Just TV

Case Study #3
Title: Just TV (http://justtv.wordpress.com/)

Principal: Jason Mittell, Assoc Prof of Film and Media Culture and American Studies, Middlebury C

What is it: Scholarly blog


  • Self-publication / Pre-publication
  • Public commentary as a mode of peer review
  • Informal genres of scholarly communication and networking
  • Web metrics as a measure of scholarly impact
  • Open access and audience


Author’s comment about his blog: (see http://justtv.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/birthday-blogging/)

I started as a reluctant blogger. A few faculty at Middlebury who were quite forward-thinking technologically encouraged me to try blogging when I arrived in 2002, but I was skeptical – after all, shouldn’t I spend my time writing something that “counts”? But in retrospect, no writing has counted more than what I’ve posted here, both in the measurable counts of readers and commenters, and harder-to-measure sense of professional impact. . . .

While I’m not ready to say that publishing a piece on a blog is “worth” more than a conventional journal article or book chapter (at least if you’re invested in being a conventional tenure-track academic – if you’re not, blogging is definitely much more worthwhile!), I do think that I’ve gotten more tangible value from my blog in terms of invitations to give talks and other academic accomplishments than from my standard publications alone. And this “alone” is key – for me, the blog serves as a means to make my scholarly work more timely, more accessible, and more conversational, but it has not stopped me from publishing in books and journals. In talking to academics who do not have blogs, I often get the sense that they view blogging and publishing in an “either/or” relationship, as if anything posted to their blog then becomes tainted for publication. Some publishers may think that, but many do not – after all, NYU Press is letting me self-publish an entire draft of my forthcoming book online. And those presses who are not supportive of open access like this will discover that they will not be able to publish my work, and that of many other scholars who sign onto the open access movement.

How the blog is described for tenure review (paragraph from author’s tenure review self-evaluation):

I am also committed to publishing online through a range of venues. I have published a refereed article for the online journal Particip@tions, and was a columnist for the influential and widely cited media studies website FlowTV.org. I believe strongly that scholarship should be made accessible to a wide audience via online dissemination, and that scholarly writing about topics of broad interest like contemporary television should be written to invite readers into sophisticated arguments, not alienate them through overly-obscure language or barriers in accessing hard-to-find scholarly publications. Since November 2006, I have been writing a blog called Just TV (http://justtv.wordpress.com), which features commentary about contemporary developments in media, as well as drafts and works-in-progress for my more formal writing. The blog has been a great avenue to network with a broader community of readers, averaging almost 100 pageviews a day and generating links from a number of prominent academic bloggers—this mode of engagement is certainly not meant to replace traditional scholarly publishing, but to supplement it as a way to develop a network of readers and generate feedback and investment in my research and ideas.

Author’s post about the workshophttp://justtv.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/thoughts-on-blogging-for-tenure/

sponsored by the MLA Committee on Information Technology

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