James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

  • Archives

  • September 2021
    S M T W T F S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  
  • Categories

  • Subscribe

Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Prospects grim for many communication grads

Posted by James McPherson on November 17, 2010

There’s not much to say, beyond the headline above and what’s offered in the annual survey report (complete with more than 85 graphs and charts), for which the brief summary notes:

All indicators of the health of the market in 2009 and early 2010 showed declines from a year earlier, which already had produced record low levels of employment.

Salaries remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive year, meaning that graduates actually were receiving less money because of the effects of inflation.

Benefit packages also continued to get skimpier.

I am happy to say that my university is stressing the need for our grads to acquire some of the things survey respondents said they most needed. “A quarter of those who mentioned a skill they had not acquired made a reference to graphic design, layout, or software for photo and graphic presentations … nearly one in 10 offered this suggestion. Nearly two in 10 of those with a skill suggestion mentioned something to do with the Internet.”

I suspect it’s not coincidental that a much higher percentage of our journalism and mass communication grads have been getting jobs in their field than some better-known schools.

And yet even now some blogger somewhere is posting his latest screed–perhaps something about how we need to keep tax cuts and cut off unemployment benefits, or how we should let workers and businesses worry about who has health insurance–while hoping he’ll be “discovered” so he can give up his day job and get rich by sharing his wit and wisdom with the masses.

Posted in Education, History, Journalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

With Jessica Alba too fat, Keira Knightly too flat, Faith Hill too plain & Sarah Palin too real, how should mags portray Michelle Obama?

Posted by James McPherson on December 11, 2008

Since one of the most glamorous women we’ll be seeing on magazine covers for the next few years will be Michelle Obama, and despite one magazine editor’s call (in a different context) to “let Michelle Obama’s real self shine,” one wonders how far editors and art directors might go to make the First Lady look better–or worse–than she appears in reality. Though Hillary Clinton and sometimes Nancy Reagan (neither of whom always acted as dutiful stand-by-their-man Bush ladies) were obvious exceptions, the media usually treat First Ladies nicely, and articles and TV pieces have already focused more on Obama’s style than on her substance.

Remember, Newsweek drew criticism for letting Sarah Palin look “too real” (despite Joe the Plumber/Author now calling Sarah Palin “the real deal” even as he disses John McCain, the man most responsible for what we can only hope will be fleeting fame for Joe). And while a good fake Barack Obama may be hard to find, as Time reports, much of the reason for the Palin uproar is that we aren’t used to reality with our magazine images. Virtually any image that appears on a magazine cover or in a calendar has been airbrushed or otherwise altered, especially if the image is that of a woman. A quick Google search shows you can even find “excellent body enhancement tutorials” online, to “improve” the people in your own photos.

News organizations might use Photoshop or airbrushing to fix flaws in a photo, but popular mags, movie posters and calendars use technical tricks to fix the “flaws” in a model. For a recent example, see Calipari’s treatment of Jessica Alba, as reported by the Daily Mail. (See the before and after photos below). Keira Knightly and Faith Hill (in Redbook, yet) are among the women who have also had parts of their bodies “enhanced”; see examples of others here.

At least we can probably be sure that Michelle Obama won’t be appearing in a future version of the latest Fox News slideshow.

alba-1alba-2

Posted in History, Media literacy, Politics, Women, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

McCain ‘wins’ debate–before announcing he’ll participate

Posted by James McPherson on September 26, 2008

In the latest apparent misstep of the ongoing on-again off-again farce that the John McCain campaign has become, his campaign supposedly today released an ad announcing that he had “won” tonight’s debate–even before the candidate himself announced he would participate. (Note the qualifying words “apparent” and “supposedly”–I don’t discount the possibility of fakery, and have seen no confirmation yet from the McCain camp).

The best part of the story, if true: McCain campaign manager Rick Davis’ quote stating, “McCain won the debate–hands down.” You can see a screenshot of the ad (as linked from the Washington Post article) below.

Same day update: During the “suspended” part of his campaign, McCain apparently managed to work in at least a couple of hours of debate prep.

Posted in Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »