February 28, 2008

Looking Outside: An Investigation Into Other Resources on Sociology and Media

This week, I paused my own writing in an effort to research and uncover the indispensable sociology-related and media-related resources on the internet. While there are many arbitrary websites, there is also a multitude of fascinating, scholarly websites. It is a difficult but worthwhile task to sort through the clutter of websites to find only the most valuable websites. I am hoping that in identifying these resources, I can become better informed in my field and I can give you, the reader, the opportunity to read more about media and sociology's symbiotic relationship. I evaluated the websites based on The Webby Awards and IMSA standards, and the following ten websites meet the criteria. The first website is Project Censored. This website delivers controversial and unheard stories in the news. Following The Webby Awards guidelines, the creators of the website are academics who cover the material with authority. Furthermore, the website is interactive, inviting readers to nominate a story if the story fits the necessary guidelines described on the web page. The biggest flaw with the website is in its aesthetics-it is not a very attractive website. Another resource is Reportage-this is a respected Independent Australian Magazine that emphasizes the role that the media plays in influencing politics. The site is easy to navigate through, aesthetically pleasing, and credible. However, it is not as interactive as it could be. A website that is incredibly interactive is the Canadian Content. It covers important news stories, and it is unique because the website provides forums for people to join and discuss current topics. The posts focus on how the media impacts the people, and it meets all of The Webby Awards standards. This website does not have any outstanding weaknesses. It is attractive, easy to navigate through, interactive, and the writers are credible. Another highly interactive resource is Media Rights -the website serves as a platform for independent filmmakers. Individuals can submit their documentaries to the website and have their social issues heard through the documentaries. This website could be improved by taking more authority on the issues that are discussed in the documentaries. Additionally, New Media Studies is a wonderful resource. It is incredibly easy to navigate, wonderfully designed, and the material is wonderful-sociologists examine a variety of current mediums. Sociology in Switzerland is another valuable resource because it links to many articles related to sociology and culture. However, the website is not very attractive and slightly difficult to navigate through due to the clutter. One of the most useful websites I found is the Electronic Journal of Sociology. The site links to many highly valuable articles on current sociological issues. The website is weak in that it is difficult to submit essays to the site- the interactivity portion of the website should be improved. While there are many helpful websites about sociology, I found fantastic blogs, as well. Occam's Razr is a valuable blog. The posts are not the most provocative and academically advanced posts, but they are highly interactive, thought-provoking, and interesting. Culture Matters (depicted on the left) is a blog that has many posts discussing issues with a sociological and anthropological analysis. The site meets the IMSA criteria in the sophisticated language, established authority, and admitted bias. My only critique is that the blog would benefit from the use of pictures as a way of drawing attention to particular posts. Finally, Thinking Culture is a fantastic blog-it is provocative, authoritative, and completely confesses to biases. Both Culture Matters and Thinking Culture are my favorite resources because the posts are completely opinionated, which makes them interesting.

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