Tag Archives: Media Award

March 2013 TSP Media Award for Measured Social Science

Just gotta find the gold one… Photo by takingthemoney via flickr.com

Just gotta find the gold one… Photo by takingthemoney via flickr.com

It’s been decided! The winner of the March 2013 TSP Media Award for Measured Social Science goes to:

Anthropology Inc.,” Graeme Wood, The Atlantic.

Wood explains that corporations are seeking the help of social scientists to understand the qualitative dynamics of consumer behavior. To illustrate, Wood delves into one strategy consulting company’s struggle to understand consumers’ needs in China:

“We find that these objects have meanings, not just facts,” Madsbjerg says, “and that the meaning is often what matters.” So to sell a personal computer in China, for example, what matters is the whole concept of a “personal” computer, which is culturally wrong from the start. “Household objects don’t have the same personal attachment [in China as they do in America]. It has to be a shared thing.” So if the device isn’t designed and marketed as a shared household object, but instead as one customized for a single user, it probably won’t sell, no matter how many gigahertz it has.

TSP author Andrew Wiebe wrote a citing on this article which outlines the problem-solving Absolut Vodka did with the help of anthropologists. To see more examples of how social scientists are helping unearth consumer insights, check out Wood’s article—a lengthy, but fascinating read.

As we say often, the choice of each month’s TSP Media Award is neither scientific nor exhaustive, but we do work hard to winnow our favorite nominees. And, while we don’t have the deep pocketbooks to offer enormous trophies or cash prizes, we hope our informal award offers cheer and encouragement for journalists and social scientists to keep up the important (if not always rewarding) work of bringing academic knowledge to the broader public.

January 2013 TSP Media Award for Measured Social Science

Just gotta find the gold one… Photo by takingthemoney via flickr.com

Just gotta find the gold one… Photo by takingthemoney via flickr.com

We are pleased to announce the winner of the January 2013 TSP Media Award for Measured Social Science:

US media helped anti-Muslim bodies gain influence, distort Islam,” Liat Clark, Wired UK

In an engaging piece jumping off of recently published sociological analysis of post-9/11 rhetoric in the United States, Clark wrote:

A study published by a sociologist has revealed that fear-mongering non-governmental anti-Muslim organisations have been heavily influencing US media since 9/11, their messages seeping into news articles and television reporting and drawing their ethos from the fringes, straight into the mainstream.

What’s perhaps most troubling about the results is how these minor groups, which would ordinarily receive little or no air time, have gained an element of respect that has led to them receiving more funding and coupling with influential bodies. Their influence is such that they have even been able to paint mainstream Muslim organisations as radical, says the study.

By going on to further explore Christopher Bail’s article and bring in commentary from sociologist Penny Edgell about her work on American responses to atheism, Clark shows a broad, but intricate, journalistic approach—particularly notable since she’s writing about religion, but also, well, journalism.

Clark’s article has been written up as a Citing by our own Andrew Wiebe, but is well worth a thorough read.

As we say often, the choice of each month’s TSP Media Award is neither scientific nor exhaustive, but we do work hard to winnow our favorite nominees. And, while we don’t have the deep pocketbooks to offer enormous trophies or cash prizes, we hope our informal award offers cheer and encouragement for journalists and social scientists to keep up the important (if not always rewarding) work of bringing academic knowledge to the broader public.

Belatedly, the June 2012 Media Award for Measured Social Science

Stars by takingthemoney via flickr.com

Just gotta find the gold one… Photo by takingthemoney via flickr.com

TSP’s Media Awards may have taken the summer off, but journalists and social scientists assuredly did not! We are excited to announce the winner of the June 2012 TSP Media Award for Measured Social Science:

The Rise of Genocide Memorials,” Clare Spencer, BBC News

In her write-up of Spencer’s piece, TSP’s Hollie Nyseth Brehm showed how Spencer called on the expertise of psychologist Sheila Keegan along with her own research to help explain the phenomenon of genocide tourism—an act that is not without controversy, and Spencer does not shy away from discussing it.

