Term Project: Impact of Media Evolution on Journalism

 

 

You can find my term project for COM546 here: http://mediaevolutioncom546.wordpress.com/ , which includes the intro, final paper, the annotated bibliography, and the slideshare for my presentation in class.

 

 

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Final Presentation: Impact of Media Evolution on Journalism

Technological change in human communication profoundly affected journalistic activities. From print to digital, media evolution has facilitated an exponential variety in news reporting patterns, including its agenda setting, content collection, production and distribution. More substantially, it has redefined the relationship between journalists and audience, especially after the advent of digital media.

This paper provides an overview of media evolution from print, broadcast, to digital, and discusses the supervening social necessities behind adoption of each new technology.  It emphatically expatiates on how each media technology has affected traditional journalistic undertaking and fostered new forces of journalism: grassroots journalism.

The paper also predicted the future collaboration between professional and grassroots journalism and layouts the framework of a multi-dimensional convergence of old and digital newsrooms.

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Public or Commercial? Not an Either-or Question

Public or commercial? That is the question. After reading the afterword of the book The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian, I started to examine the parallel situation in my own country. Quite different from here, there is no literal “public television” service in China from the view of their financing source. All the national channels are basically regulated by State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT), which means all broadcasting programs are supposed to serve greater good of the public as US “public television” do, but they’ve actually adopted a model in which the financing source lies in commercials. The border of “public” and “commercial” is always blurred, while the consequence is a dilemma of being public or commercial.

Being the “invisible hand” behind the broadcasting system, the China central government has the say on what content should be put on the Television, not only for government propaganda, but also for public educational and cultural purposes. Commercial and entertainment compose only small part of television. However, as China’s Market Economy booming, the transformation from government sponsored to self-support in mass communication also took place, either central or provincial or local television channels has to look for corporate advertising as their income. Losing government fund, their alternative to survive is providing programs that serve eyeball economy, which means to partly sacrifice principles of public television.

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Theoretical Framework for Term Project

Term Project: How Media Evolution Affects News Reporting

Technological change in communication profoundly affects how news is delivered. From print to digital, media evolution has facilitated an exponential growth in news patterns and freedom of our choice. Media, being not mere a carrier of information, also exerts a subtle influence on the activities and values of audience. Most importantly, the advent of new media has redefined the role of “journalists”. The project provides an overview of media evolution: from print, broadcast, to digital, and discuss how each media technology reshape news reporting and influence the general public.

Three most important developments in my timeline:

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Reflection on discussion

Yes, I’m brave to pick this theory-heavy article. At beginning, I highly doubted whether I could present these big terms clearly to my peers before myself could even hardly absorb them.

But after reading it again and again, I found these terms resonate a lot with our real life experience with new media. So I decided to find more examples to illustrate the concepts, and it proved my strategy was quite right. The discussion became very interesting when we connected those five principles to our own anecdotes. We echoed most to the fifth principle that how the logic of computer is encoding our culture. Here are some good points they made:

Corey: I no longer remember telephone numbers or do math in my head; I also don’t usually call friends (unless I need something) or read paper books. Tracking the way people’s habits change as they adopt different technologies would be a very fascinating field of study.

Mike: I’m very much interested in how computer logic is influencing cultural logic. At my company, we’re constantly driving towards an automated creative solution for businesses by employing technology to collect ideas from far and wide, i.e. crowdsourcing.

Lisa: The point about the influence of new media creating a situation of quantity over quality in news reporting and writing is something I definitely see every day – I feel like I read more than ever but take in only a little bit about everything.

Whether we admit it or not, our culture is being computerized. We read online content instead of paper book, we write email over mail, we use Twitter over blog because it’s faster, we talk via Facebook over phone, we shop online and we game online… Our habit, life style, business model, almost everything is going digital. What’s next?

Sometimes it’s scary when I feel myself getting addicted to new media innovations, I tried to step back, but find there’s no way back. How can we maintain our cultural essence when adopting new technology? This is definitely something we, as human beings, are obligated to figure out.

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Preliminary Annotated Bibliography for Term Project

1.
Scott, B. (2005). A contemporary history of digital journalism. Television New Media 6(1), 89-126. Retrieved from Ebscohost.com, University of Washington Library

This article summarizes the history of online journalism, charting its rise with the internet boom of the mid-1990s and its subsequent decline and stabilization within the present news media market. It also extends an existing critique of hyper-commercial journalism by developing the arguments to treat the new institutions and conventions of the digital marketplace. It helps to scope the timeline of old media transforming to new media, and understand how this technology transformation affects journalism.

2.
Papacharissi, Z. (2003). [Review of the books Digital lournalism: emerging media and the changing horizons of journalism and News and the Net]. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator,59(4), 419-421. Retrieved from Ebscohost.com, University of Washington Library

By reviewing two books written on digital journalism, this article analyzes the definition of digital journalism and its impact on journalism. The analysis leads into the ethical implications of online news for the journalistic practice. The review emphasizes the advent of digital journalism and help to note that the practice of online news reporting calls for a combination of traditional journalism skills with computer literacy.

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Discussion Leader: Principles of New Media

“The Principle of New Media” is a chapter from Lev Manovich’s book The Language of New Media. Lev Manovich intends to identify the differences between old media and new media by proposing “five principles of new media”, which are numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, and transcoding. Learning from Manovich’s thorough explanation and examples, I interpret these concepts as following:

  • Numerical representation: all new media objects are composed of digital code, they exist as data, so they are numerical representations;
  • Modularity: media elements, such as images, sounds, shapes, or behaviors are independent collections, they can be assembled into larger-scale objects but continue to maintain their separate identity.
  • Automation: new media elements can be accessed, created, and manipulated automatically.
  • Variability: new media object is not fixed but can exist in different versions.
  • Transcoding: the logic of a computer can influence the traditional cultural logic of media.

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