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War of the Worlds to Social Media: Mediated Communication in Times of Crisis (Mediating American History) [Paperback]

Joy Elizabeth Hayes , Kathleen Battles , Wendy Hilton-Morrow
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 31, 2013 1433118009 978-1433118005
Seventy-five years after the infamous broadcast, does War of the Worlds still matter? This book answers with a resounding yes! Contributors revisit the broadcast event in order to reconsider its place as a milestone in media history, and to explore its role as a formative event for understanding citizens’ media use in times of crisis. Uniquely focused on the continuities between radio’s «new» media moment and our contemporary era of social media, the collection takes War of the Worlds as a starting point for investigating key issues in twenty-first-century communication, including: the problem of misrepresentation in mediated communication; the importance of social context for interpreting communication; and the dynamic role of listeners, viewers and users in talking back to media producers and institutions. By examining the «crisis» moment of the original broadcast in its international, academic, technological, industrial, and historical context, as well as the role of contemporary new media in ongoing «crisis» events, this volume demonstrates the broad, historical link between new media and crisis over the course of a century.

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War of the Worlds to Social Media: Mediated Communication in Times of Crisis (Mediating American History) + Only Connect: A Cultural History of Broadcasting in the United States
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Editorial Reviews


«This fascinating volume traces the rich themes of new media, crisis and interactivity from the ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast to now, but even more importantly, these smart and engaged essays demonstrate strikingly just how well carefully researched media history can illuminate the present.» (David Goodman, University of Melbourne)
«As a whole the book represents a thoughtful read for anyone who wants to dig a bit deeper, and a wonderful resource for those who want to stimulate debate in a class or reading group. The authors convincingly show that a historical grasp is essential to understand contemporary issues in the present, and that the narratives of the past can disguise just as much as they reveal.» (Tim Wall, Birmingham City University)
«In this wonderful collection, the ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast represents, variously, the founding object of study in an emerging communication-industrial complex, a training tool for covering twenty-first century wars, and a template for understanding crisis communications ever since. A must-read for anyone interested in the symbiotic relationship between new communication technologies and the crises they mediate.» (Jason Loviglio, University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

About the Author

Joy Elizabeth Hayes (PhD, communication, University of California, San Diego) is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. She is the author of Radio Nation: Communication, Popular Culture and Nationalism in Mexico, 1920-1950 (2000) and has published articles in The Radio Journal, The Journal of Radio and Audio Media, Diálogos, and Cinema Journal.
Kathleen Battles (PhD, communication studies, University of Iowa) is Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism at Oakland University. She is the author of Calling All Cars: Radio Dragnets and the Technology of Policing (2010) and has published articles in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Homosexuality, and The Radio Journal.
Wendy Hilton-Morrow (PhD, communication studies, University of Iowa) is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Augustana College. She has published in Critical Studies in Media Communication and the Journal of Homosexuality.

Product Details

  • Series: Mediating American History (Book 12)
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers (July 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433118009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433118005
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,085,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why a 1938 Broadcast Still Matters Today November 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Every professor of media criticism or media history should get a copy of this new book. I am certainly glad I did, and I plan to adopt it for one of my media analysis courses. "War of the Worlds to Social Media" is a collection of essays from some of the best-known and most respected experts on the history of the mass media; its thesis is that the phenomenon that took place in 1938 when "War of the Worlds" was first broadcast on radio is still relevant to the study of today's modern media. The book provides a multitude of perspectives on the ability of a mass medium to influence the audience and change public perception of current events. Included in the book's 12 chapters are such topics as a historical look at the "War of the Worlds" hoax; the influence of Howard Stern through the lens of what he said on 9/11; how bloggers and Twitter covered breaking news stories in several countries; and how easy it is for contemporary radio or TV or social media to perpetrate a hoax on the audience. While the book is well-suited for academics, it is generally very readable-- anyone who is interested in the media's influence on the culture will find it a useful and thought-provoking volume, one that contributes to the exploration of the role of media in our lives. I commend the authors for showing that traditional media (like radio and TV) and modern media (like Twitter) continue to impact us both positively and negatively-- they can be excellent sources of accurate information, but in some cases, they can also misinform and mislead us. While this book is not the last word on the subject, nor should it be, it makes a compelling case for the importance of media analysis and a healthy skepticism for what we see, hear, and read.
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