As we’ve said before, the choice of each month’s TSP Media Award is neither scientific nor exhaustive, but we work hard to winnow our favorite nominees. And, while we don’t have the deep pocketbooks to offer enormous trophies or cash prizes, we hope our informal award offers cheer and encouragement for journalists and social scientists to keep up the important (if not always rewarding) work of bringing academic knowledge to the broader public.

Belatedly, the May 2012 Media Award for Measured Social Science

Stars by takingthemoney via flickr.com

Just gotta find the gold one… Photo by takingthemoney via flickr.com

TSP’s Media Awards may have taken the summer off, but journalists and social scientists assuredly did not! We are excited to announce the winner of the May 2012 TSP Media Award for Measured Social Science:

Paying for the Labors of Love,” Judith ShulevitzThe New York Times Sunday Book Review

In her engaging and thorough review of Arlie Russell Hochschild’s The Outsourced Self (the author was the subject of her own Citing in May 2012 with a New York Times Op-Ed), Shulevitz wrote:

I guess you’d call it popular sociology, but I think of it more as an act of mourning. …Hochschild’s look at how we meet some of our most personal needs with the aid of paid strangers doesn’t try to be exhaustive; goes light on figures and statistics; and, when itemizing the most outrageous advances in the market for love and care, never lapses into that magazine journalist’s tone of wry amusement. …Hochschild isn’t really interested in the extremes of the outsourced life. She wants to know what it feels like to be caught in the middle of it. An ethnographic sociologist rather than a quantifier of social trends, Hochschild elicits thoughtful reflections from ordinary people. Then she uses those reflections to chart the confusing intersections between commerce and private life…

By going on to engage Hochschild’s book and other, relevant sources (including novels that illustrate “the gulf between employers, who imagine that relations between themselves and their emotional delegates are mutually beneficial, and the employed, who grasp the cash they take is meant to make them invisible”), Shulevitz shows the deep literary knowledge and willingness to delve into even daring topics that earned her editorial roles at New York MagazineSlate, and Lingua Franca, as well as bylines in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and more.

As we’ve said before, the choice of each month’s TSP Media Award is neither scientific nor exhaustive, but we do work hard to winnow our favorite nominees. In this case, we’ve actually chosen a piece that has not yet been featured on our site, though it is well-deserving of many a read. And, while we don’t have the deep pocketbooks to offer enormous trophies or cash prizes, we hope our informal award offers cheer and encouragement for journalists and social scientists to keep up the important (if not always rewarding) work of bringing academic knowledge to the broader public.

April 2012 Media Award for Measured Social Science

Stars by takingthemoney via flickr.com

Just gotta find the gold one! Photo by takingthemoney via flickr.com

In what is becoming both an honor and an increasingly-enjoyable process, the Citings & Sightings section at The Society Pages couldn’t be more proud to announce April’s recipient of the TSP Media Award for Measured Social Science. Our site strives to go beyond just pointing out social scientists  in the news by recognizing journalists and media outlets who take advantage of the unique perspective and data social scientists can provide—and the sociologists willing to provide that perspective. So, without further ado, the winner for April 2012:

Barbara Risman, “Phony ‘mommy wars’ avoid real issues for women,” CNN.com, April 20, 2012.

As we discussed in our coverage of the piece, prominent sociologist Risman points out just four of the many contradictions between society’s values and actions that put the lie to the valorization of care-giving. Her use of thoughtful sociological reasoning provides an important and nuanced look at a hot button issue and demonstrates that post-war workplaces aren’t serving millenial families.

We admit the selection process for this award isn’t exactly scientific or exhaustive, but we did, as a board, work hard to winnow down to our favorite bunch-o-nominees and debate more from there. We also don’t have the deep pocketbooks to offer the winners Stanley-Cup-sized trophies or cash prizes, but we hope our informal award offers both cheer and encouragement to continue the important work of bringing social scientific knowledge to the broader public. Here’s to April’s best!

Happy reading!

The Society Pages