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In Defence of Press Freedom in Africa: An Essay

Tatah Mentan

When Africa stumbled into independence in the 1960s, the blossoming of newspapers of nearly every political persuasion was widely hailed as a critical stepping stone toward true multiparty democracy. However, rather than marking a clean break with an authoritarian past, the era of multiparty politics in Africa has been a time of increased hardship and repression for journalists who dare criticize powerful incumbents. Media repression continues to rise. After decades of retreat, authoritarian regimes are using social media and other sophisticated systems in a new era of repression to thwart democracy and trample human rights. For consecutive decades, the state of freedom has declined � more people in more places face more repression. While systemic torture in war-torn Somalia and the return of a military dictatorship in Egypt captured headlines, there is also widespread, insidious and 21st-century style surveillance elsewhere with abuse or imprisonment or both of political activists. For the media to play its role as priests of democracy, Tatah Mentan maintains that media freedom must be rigorously defended as integral to the democratic way of life.

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In the Name of Editorial Freedom

125 Years at the Michigan Daily

Edited by Stephanie Steinberg

At a time when daily print newspapers across the country are failing, the Michigan Daily continues to thrive. Completely operated by students of the University of Michigan, the paper was founded in 1890 and covers national and international news topics ranging from politics to sports to entertainment. The Daily has been a vital part of the college experience for countless UM students, none more so than those who staffed the paper as editors, writers, and photographers over the years. Many of these Daily alumni are now award-winning journalists who work for the premier news outlets in the world.
 
In the Name of Editorial Freedom, titled after the paper’s longstanding masthead, compiles original essays by some of the best-known Daily alumni about their time on staff. For example Dan Okrent, first public editor of the New York Times, discusses traveling with a cohort of Daily reporters to cover the explosive 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Rebecca Blumenstein, deputy editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, and author Alan Paul talk about the intensity of the Daily newsroom and the lasting relationships it forged. Adam Schefter of ESPN recalls his awkward first story that nevertheless set him on the path to become the ultimate NFL insider. The essays of this book offer a glimpse, as activist Tom Hayden writes, at the Daily’s impressive role covering historic events and how those stories molded the lives of the students who reported them.

Search and browse the Bentley Historical Library's Michigan Daily Archive, https://digital.bentley.umich.edu/midaily. The free online archive contains stories from 23,000 issues published between 1891 and 2014.
 
"They say a newspaper is a daily miracle. If that’s so, The Michigan Daily is something beyond that, with the whole operation run by a bunch of sleep-deprived 20-year olds. What could go wrong? Here, Daily alums share their mistakes freely, weaving their stories through a half-century of American history with wit and wisdom--much of it hard-earned--but also justifiable pride in their idealism, their dedication, and the seriousness of the work they did while mere undergraduates. For all they've accomplished since their Daily days, you get the feeling they’d trade it all for another year at 420 Maynard--and you understand why."
--John U. Bacon, bestselling author of Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football and Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football
 
“I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate 125 years of student journalism than the essays contained in this wonderful volume. Going back some 55 years, the authors, all of whom are successful in their craft, have fashioned for us a unique window into the lives of students at the University of Michigan. Their stories are powerful and remind us of the magic of this place where students both are challenged and challenge others daily to change the world for the better.”
—Mary Sue Coleman, President Emerita at the University of Michigan
 
“This book provides a truly wonderful collection of essays by alumni of the Michigan Daily, one of the nation’s leading college newspapers, concerning their experiences as students covering some of the most important moments in the history of our university, the nation, and the world. Since many of these Michigan Daily alumni have gone on to important careers in American journalism, their fascinating perspectives provide strong evidence of the educational power of such student extracurricular experiences.”
—James J. Duderstadt, President Emeritus at the University of Michigan

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Incisive Journalism in Cameroon

The Best of Cameroon Report' (1978 - 1986)

Working for Cameroon state-owned Radio in the 1970s and ë80s meant toeing the official line and learning not to sing out of tune. While the rather scanty private press that existed at the time was subject to prior censorship, a different kind of censorship ñ self-censorship prevailed at the Radio where topics for commentaries were vetted by the Minister of Information or his delegate. But for Anglophones working in a predominantly francophone environment, once topics were approved, the authorities could not be sure which direction commentaries were going to take as the journalists applied the tactics of ëbite and blowí, sometimes giving full expression of their Anglo-Saxon spirit of debate and critical analysis as evidenced in this selection of commentaries from the Sunday morning commentary programme, ìCameroon Reportî (now ìCameroon Callingî) of the late 1970ís up till 1986. It is a showcase of the irrepressible seed of freedom of expression that Anglophone journalists were imbued with and demonstrated at a time when subjects related to coups díÈtat, human rights and governance were considered taboo. It was and shall remain the indelible input of the Anglophone character that has had a positive influence on Cameroonís media landscape.

