Dead Trees Society

An ancient and venerable elm tree has died in our front yard and we are soliciting estimates for having it removed. It was a comforting source of shade and a welcoming home to wildlife. It finally fell victim to dutch elm disease, many years after that plague wiped out most elms here in Madison. I recalled that Neville Hobson likes to refer to print media as “dead trees” and that he prefers to read most of his content online. He makes a good point. Trees are a renewable resource, but are too often wasted.

Although I’m reading more and more content online, I still need to break away occasionally from the darn monitor and crack open a book or print magazine.
I’m now reading “Communication Research Measures: A Sourcebook,” edited by Rebecca B. Rubin et al. (Erlbaum). Part I summarizes four facets of the communication discipline that use quantitative measures: measures of instructional communication, of interpersonal communication, of mass communication, and of organizational communication. Part II contains summaries, or profiles, of measures commonly used in commuication research, for example, audience activity measures, affective learning, news credibility scale, source credibility scale, etc. Much of this underlies what we do as communicators, in education and in other sectors. I’ll offer a review in the coming week or so.

OK. This is all a preamble to a roundup of books I have found particularly helpful in the last year or so. When I conduct roundtable discussions with education communicators I always like to recommend Will Richardson’s “Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms” (Corwin Press). Although it focuses on the use of these tools in classrooms, it’s a great primer for anyone curious about using them in other settings.

For detailed looks at podcasting I like “Podcasting: The do-it-yourself guide, by Todd Cochrane (Wiley) and “Secrets of Podcasting: Audio blogging for the masses” by Bart G. Farkas (Peachpit Press).

For media relations tips I like “Buildng Bridges with the press: A guide for educators” by Julie Blair (Education Week Press).

For public relations-specific titles I like “Unleashing the power of PR: A contrarian’s guide to marketing and communication by Mark Weiner, and “Thinking big, staying small: Communication practices of small organizations” by Dixie Shipp Evatt et al. (both available through IABC), and “Public Relations on the Net” by Shel Holtz (American Management Association).

For blogging-specific titles I like “We the media: Grassroots journalism by the people, for the people,” by Dan Gillmor (O’Reilly); “Blogging for business” by Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos (Kaplan); “Blogging: Genius strategies for instant web content” by Biz Stone (New Riders); and “Naked Conversations: How blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers,” by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (Wiley).


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