Crossmedia or Convergence?: Reflections from an editor

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Edgar Huang et al’s found that online journalism opens up to the voting public the political weal – and some politicians do seem to have grasped the idea that their constituents are able to read about their activities in a way that was impossible three or four decades ago. (Hall special issue 2004)
Competition was affecting the structure of news sites. Mark Tremayne identified a conservative trend amongst USA national news websites to have less links to external sites than just a few years ago. As each organization builds up its own archive of web content, this material appears to be favoured over content that is off-site. Likening these to ‘gated-communities’ the trend appears anti-democratic, though increasing concern over brand an intellectual property may be at the root of the matter (Vol. 12, No. 1, 83-98 2006)
Jim Hall’s special issue identified one form of interactivity in particular was emerging. Thomas E. Ruggiero and Cokley and Capel, observed that Convergence was ‘reshaping newsroom structures, journalistic practices, and news content’ and redefining who can be a journalist. Jeremy lggers’ good news, in his article Good News Bad News was that Pew Research Center’s notion of civic journalism had been brought into the mainstream and that what we recognize now in the shorthand of ‘citizen journalism’ was here to stay.
And the future?
Back in 2002 the Pew Research Center’s study concluded that parental influence plays a big role in younger generations’ news consumption behaviour and that most young adults will never get into the habit of reading newspapers regularly even after they have passed the school ages. Tomorrows audience – today’s youngsters, students - skim and survey stories, picking up small change of news for conversation, deciding when and how to access it. Read contribute to blogs, listen to podcasts, and expect an image rich culture.
In next February’s issue you can read Edgar Huang article on the causes of youths’ low news consumption and strategies for making youths happy news consumers. He questions what is true convergence? Asks is it multiplatform news for the PDAs & mobile media or customizable multimedia news on the internet. By surveying news consumption of a group of American college students he proposes some answer.
Perhaps this audience today too has an answer – how do our students consume the news – what do they want from news services? Connection with the wider world, being ‘kept in touch’, topics for conversation…. And how do they want it? in their control so they can skim, alongside other more highly prioritised media use? On the PC, TV or mobile? Personalised and paid for, generic and for free?
We can answer some of these questions in this moment with these students, however we still need to predicting how this projects to future use for this generation. And to tailor our journalism courses to provide for this future market.
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local--files -> World History October 2009

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