Monday, December 27, 2010

New books on the media industries (and related book review assignment)

As the midterm assignment for my Media Industries graduate seminar (new syllabus to be posted soon), students write up book reviews of recent publications. 

The main requirements I have for selecting a book include:

  1. The book has to have been published in the last three years, thereby increasing the odds that the student can publish their review;
  2. A reasonable amount of the book has to focus on the media industries. (I leave the exact amount open for discussion between myself and the student – they need to make the case.); 
  3. Students have to be able to identify a venue to which they could send it for publication. Prior to writing their reviews, students are advised to read the submission instructions as well as look at sample reviews in a range of journals (e.g., Popular Communication, Cinema Journal, Television and New Media, Scope, etc.). Ideally, those students who are satisfied with their reviews can subsequently send them out for publication.
I tried this assignment for the first time last spring and the students told me they found it to be a worthwhile exercise. They were able to spend a week of the semester focusing on a subject that was of interest to them while also learning to craft an essay that suited the particular (and peculiar?) demands of the scholarly book review format.

A few caveats about this list: I have not had a chance to read many of the books on the list, and thus cannot speak to the extent to which all are focused explicitly on the media industries per se.  Also, not all of the books are by media studies scholars. Indeed, there is a rich body of work on the media industries being generated by journalists, mediamakers, media activists and legal scholars, among others. Further, if I knew the book was going to be released soon and saw that it was already listed on Amazon, I put it on the list.  It would be wonderful if could hyperlink each book to Amazon or add some articles to my list as well, but I can’t set aside that kind of time, at least right now.

Many of the books listed here have been recommended to me by others. Thanks in particular to Ben Aslinger, Jennifer Holt, Cynthia Meyers, and Mark Stewart for their suggestions. I also recommend checking out Aymar Jean Christian’s blog for a more extensive list of canonical essays and books.

If you have recommendations for additional books that I might include, please let me know. I hope this list can prove useful for others trying to keep track of this type of work which, much to my joy, seems to be getting larger and more diverse every year.

Books on the media industries (since 2008) below the jump: