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Dealing with It

November 13, 2010

            This week I was thinking about different things when it comes to New Media. Convergence, Consumption, Capitalism, they all take one thing to work – MONEY. And anyone can tell you, it takes a lot of those presidents to make it in the world these days. George Washington, he doesn’t get you very far. So I started thinking about what this means for the media. How can small markets keep up with the trends? Can they afford to staff someone who is so knowledgeable in something they desperately need? I truly do worry about things like jobs in the industry and the thought of the “end of a wonderful era” if newspapers cease to exist.  And it all comes down to a simple green piece of paper.

            Grant and Wilkinson’s chapter this week, “The Meaning and Influence of Convergence” investigated the Media General’s Tampa News Center converged newsroom. It aimed to examine 3 research questions “particularly relevant to journalism researchers and educator: First, how do employees at the News Center define media convergence. What changes have journalists experienced on their jobs and in the newsroom since the creation of the News Center and what skills do new staff members need to function optimally in the convergent environment of the news center.” Education was touched on and it was found that “nearly 85 percent [of administrators] reported that their curriculum emphasizes on cross-media learning or both cross-media and specialization learning” (187).  Furthermore, I agree that in order to teach, these new processes, ideas, techniques, specializations, we must know what new-media and to what extent is being utilized in the newsroom.

          Convergence is not without its share of critics, and here we go with that green bill again. Concerns were raised “that a converged newsroom would damage the editorial independence of news operations, reduce the amount of original content and augment employee workloads without proper compensation. Journalists write, report, edit, photograph, interview, and share all that they do. Now let’s add Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogging,  and the editing and work that these programs entail and not give anymore compensation. Nope – I’m not signing up for that.

A summary of the case study follows:

Meaning of Media Convergence – There still seems to be a lack of “full-on convergence” here. The operation that benefits the most is the television because “it benefits from the depth of resources of the newspaper that did not exist when the operations were housed in separate locations and did not work together.  

Changes in Newsroom Practices and Culture –  One surprise in the study was that journalists saw their work as generally unchanged. “This outcome may be explained by the fact  that convergence has brought additional efficiency through shared resources that allow the same number of people to get more done in a given time period such as a news day” (198). It seems as if this outcome was more positive than I expected. I would have thought that some would have been disgruntled about the change, but I suppose they were more accepting than I anticipated.

Recommended Job Skills – “Future journalism graduates must become increasingly versatile and knowledgeable about multimedia, good communication, reporting, and writing skills remain the bedrock of the news profession” (198).

The study lists several areas for future research including seeking information from other newsrooms, as well as more in-depth studies on job satisfaction in converged newsrooms. There is certainly no telling what the future holds, but if I had a crystal ball, it would probably tell me that converged newsrooms will be prominent in the future and  we better just deal with it.

References

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the state of the field. New York:

Oxford University Press.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2010 9:19 pm

    I agree with you about the money driving the industry. I rives everything in the world or so it seems. I don’t want to have to do twice the work for the same pay either. This happens alot in many jobs today. One person gets laid off or fired only left with the rest of the staff to to pick up the extra workload. In previous chapters the mention of the convergence manager sounded like a great idea. The one person with the expertise and talent to do this extra work that others just can’t seem to grasp can pick up that slack. With that all being said, I hope we can be the future movers and shakers of the industry.

  2. jinnerarity permalink
    November 16, 2010 5:13 am

    Of course we would all like more money for the jobs that we but from what i have read most people aren’t upset with having to do more with their jobs. You even state this yourself
    “I would have thought that some would have been disgruntled about the change, but I suppose they were more accepting than I anticipated.” I don’t think anyone is picketing and rioting about going to work because they have to do more. I know it sucks to have to learn new technology and new rules to follow to ones job but most people might grumble but they don’t demand a 100% increase in pay. It would be nice but it isn’t necessary for someone to do their job and to do it well.

  3. November 16, 2010 5:27 pm

    Mr. Bill Dollar is exactly what is fueling most of convergence. But it just doesn’t make cents (pun intended) if you try to improve the wrapper without improving the contents. Consumers will eventually see through this charade or just put on another pair of rose colored glasses.

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