Flow roundtable on TV criticism and digital publishing

29Mar10

I am working on proposing a roundtable for the 2010 Flow Conference on the topic of digital publishing and television criticism, building on some of the thoughts explored in my recent post. If you’re not familiar with the Flow Conference, the idea is that instead of formal papers, there are roundtable structured conversations from invited and interested participants centering around a core topical prompt.

Below see the draft of my prompt, which I’ve also posted on a Google Wave for feedback – since Wave is still a semi-restricted work-in-progress, I wanted to open it up in a more accessible form here to solicit ideas and feedback. Here is the draft prompt (which cannot be much longer than this):

The rise of blogs, Twitter, and online publishing platforms has coincided with crises in journalistic and academic publishing, with television criticism straddling all of these eroding boundaries. How does television criticism adapt to these transformations? What is the place of criticism within academia and journalism today and into the future? What previous roles of criticism might be abandoned or renewed in the digital era? And how do critics from the ranks of journalists, faculty, graduate students, and amateurs intermingle in the realm of “TVitter” today?

I’d also welcome suggestions for people to invite to participate in this roundtable. I have a few ideas of people in the journalistic realm who might be willing/able to attend, but I also want to be sure to get enough of a cross-section of academics that it doesn’t replicate the so-called TVitterati. Thanks in advance!


2 Responses to “Flow roundtable on TV criticism and digital publishing”

  1. 1 Faye

    This is very interesting, as I often think now that certain blogging TV critics produce perhaps a higher degree of television criticism than some of the academic work I read (online and published) – part of this is due to the ridiculously long publishing lag between writing and publishing for academics. Part of this though, is also to do with the close attention to serialised narratives that these critics explore, and they often watch a series for longer and with more attention than some academics (particularly those dipping their toe into tv analysis for edited collections). There is also a close attention to production and audiences in the work of critics such as Alan Sepinwall, Daniel Feinberg and Mo Ryan. I have yet to find better analysis of The Wire and Mad Men than those of Sepinwall and I find myself guiding students to this work in place of published work. There is also the role of the reader in this analysis, as these blogs commenters add invaluably to intelligent and in-depth analysis of key tv dramas, revealing things I myself hadn’t caught and contributing to the depth of the analysis.

    Additionally there is the problem of RAE for British scholars. Even if timely, perceptive writing was produced (if there were time in academics workloads!), such un-refereed work is not given weighting in comparison to published work and in a pressurised world of education cutbacks, there is thus unfortunately little career value to producing work for online content when you are using time that could be spent writing journal articles or books.

    Arguably though, there is considerable need to mobilise academic writing into digital forms – not least for the ability to include multi-media elements – if only for the fact that it is increasingly more and more difficult to get a student to pick up a book. More quality, freely (or institutionally) available sites such as flow, which we can direct students to, means less quoting of wikipedia as an academic source in my book!


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