Episode Information

Media Ecology: Is Technology Helping?
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
08/13/2008
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In this episode:

How is the cultural shift in technology affecting our social behavior?

 

Episode Audio

53:29 minutes (25.68 MB)
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Author Dick Meyer has a long list of gripes about modern American culture - not the least of which is the pervasive presence of the media.

This is a bit surprising, because Meyer has made his career as part of the media. He's now editorial director of digital media at NPR. He's been a longtime columnist and reporter for CBS News. His new book is "Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millenium." It takes on a culture that Meyer sees as increasingly coarse - from the individual (the guy talking too loud on the cell phone) to the corporate, to the political.

We talk to Meyer about his big target in the book, what he calls "OmniMedia...the penetration of media into every part of our lives."

Later, we'll bring on two "media ecologists" to further explore this idea and we'd like you to join the conversation. Do you think the increase in access to technology makes your life better or worse?

Join the conversation! Add your suggestions, questions or comments below.


 
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email to [email protected]

I would say technology has made my work life easier. I used to drive to
FedEx several times a week, usually at the last minute, to get a
overnight package out.
Now I just upload a file to my FTP site, which I can do, for all intents
and purposes, at 1am for my client to receive first thing in the morning.
Occasionally I will send an e-mail at midnight, and a client happens to
be checking e-mail, and I get a reply instantly.
Certainly my wife does not think I should be working at midnight, but I
see e-mail as a way to keep projects moving without too much effort.
Great show
Mike - Waterbury

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I have been listening to National Public Radio from stations around the country for about 30 years. In general, I do not turn on the TV, except for emergency weather updates, which I can now find online. In addition I read the New York Times Sunday paper, and the local newspaper. My uncle, Jim Scott, was the editor of the Kansas City Star Editorial Page for years. In the ~ 1988, after questioning me about what I read, my uncle expressed indignity upon learning that I did not read the local newspaper. I explained that I did not have a position of any influence from which to much to effect local issues, and so preferred art and architecture journals, which were the focus of my profession (I taught architectural design studios at the University of Kansas). Since that time, especially during the past ten years, I have taken time to become very involved in green architecture, and local urban design issues - albeit in Hartford rather than Kansas City. At this time, the Hartford Courant arrives on our doorstep every morning (as does the Sunday NYTimes).

I grew up in "the suburbs" where some mothers walked around the house and turned on the tv in every room before serving breakfast to the family (thankfully my mother did not do that). Depending upon how you manage the personal space of your home, the amount of news media available everywhere doesn't seem to have changed that much - o except for the proliferation of mobile internet/email phones; tv screens in airports and baseball stadiums; and now the emerging ability to project video - thus 'news' and commercials - on just about any building surface.

What I notice is that local media professionals spend most of their time presenting views, especially their views or the views of their friends. There is very little serious fact-finding local investigative reporting, especially with respect to the design and construction industry - an billion $/yr industry that directly shapes the local environment and in extension the long term economy with life-cycle renovation and on-going energy costs. In general, local news coverage rarely, if ever, addresses issues/facts that are not of interest/on the radar screen of a rather small circle of local personalities.

When NPR programming is not airing the same voices dominate: Faith Middletown everyday, if not twice a day; John Dankosky/'Where We Live' on radio and CPTV; Bill Curry (who is excellent) writes for the Courant and appears frequently as a talk show guest; Tom Condon, . . . There is not much diversity in the ideas available through local news sources. WNPR does not even bother with music, so the quality of our audible common has been greatly diminished - especially with respect to spontaneous new voices, who may not be accepted by the news establishment.

Thanks for asking,
Mary Rickel Pelletier