and the controversial material generates the most traffic. So they're benefiting from this garbage. I think they should take responsibility for it'" (p. 138).

While millions more blogs will be created over the next decade, and Web sites run by mass media corporations will gradually offer more interactivity and more opportunities for reader feedback, pressure from corporations and political forces that fear the libertarian blogging environment will likely lead to the imposition of regulatory restraints on the Internet, and by extension the blogging medium. There will be bloggers who will continue to resist any attempts at control, and a technological war will continue for decades between those who attempt to impose restraints, and those who will seek ways to outflank them.

References

Kahn, R., & Kellner, D. (2004). New media and internet activism: From the ?Battle of seattle? to blogging. New Media & Society, 6(1), 87-95. Retrieved November 17, 2005, from Communication Studies: A SAGE Full-Text Collection database.

Kerbel, M. R., & Bloom, J. D. (2005). Blog for america and civic involvement. The Harvard International Journal Of Press/politics, 10(4), 3-27. Retrieved November 17, 2005, from Communication Studies: A SAGE Full-Text Collection database.

Lyons, D. (2005, Nov. 14). Attack of the blogs. Forbes. 128-138.

Singer, J. B. (2005). The political j-blogger: ?Normalizing? a new media form to fit old norms and practices. Journalism, 6(2), 173-198. Retrieved November 17, 2005, from Communication Studies: A SAGE Full-Text Collection database.

Wall, M. (2005). ?Blogs of war?: Weblogs as news. Journalism, 6(2), 153-172. Retrieved November 17, 2005, from Communication Studies: A SAGE Full-Text Collection database.

Williams, K. (2003). Understanding Media Theory. London: Arnold.

Posted by Paul at 09:41 AM

January 20, 2006

RRU Communications Learners Meet in Vancouver

Seven "learners" in the Royal Roads University Masters in Applied Communications program, plus one spouse (my faithful Yumi), met in Vancouver tonight for some face-to-face contact.

The two-year program has an intensive three-week on-campus residency at the beginning of each program year, followed by online work, so the "meat-space" contact is great for staying in touch.

While I've been impressed with how well the online teams and overall cohort discussions have been working, it's also nice to get a few hugs and converse over a brew or two for a few hours.

I've been in the program for nearly four months now, and it is clear how crucial the residency is. Three weeks of boot camp does wonders for developing close working relationships for the online portion of the program.

Now that courses and teams are changing, I already have faces to put to names, which is a huge advantage in getting team processes underway. Not to mention having worked with many of the instructors who will continue in the online portion of the program.

Posted by Paul at 09:56 PM

December 14, 2005

Royal Roads Lower Mainland MAAC, MAAC-IIC Pub Night

Half a dozen learners in the 2005 Master of Arts in Applied Communication program at Royal Roads University met at the Irish Heather pub in Gastown in downtown Vancouver tonight. It was great to see people again over a month since our initial intensive three-week residency ended. As the program continues over the next year online, we hope to get together every month or so for mutual support and exchange of information.

I've created a private Google group for any MAACs or MAAC-IICs in the lower mainland of BC, or anywhere in BC for that matter, to keep in touch. Shoot me an email if you'd like to join.

Posted by Paul at 09:22 PM

October 30, 2005

Sunrise at Royal Roads

I forgot about the time change this morning, so my 7:45 a.m. walk became a 6:45 a.m. walk. It was a fortuitous mistake, as the morning light was soft and gentle. I saw a family of otters having breakfast in the lagoon. They were munching on a huge crab, but unfortunately the lens on my digital camera tops out at the equivalent of an 85mm telephoto, so they were just dots in the pictures I took.

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Swans in the lagoon at sunrise.

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The dock with birdhouses.

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Another view of the dock. The specks on the pilings on the right are cormorants.

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A wee waterfall in a brook in the woods. Because of the time change, I arrived at the campus cafeteria before it opened, so I explored a nearby trail in the woods for half an hour.

Posted by Paul at 09:00 AM

October 22, 2005

More Royal Roads Photos

Here are a few more photos taken on the grounds of Royal Roads University where I'm in an intensive three-week MA residency.

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The grounds feature a series of ponds linked by these channels.

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One of the ponds, with a tree reflecting autumn colors.

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And another pond.

Posted by Paul at 08:57 PM

October 21, 2005

Survived First Week at Royal Roads!

I have survived my first week of my intensive three-week residency at Royal Roads University. Rather than bore you with describing a week of 16-hour days spent in classes and huddled over my laptop computer in my dorm room, suffice it to say that while arduous, the Master of Arts in Applied Communication program is a stimulating, highly educational challenge.

Faculty members are uniformly excellent, and I hope they are all reading my blog :-). My team is learning to work together, and every student that I've talked to has a unique perspective and expertise that I'm already learning from.

Today we were released at 3:30 p.m. and I immediately dropped my laptop and books in my dorm room and headed out to explore the beautiful grounds with my digital camera in hand. Convocation was on, and there were excited knots of happy families snapping shots of proud graduates in front of the various impressive buildings, and in the gardens.

Here are a few shots I got today as the late afternoon sun cast glorious, lengthening shadows as it sank into the west.

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Hatley Castle, which is now an administrative building.

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The Grant Building where most of our classes are held.

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The Nixon Building where my room is located.

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The Japanese Gardens.

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Another view of the Japanese Gardens.

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A lantern.

Posted by Paul at 09:09 PM

October 15, 2005

Going Back to School

I'm heading off to Victoria tomorrow to start my Master of Arts in Applied Communication program at Royal Roads University. The online distance-education program starts with an intensive three-week residency on campus, so I will likely be updating this blog even less often than I usually do.

Looking forward to being a student again, but a bit nervous about how this will fit into continuing to run my business over the next two years while I'm hitting the books. While the program is designed for people who are working full time, they say to expect 20-25 hours a week of study time.

Overall, I'm excited, though I hate to miss a good chunk of the salmon spawning season in Byrne Creek!

Posted by Paul at 08:38 PM