Earlier this month, I attended the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association (one of my fixtures, having attended it more or less every year for five years or so).
A trio of highlights–one thing I did, a couple of things I attended, and one thing I did not attend but later caught up on.
First, doing–I had the pleasure of presenting some work in progress by Cristian Vaccari and myself, where we ask “What Drives Politicians’ Online Popularity?” (the paper opens as a .doc here) on the basis of the same dataset underlying this previous paper. The panel, entitled “Campaigns, Elections & Technology” was one of those rare conference panels that had actual intellectual coherence to both the line-up of presenters and the discussion itself. Ben Epstein, Sounman Hong, and Christine B. Williams and Jeff Gulati all presented interesting papers. Betsy Sinclair did a great job as our respondent, and there was a good discussion with people in the audience afterwards, including Dave Karpf, Kevin Wallsten and others.
Second, attending–A couple of other panels I enjoyed were (1) “Mass Media and the Policy Process” were John Lovett and Frank Baumgartner presented a very strong paper asking when there is a single media agende, analyzing data over time, across issues, and between different outlets to show how media attention goes in and out of focus and (2) “Congressional Campaign Advertising” where a strong line-up examined various forms of strategic positioning vis-a-vis party brands, and the ways in which candidates and campaigns think about these choices and execute them.
Third, not doing, but catching up–I missed the presentation of a very interesting paper on “Career Concerns and the Behavior of Political Consultants in Congressional Elections” by Gregory J.Martin and Zachary Peskowitz from Stanford, but the paper can be downloaded here and it is a really neat piece of work that help advance our understanding of political consultants and the work they do.
This is going to be a big month for me–I’m taking my book Ground Wars on the road in the US, and will give nine talks about the book at various universities and conferences around the country.
The list is below, details TBA for a few of them.
- Monday April 9, 12-2pm, George Washington University, Washington D.C.
- Tuesday April 10, 11-12.30pm, American University, Washington D.C.
- Wednesday April 11, 10-12pm, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- Thursday April 12, 4-6pm, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
- Friday April 13, 4:35-6.15pm – Midwest Political Science Association 70th Annual Conference (I’m speaking as part of Panel 55-2 on political anthropology)
- Monday April 16, 12-2pm, Columbia University, New York, New York (a comeback at my old school, in a colloquium series I used to organize)
- Tuesday April 17, 6pm-8pm, New York University, Institute for Public Knowledge
- Wednesday April 18, 12-1.3opm, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut
- Thursday April 19, 4.30-6.30pm, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Then Friday April 20, I’m speaking at the International Symposium on Online Journalism in Texas-Austin, but not about the book–though after nine talks, who knows, I may automatically start talking about political campaigns rather than the journalistic online-start ups I’m supposed to focus on…
It’s been great to present the book in the UK and Denmark over the last two months but this of course is something special, a chance to talk about American politics with Americans, including in at least one instance with people who have worked on one of the campaigns I deal with in the book–that’s going to be a blast and a great experience, I’m sure.
I’ve given three talks about Ground Wars in Denmark in March, all have made for interesting discussions.
First of all, even taking into account the self-selection involved, people here are just really interested in and quite knowledgeable about American politics. That made for good conversation.
Second, we’ve just had a general election in the fall of 2011 where a few parties and trade unions worked with the kind of personalized political communication I analyze in the book, so obviously many people were interested in differences and similarities between US and Danish experiences. (I’ve written about that a while back.)
In April, I’m off to the US to give a string of talks in between two conferences, and I’m really looking forward to taking the book on the road and discussing it with people who really follow American political campaigns very closely—at the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers, where I’m speaking April 19, I happen to know several people who worked on one of the campaigns I studied are coming. It will be particularly interesting to catch up with them again and hear their perspectives.
I’m taking Ground Wars on the road in Denmark in March, with three events coming up–
Tuesday March 13, 7pm- at Frit Forum, Reventlowsgade 14, Copenhagen. Frit Forum is a Social Democrat-affiliated student organization. The Social Democrats were one of the party with the most ambitious “ground war”-type operations in the 2011 Danish General Election, so this will hopefully provide an interesting opportunity to hear about people’s experiences with field campaigning in Denmark.
Thursday March 15, 5pm-7pm at Operate (Jesper Brochmands Gade 10, Copenhagen), with Kommunikationsforeningen. This event is organized by the professional association for people working with communications, and also includes Rune Baastrup, who was one of the key people behind the labor union 3F’s work with personalized communication in the run up to the 2011 election and in terms of organizing and community-building. It should make for a great discussion.
Thursday March 29, 2pm-4pm at Copenhagen Business School, Center for the Study of the Americas. (Details to come.) CSA is one of the most interesting research environments in Denmark dealing with American issues, and I’ll be appearing alongside Niels Bjerre Poulsen who is a well-known Danish historian and expert on US politics, so it’s sure to be another interesting event.
Monday February 13, 5pm-6.30pm at the Rothermere American Institute in Oxford. This is the official launch of my book, a talk moderated by Nigel Bowles with Tom Wales serving as a respondent, to be followed by a wine reception. The RAI is an ideal venue for this, first of course because it is the hub of all things American in Oxford, but also because I finished my revisions on the manuscript in their wonderful library. The venue is here.
Tuesday February 21, 5.15pm-6.30pm at the New Political Communications Unit, Royal Holloway, University of London. This event is hosted by Andrew Chadwick whose work I’ve learned much from, so I’m looking forward to discussing the book with him, his colleagues, and the rest of the RHU community. The venue is here.
Wednesday February 22 (time and location TBA) at the Communication and Media Research Institute at the University of Westminster. My host is Anastasia Kavada, with whom I’ve had many an animated conversation about digital politics and protest at various conferences. It’s my first visit to CAMRI, an internationally famous media and communications department, so I’m sure it will make for very interesting conversation.
More information upcoming on talks in March (in Denmark) and April (in the United States). Stay tuned…
Off to Edinburgh to give a talk about public sector support for the media at “New media, old values? Media freedom and independence in the era of convergence”, a workshop hosted by the SCRIPT Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh law school and the Open Rights Group and co-funded by the MediaDem project that I have drawn on in my own work.
My talk mix a bit of history taken from the work of Richard John and Paul Starr (the “past” part of the sub-title), the overview of current forms of public sector support for the media in six developed democracies based on my own work with Geert Linnebank (the “present” part) and some preliminary observations on the policy and political challenges any attempt at bringing public support for the media up to speed faces (the “future” part)–the kernel basically being that not only the politics, but also the policy, of media reform are so complex and full of veto points, vested interests, and uncertainties that the current combination of essentially unreformed support and policy drift is hard to overcome. (I’ve touched on some of this in a previous post.)
I’m looking forward to what will no doubt be a really interesting conversation, especially since the main organizer Rachael Craufurd Smith seems to have taken such care in getting together a really diverse line-up that includes both academics, professionals, and activists.
Making a dash across the Atlantic over the weekend for an event on alternative ownership structures and support for news hosted by the Oxford Alumni Association of New York on Monday.
Robert G. Picard and I will speak about recent RISJ research on the international business of journalism, charitable and trust ownership of news organizations, and public sector support for the media.
Bearing in mind cross-Atlantic differences on issues like subsidy, where proposals for various forms of intervention by people like Len Downie, Michael Schudson, and Lee Bollinger have met fierce resistance, I look forward to an interesting and robust discussion.