NAEB Newsletter (May 1952)

Record Details:

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- 8 - International Broadcasting Research International communications research is a new field requiring a combination of skills rarely found in one individual, Leo Lowenthal, chief of the Radio Program Evaluation Division of the Office of International Broadcasting, Department of State, in New York, told an Institute special interest group on "Communications Research." Lowenthal described field studies conducted in the Near East where he said the Voice of America commands a faithful regularly listening native audience. The studies, he said, posed a number of difficult questions concerning national attitudes toward such matters as broadcasts of readings from the Koran, overtly political programs and "propaganda." The mere posing of these questions, he said, suggests the over-all problem. Valid answers to such questions can be provided, according to Lowenthal, only by a combina¬ tion of a thorough knowledge of cultural psychology, and a body of opinions drawn from a wide and representative national sample. The two requirements are interlocked, he said--the opinions must be obtained by some process which is not culturally offen¬ sive, and culture-bound meanings of the opinions must be made manifest to the com.-, municators of Western Culture. Lowenthal observed that the individual capable of performing the research apparently would have to be a cultural anthropologist who has specialized in Near Eastern soci¬ eties, who is semantically adept in the local languages, who is furthermore a specialist in public opinion measurement, and who is trained in experimental design and ingenious at adapting scientific techniques to use under new and trying condi¬ tions . Cech Reports on Teaching by Television A program series believed to have been the largest single "teaching-by-television" project ever attempted by a single station was described by Richard Cech, of Ames, Iowa. Cech, production director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s television research project at Iowa State College, who spoke before an Institute work-study group session on "Agriculture Telecasts." The teaching series was aired in February over WOI-TV at Iowa State, in cooperation with the Agricultural Extension Service there. It included 10 half-hour films, pro¬ duced specifically for television and showing all details of making a dress, from selection of pattern, measurements, and sewing procedures to modeling. Cech said some 3,000 Iowa women, urban and rural, enrolled in the course and con¬ structed garments according to the semi-weekly TV lessons. At the end of the series, some IT women selected from WOI-TV’s primary coverage area modeled their dresses in a live program and discussed features of the "Make-A-Dress" TV project. A follow-up survey now is under way, he said, to determine audience reaction. Preliminary re¬ ports indicate an audience of 20,000 women, according to Cech. He said that television authorities at Iowa State, and educational authorities also, believe the success of the project presages ultimate large-scale attempts to direct both general and specific educational lessons and projects to the TV audience, particularly in the field of agriculture and home economics.