Three Faculty Members Receive R&D Grants

Three faculty members in the School of Communications were approved for Faculty Research and Development grants.

Janna Anderson ’s research project will assemble an ethnographic multimedia online site with unparalleled data from the first Internet Governance Forum, held in Athens, Greece, in late 2006. Her research crew recorded video and audio interviews and still photographs with 26 people from 16 different nations at the historic first IGF conference. Included in the group were internet pioneer Vinton Cerf and UN leader Markus Kummer. The research step being funded is the sorting of the materials, assessment, editing, packaging and presentation. The ethnographic content recorded at the IGF meeting will be packaged in the best format possible to serve as historic documentation and as material that can be used to inform future policy. The funding will help support added depth to a collection of ethnographic materials that are already being used at national and international levels to help project futures and advise policy decisions. The site address is

Harlen Makemson received a Faculty Research anddescription Development Grant to support a history project on television news programming in 1968. The grant will go toward acquiring videotapes from Vanderbilt’s Television News Archive for two subjects:

  • ABC’s move to condense the party conventions into a 90-minute nightly summary—standard practice today, but in 1968 a huge departure from the gavel-to-gavel norm. The research will examine media criticism of ABC’s decision and analyze the network’s coverage. In addition, the research will focus on the nightly Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley debates, a forerunner of programs such as CNN’s “Crossfire.”
  • Television coverage of the Apollo 8 mission, the first space flight to orbit the moon. The mission had religious and spiritual meaning for many Americans, not only because the mission occurred during the Christmas holiday, but also because the crew read from Genesis during the orbit.

Randy Piland received a grant to document the global community of Scouts gathering in Chelmsford, Essex, England for the 100th Anniversary of International Scouting (Boy Scouts and Girl Guides). As a photojournalist, Piland will engage a combination of visual ethnography and photojournalism to expand his visual understanding of how one contributes to the other. This event will provide the backdrop of a significant historical and cultural exchange in which visual storytelling and ethnographic study fuse. The scene will consist of 35,000 Scouts and leaders attending this event from more than 100 countries. He will focus on the common thread of Scouting within this diverse mix of cultures.


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