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kaywizard's avatar

How has convergence served to change the way news is defined, gathered, covered and broadcasted.

Asked by kaywizard (280 points ) November 26th, 2012

I’m working on an assignment for school and was wondering if anyone can guide me in the right direction. How was news traditionally defined, gathered, covered and broadcasted before convergence changed everything.

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8 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

I’d love to help you, but could you explain what “convergence” is? I’ve never heard the word used this way before, except in science fiction, and I don’t think that’s what you mean.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Before big corporations were limited to owning just one newspaper, one radio station, & one tv station, journalists / reporters had a lot more freedom to pursue news stories & the freedom to report the stories. Now, big corporations are free to own any number of newspapers, any number of radio stations, & any number of tv stations – so these corporations can control the news that we read & hear. Most of the corporations that own multiple news media are highly conservative (their idea is to make money – not give people the news that means anything) just as big businesses are anti-social services, the same is true of the big corporations that own the news media in the United States (& in other parts of the world, too). So we can no longer believe what we are told is ‘the news’.

kaywizard's avatar

@wundayatta Convergence in media refers to the erosion of traditional distinctions of media, e.g, traditionally newspapers were solely hard copy (in print on paper) but the internet and technological advancement has changed that (now news papers are available online). Convergence also causes companies across the business spectrum to merge or interact with each other creating conglomerates (non media entities buy/own media houses) and concentration of ownership.

Bellatrix's avatar

Some thoughts…

Online news is often produced by print journalists who at one time would have only worked for one newspaper. Now, the content they produce is likely to be adapted and then disseminated through an online news site. In addition, it will very likely be accompanied by an audio or video file or at the very least photographs.

Journalists have to be able to work across multiple platforms. They have to be able to research and write news but also to produce audio and visual content. Newsrooms have less staff but the news cycle is now much, much faster.

News sites may also draw on material gathered by citizens. The footage you capture on your smartphone or the photo you took can be useful when you are on the spot when a news event happens. Journalists can’t be everywhere but new technologies make it possible for ordinary people to provide content.

Bellatrix's avatar

@kaywizard not sure if you will be able to access “this” but this little doco exemplifies convergence. Look at how many different devices this mini doco can be viewed on (see under the video). Notice this is broadcast on SMH.TV. The Sydney Morning Herald is one of Australia’s premier news papers but the SMH now has it’s own online TV channel. Look at how you can share this doco with others using different technology. Furthermore, it talks about digital photography.

I wasn’t actually looking for things for you but while I was researching things for my own work I found a couple of things. There is so much discussion about convergence and journalism. Use these sources to generate ideas and then go and find some more scholarly materials to include in your paper. When looking for ideas, keep in mind they may not use the term ‘convergence’. Here is an article about mobile news. Look at The Guardian’s (or other newspapers) Open Journalism projects and look at the way different technologies are coming together to change the way ‘we’ report on events and issues.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

A good company for a case study of convergence is The Tribune Company, which started as The Chicago Tribune in 1847, branched out into broadcast in the 1920’s with WGN, television (WGN-TV), newspaper syndication (Tribune News Service, now Tribune Media Services) and has now exploded into a multi-media conglomerate, which once included the Chicago Cubs.

I think the Tribune is an example that runs counter to the current trend in the US, of consolidation. Up until just a few years ago, the FCC required broadcasters to program a certain amount of “community service” time, and many stations would fulfill this requirement with news broadcasts. This was a recognition that the airwaves were owned by the public, and the broadcasters owned only a license to broadcast on a particular frequency. In that era, the news departments were generally operated by as a part of the “public affairs” department, or something similar, and were not considered profit centers for the broadcaster. News was expected to be reported in an unbiased manner, and the Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced.

Then the industry went through a transition: the number of media outlets (including cable, internet, etc.) exploded, while ownership consolidated. The Fairness Doctrine was deemed outmoded in 1911, and news departments became profit centers, dispensing the new media product called “infotainment”. This seriously affects a particular company’s motive in broadcasting news.

Bellatrix's avatar

Just realised the link isn’t there. This is the example I meant to share but you could pretty well look at anything and see the convergence of technologies and how they are being used to broadcast news.

kaywizard's avatar

Thank you everyone for your help

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