Susan Currie Sivek, Ph.D.

Media studies and journalism professor at Linfield College

Check out my blog, MediaShift posts, research and teaching below.

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From my blogs and MediaShift
April 14, 2016

Teaching Magazine Students More than Magazines

Academia may be notorious for adapting slowly to change. But as magazines have adopted new technologies and approaches, some journalism educators have been innovating right alongside them, updating their teaching of magazine courses to reflect the changing industry. I talked with four professors who teach magazine-related courses about what they’ve been doing to keep their students’ training up to speed with the professional world.  Wherefore Tablets? Dusty tablets are apparently taking up space in at least

April 12, 2016

How NatGeo, Hearst Created Moments With Facebook Video

That little red notification icon on Facebook might now be a magazine reaching out to share a live broadcast with you. Video has probably featured more and more in your Facebook feed recently, whether live or recorded. Facebook says there are about 4 billion views of videos on the site each day, and media companies especially have  been experimenting with using new live video options. Magazines aren’t new to video. They’ve been publishing videos on their

March 3, 2016

How Magazines Hit the Crowdfunding Jackpot on Kickstarter

It’s sadly unusual to see magazines at the top of any media-related list these days. So when I noticed a recent crowdfunding report where that happened, I had to check it out. The Pew Research Center released a report in January on crowdfunded journalism at Kickstarter, detailing how donations have powered a wide array of journalistic projects in different media. The report’s authors analyzed 658 journalism projects that reached or exceeded their funding targets from 2009 to 2015. Although

April 9, 2015

The Media Professor’s Textbook Dilemma

One small part of my main office bookshelf. Some really good books here, but few I’ve actually adopted for courses. Every semester, the textbook challenge rises again. Does a specific course really need a textbook? Is there such a thing as a truly up-to-date print textbook on a media-related topic? Could we get by entirely or mostly on freely available/library-accessible online readings, tutorials, MOOC segments and other bits of vetted content? Why are there still no online, interactive

April 2, 2015

Attempting Intellectual Craftsmanship with a Decomposition Book [#OneLittleThing Series]

My new “Decomposition Book.” Behold: my new notebook, a.k.a. a “Decomposition Book.” Yes, it has cute farm animals on it. I particularly like the inquisitive lamb at bottom left. I have been struggling lately to find a method of capturing the little things that intrigue me in everyday life. I know that some of these factoids and concepts could coalesce into bigger ideas; but I find that taking photos of things with my phone or

April 2, 2015

Recently at PBS MediaShift: Visualizing the Discouraging Realities for Magazines

Yet another goofy Photoshop mashup by me. I am exhausting the Internet’s stock of CC-licensed photos of magazines. I have a new(ish) post at PBS MediaShift that also represents my first foray into non-scholarly data visualization. I really enjoyed trying out a number of tools before settling on for these visualizations of the most recent Magazine Media 360° report, which presents the most recent audience data across platforms for about 145 magazines. The data

March 26, 2015

Visualizing the Discouraging Realities, Mobile Growth at Digital Mags

Every month, the Magazine Media 360° audience report lands in my email inbox. I’ve always wanted to dig deeper into that intriguing spreadsheet. Finally, it’s spring break — and what else does a journalism professor do on vacation but play around with data? This report is released by MPA, the Association of Magazine Media. Its full name is “The Magazine Media 360° Brand Audience Report.” It summarizes in a 5-page document (here’s February’s PDF) the current

March 24, 2015

New at PBS MediaShift: Exploring the “Netflix for Magazines” Model

I have a new post up at PBS MediaShift that offers a different perspective on the “Netflix for magazines” (a.k.a., “buffet-style”) business model offered by Readly and Magzter, among other companies. I wanted to hear from these companies about why they think they can succeed with this approach. The two things I found most curious in reporting this story: From my conversation with Blake Pollard at Readly: “We have tried to go away from being a reading app to

March 23, 2015

‘Netflix for Magazines’ Services Explain Why They’re Not Doomed

It must be depressing to hear so many people say that your company’s business model has no future. Some magazine industry observers have recently said that the “all-you-can-read” or “Netflix for magazines” subscription model is doomed. They cite the lack of appeal of digital magazines, the missing sensory pleasure of print, and the superiority of reading individual online articles over magazine issues. Despite these doubts, the companies offering this subscription approach have soldiered on and have seen

March 13, 2015

Audio Slideshows…Still Useful?

The BBC is still into audio slideshows… It was this little moment in media where everyone thought the future of media was the audio slideshow. I was hired by The New York Times to make audio slideshows and to teach other people how to do that. I would make over 50 audio slideshows a year, I trained like 200 people on audio recording. I really spent the first 12 months of my existence doing that.

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