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Alan says I’m “driven.” Perhaps he’s right (again).

One of my passions is leaving a place at least a little bit better than I found it. Perhaps that explains why I was involved in the River Valley Clean-Up for many years, and dragged friends, family, and publishing colleagues into forming a clean-up team. (Thank you, Yoko, for the annual pot-luck afterwards.)

DSC03197DSC03198Now, on mornings when I walk to the university, I often take my pick-up tongs and a garbage bag and make some modest improvements as I cruise through the river valley, Hawrelak Park, and up Emily Murphy Park Road to the U of A. It’s a beautiful route.

To the bemusement of my colleagues, I did a show-and-tell one day at our staff meeting, to show what a large bag of garbage you could collect along the route. Of course, it was cheating just a little bit to include that hubcap…

DSC03193It can be frustrating, however, to see a bunch of crap left on the ground right next to a garbage can, and it makes me wonder what people are thinking about. I’m also intrigued by how oral our culture is, at least as demonstrated by what we throw on the ground: drink cups, sucker sticks, and gum wrappers. But my pet peeve is with those smokers who make a habit of littering. It’s not just the cigarette butts; it’s also the packages and cellophane wrappers. While some note that cigarette butts are biodegradable, I really wonder what is going through their heads when they throw down the plastic cigarillo holders.DSC03195

While I understand that many of us litter, often unintentionally, during the course of a year, I hope that more people will start picking up in their local areas. Thousands of people come out to clean up Edmonton’s river valley each spring: schools for their environment classes, winter and summer sports groups that use the river facilities, families with small children, and scouts groups. The City of Edmonton instituted intensive recycling back when I was a student at the University of Alberta, and now is initiating a program of “Block Captains” where individual citizens coordinate efforts to keep their block tidy. I am encouraged by these actions, and hope that we incorporate small changes to make our world a better place, in all ways.

Our grounds-keepers do an amazing job.

Our grounds-keepers do an amazing job.

The campus put up new signage to celebrate the U of A's 100th birthday, in 2008.

The campus put up new signage to celebrate the U of A's 100th birthday, in 2008.

Media Book Author William Carney Named CPRS Award of Attainment Recipient for 2009

Congratulations, Bill, on your award!

Congratulations, Bill, on your award!

Toronto, ON, June 16, 2009 – Bill Carney was awarded the prestigious Award of Attainment at the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Annual Conference held last week in Vancouver, BC.

“The Award of Attainment is presented to a member of the Society for outstanding achievement and service to public relations, said Karen Dalton APR, Executive Director of CPRS. “This year’s recipient has, through his personal activities and leadership made a pronounced contribution to the status and acceptance of the public relations function as a whole,” she said.

Newly elected CPRS President Dr. Terry Flynn APR, FCPRS added, “The selection committee named Mr. Carney the CPRS Award of Attainment recipient to recognize his outstanding achievement in contributing to the understanding of media relations in Canada.

“Unfortunately, the teaching of public relations in Canadian colleges and universities relies heavily on U.S. based publications,” Carney noted. “In the News reflects Canadian law and practice and is the only communications textbook used in the country that is Canadian based.” In the News is published by the University of Alberta Press, which submitted the book to the peer review process and established it as a scholarly work.

The Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) is the only Canadian professional association representing more than 1,800 public relations practitioners in 16 Member Societies across Canada who commit to following a Code of Professional Standards. The Society offers a program of professional accreditation in public relations (APR), professional development and education programs affiliated with various colleges and universities, a job registry, networking opportunities, annual national conference, a directory of all members and a forum for information sharing.

Karen Dalton, APR
Executive Director, Canadian Public Relations Society
(416) 239-7034 / kdalton@cprs.ca

Bookmark on CKUA Radio

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters of the “Bookmark” program on the CKUA Radio Network:

“Bookmark,” the half-hour weekly program dedicated to Alberta’s literary community and book trade, finished its second season on Sunday, June 28th. In these challenging economic times, CKUA Radio management faces some tough decisions in order to ensure the continued health and viability of this listener-supported public broadcaster. Spoken word programs are more time-consuming and therefore more expensive to produce than music programs. The station has decided to cancel the “Bookmark” program unless the community elects to support this show financially.

CKUA Radio is funded largely through listener donations along with some corporate underwriting of programs. Station management would like to continue to broadcast “Bookmark” and has come up with a plan to possibly save the show. It’s an idea called Co-Operative Program Sponsorship (CPS), something of a hybrid of corporate underwriting and a listener donation.

