Future public servants evaluated on opinions about Conservative Economic Action Plan.

The highly controversial Conservative Economic Action Plan is being used in an essay question for potential applicants to an elite management training program in the federal public service. One of my former research assistants was really excited recently – he was applying to get a job in Canada’ public service. So he logged on to …

Some advice for college and university students

[This piece was originally posted as a note on Facebook on Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 15:24 and republished on the Talent Egg Career Incubator on September 15, 2009] The three or four years you will spend at college or university should be some of the best years of your life. You have a rare …

Guest lecture from Andrew Laing of Cormex Research at McMaster

My 4th-year News Analysis class had a special treat today. We had a guest lecturer – Dr Andrew Laing, president of Cormex Research. Cormex Research is Canada’s leading media content measurement and analysis firm. Here’s an example of the sort of work Cormex does. Andrew is a unique and admirable person. He took time out …

Ontario must invest in higher education.

When I began teaching at McMaster University on July 1, 2001, I had a pretty unique experience as a new professor. I was the first person hired into the Communication Studies Program at McMaster University. The program was so new that it didn’t even exist. In fact, the program only officially took existence with our …

Canadians deserve evidence-based politics

It is about time that political communication caught up to medicine by applying modern standards of evidence to its practices. The practice of medicine has been revolutionised over the last 20 years by the emergence of evidence-based diagnosis and treatment. The idea behind evidence-based medicine is that doctors should apply the findings of scientific research …

Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie – a great documentary

I have spent the evening writing up a grant to fund a new research project (while eating lots of chicken couscous that I made yesterday) on political communication using the technique of content analysis. I will be submitting it later on this week. More on that project in a future post. While I was writing, …

Canada’s choice: political communication as dance or war?

Yesterday afternoon, I gave a lecture to my first year communications class on George Lakoff’s idea that our thinking is fundamentally rooted in metaphor. Lakoff explains that the underpinnings of how we structure our understanding of the world is metaphorical. He gives the example of “Time is money” – a metaphor that expresses a principle …

Conservative government hubris chequed.

I think that the Conservative Party of Canada wants to remain in a permanent minority position. For a couple of weeks, they had the Liberals on the run, with the media and NDP ganging up on Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. The Liberals’ popularity was sagging in the polls to below-Dion levels. The terrible mistake in …

Variables, Sampling and Content Analysis

I had a seminar class today with my Communication Studies 4N03: News Analysis class. It was great. We focused on units of sampling, variable selection and defining the population. I really enjoy teaching this class, because it is problem- and project-based. The class is divided into 7 groups, each of whom is taking on a …