The II Wittenberg Summer School 2007
"The American Press and the Challenges of Politics and Technology"
Leucorea Foundation, Wittenberg
July 30 – August 4, 2007
The U.S. media today is frequently known as the Fourth Estate, an appellation that suggests the press shares equal stature with the other branches of government created by the Constitution. The press, or "Fourth Estate" plays a vital role as a guardian of U.S. democracy. That role is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1789, stipulating that Congress not enact any laws abridging freedom of the press.
U.S. media have traveled a long road since the first newspaper was published in Boston, Massachusetts in 1690. The print and electronic media in the United States, offering wide news and entertainment options, are a pervasive element in American society. According to a recent survey by Mediamark Research, 98% of Americans have a television; 82% of those watch "prime time" and 71% cable programming in an average week. 84% percent of Americans listen to radio regularly. 79% percent are newspaper readers. 45% percent of the whole American population has access to the Internet, while for certain demographic groups that percentage reaches a high of close to 70%.
Economics plays a major role in shaping the information served up to the U.S. public in newspapers, on radio and television, and now on the Internet. While nonprofit and advocacy organizations have significant voices, most of the public's primary sources of information -- major urban newspapers, the weekly news magazines, and the broadcast and cable networks -- are in business to make money. Media and communications, with revenues of over $242 billion, are one of America's largest business groups. In 2000, adult consumers of media information and amusement products spent over $675 a person. Advertisers spent an additional $215 billion to bring their products to the attention of the American public. The media are a great engine in American society, providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of technicians, writers, artists, performers and intellectuals and shaping attitudes and beliefs.
(adapted from http://usa.usembassy.de/media.htm)
The Wittenberg Summer School
Through lectures and workshops, participants are introduced to the basic issues surrounding the role of the press in American politics and culture. The program is designed to provide students with a closer look at issues such as freedom of the press, media concentration, and challenges print media face through electronic media . Participants will have an opportunity to develop an e-journal in a workshop setting. Close exchange with faculty and organizers is an essential part of the program. An e-reader intended to help participants prepare for the conference will be available shortly before the conference.
The Wittenberg Summer School is jointly organized by Professor Dr. Holger Kersten, Magdeburg University, Professor Dr. Hans-Jürgen Grabbe, Zentrum für USA Studien (ZUSAS) der Universität Halle-Wittenberg, and Dr. Martina Kohl, U.S. Embassy Berlin and supported by the German Association of American Studies.
Senior faculty from U.S. and German universities will present papers and function as advisors in a workshop setting:
- Dr. Hans-Jürgen Grabbe, Professor of British and American Studies, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, and Director of the Center for United States Studies
- Dr. Holger Kersten, Professor of American Studies, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg
- Erik Kirschbaum, Correspondent, Reuters AG, Berlin
- Dr. Joe Misiewicz, Professor of Telecommunications, Ball State University
- Dr. Stephen Whitfield, Professor of American Studies, Brandeis University
- Dr. Jim Willis, Professor and Chair, Communication Department, Azusa Pacific University
The organizers encourage students from all disciplines, especially the Social Sciences, American Studies and Cultural Studies, from all German Universities to apply to the Summer School. The conference language will be exclusively English. Attendance will be limited to 30 participants.
The cultural office of the U.S. Embassy funds the program, room and board for participants and faculty. Participants will have to cover a registration fee of
EURO 10 and their travel costs.
Internet & Wireless LAN
Two fully equipped computer labs provide access to the Internet. Additionally, a Wireless LAN will be set up for the duration of the summer school. Using a secure WPA key, participants can connect to the Internet with their own laptop computers in the seminar rooms and the LEUCOREA's North wing (and from some other parts of the buildings). Therefore — and for their own convenience — participants are encouraged to bring their laptop computers to Wittenberg (although not required).
Zentrum für USA-Studien (ZUSAS)
06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Phone +49. 3491. 46 61 09
Fax +49. 3491. 46 62 23