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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

The Providence Phoenix, an alternative newsweekly published in Providence, Rhode Island and owned by the Phoenix Media/Communications group, is first and foremost a free publication. So how does a community take advantage of a free publication, and how in turn does a free publication affect a community?

by Emma Whitford

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"Yet whether one uses the press for privacy in public conveyances, or for involvement in the communal while enjoying privacy, the mosaic of the press manages to effect a complex many-leveled function of group-awareness and participation such as the book has never been able to perform." -- Marshall McLuhan in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man

"The Phoenix Media/Communications Group is a family of companies that work together to reach people who share a similar lifestyle. Cooperatively, they create a unique atmosphere for our readers. Our company reflects a commitment to new ideas rooted in a solid and broadly cooperative business model. Put simply, we think this is the way new media works." -- The Phoenix Media/Communications Group, "about us" section of website

I. History: from Penny Press to Providence Phoenix What as been lost? What has been gained?

II. Form: paper, ink and the mosaic

III. From the morning commute to the midnight study break: How and where does one absorb the Phoenix?

IV. How we use the darn thing

V. So where is the Phoenix headed?

VI. An outsider's perspective (Anecdotes and Journal)

VII. Conclusions (Reflections on my point of entry)

Personal Archive: Fall 2008

project proposal


Posted at Oct 02/2008 05:28PM:
chris witmore: Hi Emma, We have discussed some angles on this. Have a look at one of the standard communications texts such as John Vivian's The Media of Mass Communication. In terms of media as things, the Latour reading for the map week will be of interest. Also a seminal work here is Marshal McLuhan's Understanding media.

Posted at Oct 28/2008 01:17AM:
Lindsay: You talk a lot in your project proposal about the Phoenix being online as well as in print, and whether it's still necessary for publications to be printed when online access is almost universal, at least in Providence (for the Phoenix's target audience). Is there something inherently valuable about physically reading the newspaper? The black smudges on your fingers, the portability, the way you can clip out articles of interests and stick them in your pocket... especially with a newspaper such as the Phoenix which is a "mosaic," the physical format might be more effective than an online format would be, especially when this format requires links and categories and other organization commonly found on websites to make them more user-friendly.

Alexandra: This is indirectly linked to your project. The Providence Journal (which one must pay for) recently fired 30 members of its staff, because its costs are too high. Probably for business reasons, this was not reported in their newspaper. Has the Providence Phoenix suffered any lay-offs? If not, does that suggest that free media is the way of the future?

Posted at Dec 21/2008 09:33AM:
chris witmore: An excellent project Emma. Beyond being well written, you enroll many of the key course readings to effective ends in your study of the Phoenix. You may consider issues of navigation by adding a link back to this main page on all of your pages. Great work.