Planning academics need to wake the hell up about media and media literacy

Every.Single.Time. I submit a manuscript about media and planning to a planning journal, I get some communicative theory person who makes snide comments the entire way through that hint hard and heavy that the topic under discussion is trivial compared to their wonderful small-group deliberations.

On the Woodrow Wilson Bridge piece, I had some damn know-all who clearly was not an expert in ANY aspect of the work, derided the work at EVERY point, and then whiiiiiiiiiiined when I argued back. URRRRGGGGGGG. If you are going to write snotty comments, expect somebody to come back at you. Anything else is an abuse of the power of anonymity. One of their best shots was making a snot comment about how I pointed out that the WWB PR team had gotten the project featured on the Discovery Channel. People who understand media know that there is television, and there is everything else, and nothing gets the eyeballs that television does. Was it a significant moment in television? No. Was it really, really good for the careers of the PR and project staff? Yes, undoubtedly. These are arguments I shouldn’t have to have.

Planning departments in Stumpjumper City,USA may not have local planning offices worried with what the media say, but I doubt it. Even if that is true, the rest of us live in major media markets where the legitimacy of public agencies to undertake planning activities is highly mediated. Planning takes place on a stage in these markets, and I’m sick of having to defend my interest in the subject. It’s Baby Boom scholar preciousness to pound your fist on the table about its triviality because everybody else–literally everybody else–knows that media are changing politics and politics are changing media, and planning as a political act is right there in it.