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Indexing It All

The Subject in the Age of Documentation, Information, and Data

Ronald E. Day

In this book, Ronald Day offers a critical history of the modern tradition of documentation. Focusing on the documentary index (understood as a mode of social positioning), and drawing on the work of the French documentalist Suzanne Briet, Day explores the understanding and uses of indexicality. He examines the transition as indexes went from being explicit professional structures that mediated users and documents to being implicit infrastructural devices used in everyday information and communication acts. Doing so, he also traces three epistemic eras in the representation of individuals and groups, first in the forms of documents, then information, then data. Day investigates five cases from the modern tradition of documentation. He considers the socio-technical instrumentalism of Paul Otlet, "the father of European documentation" (contrasting it to the hermeneutic perspective of Martin Heidegger); the shift from documentation to information science and the accompanying transformation of persons and texts into users and information; social media's use of algorithms, further subsuming persons and texts; attempts to build android robots--to embody human agency within an information system that resembles a human being; and social "big data" as a technique of neoliberal governance that employs indexing and analytics for purposes of surveillance. Finally, Day considers the status of critique and judgment at a time when people and their rights of judgment are increasingly mediated, displaced, and replaced by modern documentary techniques.

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Information & Culture: A Journal of History

Vol. 36 (2001) through current issue

Formerly Libraries & Culture, through volume 41, no. 2, Spring 2006 (E-ISSN: 1534-7591, Print ISSN: 0894-8631).

Information and Culture: A Journal of History explores the interactions of people, organizations, and societies with information and technologies. Social and cultural context of information and information technology, viewed from an historical perspective, is at the heart of the journal's interests.

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Information and Society

Michael Buckland

We live in an information society, or so we are often told. But what does that mean? This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers a concise, informal account of the ways in which information and society are related and of our ever-increasing dependence on a complex multiplicity of messages, records, documents, and data. Using information in its everyday, nonspecialized sense, Michael Buckland explores the influence of information on what we know, the role of communication and recorded information in our daily lives, and the difficulty (or ease) of finding information. He shows that all this involves human perception, social behavior, changing technologies, and issues of trust.Buckland argues that every society is an "information society"; a "non-information society" would be a contradiction in terms. But the shift from oral and gestural communication to documents, and the wider use of documents facilitated by new technologies, have made our society particularly information intensive. Buckland describes the rising flood of data, documents, and records, outlines the dramatic long-term growth of documents, and traces the rise of techniques to cope with them. He examines the physical manifestation of information as documents, the emergence of data sets, and how documents and data are discovered and used. He explores what individuals and societies do with information; offers a basic summary of how collected documents are arranged and described; considers the nature of naming; explains the uses of metadata; and evaluates selection methods, considering relevance, recall, and precision.

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Inking the Deal

A Guide for Successful Academic Publishing

Stanley E. Porter

In this straightforward and sometimes hard-hitting guide, prolific author Stanley Porter shares the tools necessary for scholars seeking advancement in the world of academic publishing. From his years of experience as an editor, author, and active scholar in his own guild, Porter presents industry insights and practical suggestions for both seasoned scholars and newly minted Ph.D.s who have yet to develop an academic publishing profile. Written primarily for scholars in the arts and humanities, Porter’s advice will help readers gain a valuable understanding of the publishing process and a new confidence with which to pursue academic success.

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Inside Roman Libraries

Book Collections and Their Management in Antiquity

George W. Houston

Libraries of the ancient world have long held a place in the public imagination. Even in antiquity, the library at Alexandria was nearly legendary. Until now there has been relatively little research to discover what was inside these libraries, how the collections came into being and evolved, and who selected and maintained the holdings. In this engaging and meticulously researched study, Houston examines a dozen specific book collections of Roman date in the first comprehensive attempt to answer these questions.

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Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 1

Ken Wachsberger

This enlightening book offers a collection of histories of underground papers from the Vietnam Era as written and told by key staff members of the time. Their stories (as well as those to be included in Part 2, forthcoming) represent a wide range of publications: counterculture, gay, lesbian, feminist, Puerto Rican, Native American, Black, socialist, Southern consciousness, prisoner's rights, New Age, rank-and-file, military, and more. The edition includes forewords by former Chicago Seed editor Abe Peck, radical attorney William M. Kunstler, and Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, along with an introductory essay by Ken Wachsberger.
     Wachsberger notes that the underground press not only produce a few well-known papers but also was truly national and diverse in scope. His goal is to capture the essence of "the countercultural community."
     A fundamental resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of a dramatic era in U.S. history.

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Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 2

Ken Wachsberger

This enlightening book offers a collection of histories of underground papers from the Vietnam Era as written and told by key staff members of the time. Their stories, building on those presented in Part 1, represent a wide range of publications: countercultural, gay, lesbian, feminist, Puerto Rican, Native American, Black, socialist, Southern consciousness, prisoners’ rights, New Age, rank-and-file, military, and more. Wachsberger notes that the underground press not only produced a few well-known papers but also was truly national and diverse in scope. His goal is to capture the essence of “the countercultural community.” This book will be a fundamental resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of a dramatic era in U.S. history, as well as offering a younger readership a glimpse into a generation of idealists who rose up to challenge and improve government and society.

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