Under the CPS model, supporters of Bookmark are asked to donate $500.00 to support one broadcast of the program. Two programs could be underwritten at a cost of $900.00. Three programs at a cost of $1300. And six programs at a cost of $2500.

In return for supporting a specific program, the donor will receive acknowledgement in that broadcast. The donor will in fact receive 3 mentions during the show. While there will be no commercial content within these mentions, a reference to a company’s work can be made; for example, “Bookmark thanks donor sponsor Lotusland Books for supporting this edition of the program. Lotusland Books has been retailing books in Calgary for 40 years. We thank them for their support.

The 2009-2010 Bookmark season would have 35 new shows and would begin September 13th, 2009. CKUA management has agreed that as long as we have donors for 20 of the 35 shows by the end of July, they will consider funding to be reasonably in place and will allow production of the program to proceed for a third season.

I am asking you to either make a pledge of support to “Bookmark” yourself or pass this request along to others of your acquaintance who may have an interest in this initiative. We have four weeks to raise the necessary money to keep “Bookmark” on the air. Please send your preliminary commitment to pledge for the program to myself as I am tracking the numbers on this campaign. I will be forwarding your contact information to CKUA’s Fund Development Office for follow-up. Therefore I would ask that you provide your preferred e-mail address and telephone number, as well as mailing address, when you make your preliminary pledge.

In addition to the CPS campaign, an alternate form of supporting “Bookmark” is a full corporate underwriting position. Such underwriting results in the sponsoring corporation being acknowledged in every Bookmark program as a major sponsor of the program. I believe there are a number of other acknowledgements, on the CKUA website, on-air mentions throughout the broadcast schedule, etc., that are built into corporate underwriting arrangements. My understanding is that a corporate underwriting contract starts at $5,000.00. More information on this sort of sponsorship can be obtained from CKUA’s sales manager Don Barnes by telephone at 780 428 7595 or by email at don.barnes@ckua.com.

I thank you all sincerely for your time and consideration and for your past support of the “Bookmark” program.

Ken Davis
Host, “Bookmark,” CKUA Radio Network


The good news is that to date we have raised $15,000 of the $20,000 goal to keep the “Bookmark” radio program on the air for the 2009-2010 season. Individual pledges have raised $5,000. Corporate underwriting commitments have raised another $10,000. I cannot express enough my personal appreciation of the pledges of financial support made by those of you who have stepped up and done your bit to ensure this service continues. I also must express my deep thanks to the two “corporate angels” who have committed to underwriting the show for the coming season—the Edmonton Public Library and Alberta Views magazine. They deserve your support!

The not-quite-so-good news is that we have two weeks left to get over the $20,000 mark or CKUA management will  have to announce cancellation of the program…so we’re not quite out of the woods yet!

Ken Davis, Host

LSU Press out of the woods for now

We have been watching and weighing in on the unfolding story of Louisiana State University Press’s potential closure. In these economic dark days this is all the more alarming for the publishing community because LSU Press has such a robust, award-winning programme. So alarming, that when news of its possible closure surfaced in May, UAP Director Linda Cameron drafted a letter to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; undersigned by the staff of UAP.

We learned earlier this month that LSU Press will indeed persevere, as many struggling publishers will, but only after some serious belt tightening. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

Mary Katherine Callaway, the press’s director, confirmed in an e-mail message to The Chronicle that the press would live to publish another day. “Yes, it is good news,” she wrote. “We will need to retool several parts of our operation due to the budget cuts, but we’re focused on what we need to do and optimistic about the future.”

Things are tough for everyone, and the tedium some of us may feel of having to defend academic publishing yet again as something much more than a showcase for exclusive research, as rather a vital conduit for sharing the development of ideas between scholars, artists, and thinkers in all disciplines with the wider world of readers, may indeed seem weak and futile; but it is evident this message is reaching those who need to hear it most:

With its reputation for publishing some of the best writing and scholarship from and about the South, the press has many supporters inside academe and in the larger literary community. They rallied to lobby the LSU administration and the state’s governor, Bobby Jindal, to keep the press alive. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

It is refreshing to see the collegial spirit of academe transcend the competitive bounds of commercial enterprise (indeed, university presses do rely heavily on book sales for their survival!) in ways not often seen in private enterprise; but I think this is emblematic of a bigger struggle all publishers share—a struggle to adapt to a changing readership amid a culture that is plugging in to a competitive,  most often noisy array of media for their information and entertainment. The humble book, the peculiar demands it places on readers, the unique rewards it promises, and the rich tradition of talents and types that go into producing it are easy to miss in our “culture of distraction.”


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