Fwd: Communications-related Headlines for 10/26/98

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Tue, 27 Oct 1998 13:30:08 -0700

>Issue: Journalism/Race/Gender
>An overwhelming amount of the "expert" SoundBits shown of the network
>evening news come from white men. According to the "Who Speaks for America"
>study -- sponsored by Freedom Forum's Free Press/Fair Press project -- 87
>percent of TV experts are male and 92 percent are white, while women only
>accounted for 13 percent and minorities just 6 percent. "There is no
>justification" for the lack of diversity among quoted experts in network
>newscasts, says Andrew Tyndall, director of the study. Tyndall concludes
>that the networks are more likely just lazy than biased in their selection
>of experts. He suggests that the extra effort to diversify the group of
>experts might help pull in the younger, larger audiences that networks
>[SOURCE: Broadcasting & Cable (P30), AUTHOR: Steve McClellan]

>Issue: International
>After attempting to buy MCI Communications Corp. last year, British
>Telecommunications PLC created a new effort for international business in
>July by opening a North American satellite broadcast operations center in
>Washington, D.C. BT is hoping its new Washington "teleport" facility will
>help it expand its less than 10% share of the U.S. market for satellite and
>fiber-optics transmission of video signals. BT has worldwide revenue of $30
>million a year for moving video signals for commercial clients, a figure
>that makes them one of the top three in the field. In addition to an
>increasing number of teleconferences for smaller businesses, the BT
>operation has included recent transmissions of the Academy Awards program,
>the World Series, ABC's Monday Night Football and will handle John Glenn's
>return to space on Thursday.
>[SOURCE: Washington Post (F5), AUTHOR: Mike Mills]

>Issue: Television Economics
>"Sports as an advertising and marketing vehicle is going through a midlife
>crisis," said David Verklin, chief executive at Carat North America in New
>York, a unit of Aegis Group PLC that buys time and space for marketers. "Ad
>people have so fallen in love with sports that they assume no matter what
>you buy, it will be fantastic," Verklin added. "But sports does not have
>unlimited viewer loyalty, unlimited program capacity or unlimited price
>elasticity." Sports used to deliver dependable large audiences, but ratings
>for this month's World Series were the worst ever and football ratings are
>down this year. Media outlets may lose millions if they have to lower their
>advertising rates for programming they have spent so much on. "Sports was
>once impervious, but some of its cachet may have disappeared," said Igiel,
>who is executive vice president and director for U.S. broadcast at the Media
>Edge unit of Y&R in New York. "Sports has held up better than most
>programming," he added, "but it's now suffering some of the same erosion of
>viewership that everything else on television has."
>[SOURCE: New York Times (C1), AUTHOR: Stuart Elliott]
>Issue: Digital TV
>Starting on or near November 1, more than three dozen television stations
>will begin digital broadcasts. ABC plans to offer the first high-definition
>program on Sunday -- the 1996 remake of Disney's 101 Dalmatians. After
>buying digital TVs, viewers will be able to receive sharper, clearer
>television images. But digital television receivers also hold the potential
>to enrich the medium with user interaction of the sort now available on
>computers, Brinkley writes. Although eventually all broadcats will be
>digital, "I think we will be able to count our viewers on our fingers and
>toes," said Martin Franks, a senior vice president for CBS. "It's fairly
>clear that there are more transmitters than receivers at this point."
>Digital sets are expensive -- around $7,000 each. Early programming is
>expected to duplicate current, 'analog' shows.
>[SOURCE: New York Times (C1), AUTHOR: Joel Brinkley]

>Issue: Bandwidth
>The International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations Group, has
>approved a technical standard for digital subscriber line service (DSL) put
>forth by Microsoft, Intel and large, local phone companies. The version of
>DSL promises to deliver data to the home at a speed of 1.5 million bits per
>second. Phone companies will use DSL technology to compete with cable
>modems. DSL modems should be available in stores by mid-1999 and priced
>around $150.
>[SOURCE: New York Times (C2)]

Issue: Technology/Employment
A growing group of social scientists, anthropologists and psychologists have
found careers in the high-tech industry. Major companies, including IBM,
Xerox and Intel, have hired social scientists or psychologists to help them
figure out how people use products. While such research goes back to the
1970's effort by Xerox to find out how people use copiers to better design
them, only in the past few years have high-tech companies agreed that this
need exists. Intel points to its Proshare video phone which the company
loved but which consumers hated. That led to ethnographic research and the
design of their new TeamStation videophone. A new Intel product that grew
out of the research is the "couch pad" which shows Web pages related to TV
programs. Social scientists are attracted to high tech industries because
pay is higher than in entry-level academic jobs.
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B1), AUTHOR: Dean Takahashi]

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld