Monday, March 4, 2013

Shift Happens Man

I began J-school at Northwest Missouri State University in 2003, and the hot topic of the time was most certainly "convergence." And this convergence in newspapers, at least for us at the Northwest Missourian, involved using "new media" as a tool, and as a bargaining chip or weapon. We were using forms of new media--picture stories and photo galleries, along with video blogs (vlogs) and interactive news stories--to drive traffic to our web site and conversely, to drive web users to the print edition of the newspaper. A great news story or feature told through pictures on the web with no text, begged the question in the mind of the web user of what the story was about. If it was interesting enough, that web user found themselves picking up the hard copy of the paper to read the story that went along with photos. And it goes without saying, I do believe at the time that it worked to keep newspaper readership.

The above is a great example of MacNamara's referred "mediamorphosis." And on the web site of our little newspaper at the time, the new "hot" section of times was properly labeled, "multimedia."

While I agree the term "new media" is becoming no longer relevant as a term, it still currently aids the broad terminology of digital media. As there is even debate as to how many forms of media we have currently, I think it plausible to define, or separate, all media into two categories: traditional or digital. Except...can anyone think of a traditional media source? And be cautious as you try to find a traditional media example, because that may call for a class-time lynching by your peers. I don't think there exists a newspaper, broadcast television show, or radio program, that doesn't have a web site, Facebook fan page, Twitter handle or YouTube channel (and if they're using "the times" correctly, they should probably have all of those).

Sure, the top-down model still exists, but within moments of CNN, Fox News or MSNBC reporting, there are hundreds if not thousands of people fact-checking their statements online and later blogging about any erroneous or unfair reporting. This is the era of citizen journalism and I don't believe that is debatable. Those with an Internet connection or rather, access to the web, now hold the power, but not necessarily the platform. If one blogger can create enough buzz that 1,000 bloggers are making the noise together, I think more often than not, the news outlets will eventually report on it.

You have to love the end of "Emergent Media and Public Communication" when MacNamara states, "This emergence is occurring in practices more than technologies and these are insightfully informed by a historical and socially-situated analysis of human communication rather than focus on novelty and "newness." I could not agree more. The emergence of everything that is the web, and everything that is media today, is far beyond what we ever thought possible--it's truly a cultural shift. I don't have to remind you that were currently are blogging for our Media and Culture course, do I? Need I say more?

1 comment:

  1. Riley - I think you make a good point in your first paragraph when you state that you used new media forms to drive your audience to your website. I can remember at the alumni association when we created our Facebook account that almost everything we did was to drive people to our website. Now, a few years later, the number one goal of our "new media" is not to drive traffic to our website. Our Facebook, twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts all have their individual purposes, messages and reasons for existing. They all have "one voice" throughout their messages but they've taken on lives of their own which I think is another supporting fact this culture shift.