FAQ interview with ISPR Presence News managing editor Matthew Lombard

FAQ Interview with ISPR Presence News Managing Editor Matthew Lombard

Here are answers to some frequently (and not-as-frequently) asked questions about ISPR Presence News, including a look ahead at some changes on the way.

Q: Where do you get the items in ISPR-PN?

Matthew Lombard (ML): Anywhere I can – Google news searches; academic and professional email lists and LinkedIn groups; items that I read or see in the newspaper, on TV, and on general and tech news web sites; things people send my way. Readers also submit items on the ISPR web site, which is great.

Q. How do you decide which items to post?

ML: I look for items that have a direct connection to different types of telepresence (even though the items often don’t use the term); that are neither too technical nor introductory; that cover the latest technology, research and theory; and that don’t repeat earlier posts.

Q. How many subscribers does ISPR-PN have?

ML: As of June 1, 2013, five hundred and nineteen people are subscribed to the daily digest RSS-to-email service, 123 get each item as it’s posted, and 68 get the weekly digest of post links. Smaller sets of people are subscribed via Twitter (138) and Facebook (59). There’s very likely overlap, but these total to 907. These are obviously small numbers compared to commercial information sources, but substantial as a representation of the presence academic community.

Q. How long have you been doing this? How many posts have there been?

ML: In 1999 Mike Shapiro at Cornell suggested I serve as the manager for a new Listserv email list about presence to be offered as a service of the Information Systems division of the International Communication Association (ICA). After 2,719 posts on presence-l, the list was replaced in January 2010 by ISPR Presence News (which uses the WordPress platform). As of June 1, I’ve posted 1,819 items there (so 4,535 posts all together).

Q. Why do you do it?

ML: Aside from just being interested in all kinds of news, scholarship, etc. related to presence and wanting to share information with others who are interested, ever since graduate school I’ve thought the concept of presence, defined broadly, captures a set of fascinating and important phenomena that are in the process of reshaping our lives, the world and human history (my own work includes ‘big picture’ topics such as presence and sex, death and the nature of reality). Serving the presence community in this role gives me a small way to contribute to these changes and the study of them.

Q. Do you read all of these articles and other posts?

ML: Yes, with only a few exceptions when I’m in a hurry.

Q. When a post appears on the blog, in email or on Twitter or Facebook, does that mean you just sent it out?

ML: That was always the case with the presence-l list. The WordPress platform we use now allows the editor to schedule posts in advance, but I rarely take advantage of that feature. Unless I’m traveling or in rare other situations, I submit the posts between 8 and 9 am Eastern Standard time.

Q. Does ISPR have to get copyright permission to reprint news stories?

ML: We consider the reposting of material from other sources in this context to be ‘fair use,’ but we immediately remove part or all of items if asked (which has only happened a few times). We always identify and link to the original source of news items and mention additional material that can be found there. While we could provide just the links (or abstracts and links) for news items, we want to create a comprehensive and accessible record of the information out there for educational purposes and though many of the original items remain indefinitely, web pages often disappear or get moved.

Q. Are there any changes coming to ISPR Presence News?

ML: Yes; we’re looking for ways to increase interaction with and feedback from subscribers and to build a stronger sense of community. Look for more posts about presence scholars and other community members, more questions to subscribers asking for comment and other feedback, and a new kind of post: pictures that capture some aspect of presence along with prompts for reader reaction. We are always interested in constructive feedback, suggestions and requests – I encourage subscribers to send email any time (to lombard@temple.edu or ispr@ispr.info)!


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