This fall, the media and cultural studies group blog Antenna: Responses to Media & Culture celebrates its two-year anniversary. Operated and edited by the graduate students and faculty in the Media and Cultural Studies area of the Department of Communication Arts, the website attracts contributions not only from faculty and students across the department but also a diverse group of alumni and other prominent media scholars from throughout North America and as far away as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, and India. The blog has quickly become a central hub for news, discussion, and debate in the media studies academic community, joining ventures such as FlowTV (University of Texas-Austin) and In Media Res at the forefront of new online, collaborative approaches to studying media that aim to bridge the gaps between scholarly journals and single-author blogs and between academia and the broader public.
Antenna’s mission is to provide a space where researchers, teachers, students, and the interested public can engage in timely yet careful analysis of media news, events, and texts from across the popular culture spectrum. Most importantly, the site encourages public discussion via comments, aiming to create a forum in which readers and contributors participate in active, open, and thoughtful debate about media and culture. Often, the comments sections of posts attract the most attention and promote a type of vigorous, thoughtful dialogue across communities, institutions, and distances that the standard academic publishing model simply cannot facilitate.
Since being launched in November 2009, Antenna has published over 500 stories from more than 100 authors. Represented amongst these contributors are many of the most prominent scholars working in film, television, and media studies today. The site regularly responds to new works and developments in television, film, music, gaming, digital video, the Internet, print, and the media industries. The goal is to respond quickly to such events – much, much more quickly than the standard academic publishing schedule allows – and, as a result, entries are relatively short (averaging around 500-700 words) and new content is published regularly throughout the week. Other frequent subjects include professional development (the School/Work column) and academic conference proceedings (the Report From… column). The range of topics and perspectives covered is vast. In the past month alone, writers have examined cultural perceptions of the TV sitcom laugh track, explored the implications of virtual acting in CGI films on popular understandings of acting and performance, reported on the unique problems of being an independent scholar and those of dual academic couples forced to live long distances apart, analyzed representations of Chineseness in the BBC TV series Sherlock, and paid tribute to the recently deceased radio legend Norman Corwin.
To read Antenna and find out more about the website, go here.