Office of Public Affairs
Sept. 25, 2002
CONTACT: Fritz Messere, 312-2357
COMMUNICATIONS PROFESSOR PUBLISHES BOOK DEBATING MEDIA-RELATED ISSUES
OSWEGO -- A new publication from Fritz Messere, professor and chair of communication studies at SUNY Oswego, aims to show that there are at least two sides to every story, major issue or raging debate.
"Pro/Con Media," with Messere and Cornell University Associate Professor Jim Shanahan as co-consulting editors, explores some of today's most-discussed media-related topics, such as censorship, policing the Internet and whether the Web can build a global society.
"It takes media issues out of the traditional box," Messere said. "The book provides different sides or poles of issues and generates discussion as a result."
The publication is one of a series of six by Grolier Educational targeted mostly for high school and community college classes, Messere said. In addition to the media book, other installments tackle the environment, economics, individuals and society, government and science.
"It's a novel idea," Messere said of the series. He said he likes the way the book involves learners in critical thinking and doesn't champion one point of view over another.
When the publisher approached Messere with the idea, "I knew I couldn't do the whole project myself, so I invited Jim to be the co-consultant," he said. "His specialty is more in media issues, while mine in more in new technologies."
The two selected the topics and wrote the introductions providing an overview of each issue. The book is divided into three sections -- media and society, advertising and the individual, and new media. They wrote a longer essay for each of those three sections probing important developments.
Messere and Shanahan combed countless publications looking for pieces that reflected either the pro or con points of view on those issues. This was often a challenge, Messere noted, since it was important to find opinions that communicated complex issues well -- and the authors of those viewpoints had to agree to have these articles included in the book.
"I've seen textbooks that frequently try to condense 300 years of media history into 900 pages," Messere said. "I think high school students are more interested in issues than they are (media) history. This can give them that background on the issues with some of the history as well."
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