Media Convergence: An Ongoing Process
by FrankGio on March 24, 2017 - 2:48pm
According to Henry Jenkins, a theoretician of culture and convergence, “media convergence is an ongoing process that should not be viewed as a displacement of old media, but rather as interaction between media forms and platforms”. Indeed, to understand the dynamics of the media industry and the future of journalism itself, it is important to understand the meaning and the different aspects of this multidimensional concept.
Media convergence can be divided in two broad categories: convergence in Media Technology and convergence in Media Organization. However, to fully analysis all the different types of media convergence, it might be interesting to take a look at the Rich Gordon’s classification (who is a professor in digital information) and to look closely at convergence in Media Organization.
To begin, the goal of media convergence is to provide better and more comprehensive news to the public, so they can have a proper content in the news. But form a business standpoint, media convergence can improve competitive positions of the different partners that are implicated in the process. By doing that, the audience can have in-depth local news coverage and also a wider variety of information, which benefit both the audience and the organization. Moreover, what is fascinating for young journalists is to consider the four different types of convergence in Media Organization:
1) Convergence of Ownership: Ownerships control content and/or the distribution system of the different platforms (newspaper, radio, television, magazines). For example, in Quebec, Quebecor has been a true example of convergence of ownership, as they control a large part of what is published in their platforms (TVA, Journal de Montréal and LCN). This type of convergence increase media monopoly and media conglomeration.
2) Convergence of Strategies: Also known as “cross-promotion “. The journalist writes columns in newspaper and newspaper journalist appear in TV program, for instance.
3) Convergence of Structure: Also known as “newsroom convergence “. The journalist can move easily between various platform (television, print, radio) and they can interact with each other to share content. This type of convergence promotes synergy between journalists.
4) Convergence of Journalist Skills: The traditional way of being a journalist – which emphasized on print – is out of fashion these days. Today, the journalist is required to report the event, to take photos of the event, to be active on social media and to prepare a full package report.
Nevertheless, media convergence in Media Organization contain a lot of flaws. In fact, the main benefit of media convergence can be branding; in a sense that it benefits media organizations from an economic standpoint and only helps them to save money. Furthermore, media convergence cannot fully encourage diversity in journalism: the freedom of the press is sometime put in danger, which is also the case for the pluralism of opinions.
In conclusion, media companies embrace more and more the concept of convergence for good reasons (to promote synergy between journalists and to modernize the way of being a journalist) and for bad reasons (only objective is to save money, does not respect at times the concept of objectivity). The journalist and the media companies must remember that convergence is ongoing process, not just an end result. Therefore, media companies must encourage their employees to be bold, to launch their own websites for example and to not be a one-dimensional journalist.