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Convergence: the evolutionary magnet

Posted by: Howie2.0

Howie2.0

Ever woken up and thought, (sigh) “same s#*t, different day,” rolled out of bed feet first whilst your fingers tear at the duvet for an extra minute of warmth? Ever sat in traffic for ages only to be met with the same stressed faces dragging their lips at the office and booming commands shot through your brain for “to-dos” on deadline? You just smile and nod, don’t you... imagining that you had a coffee cup with a knuckle buster as a handle? Well then you must be part of the bored group of routine-driven homosapiens dragging their feet around town. So how do you ignite a spark again in your life? Well you can start by being receptive to change in your workplace.

Change is happening everywhere. It’s an ongoing process and not an end state, much like the process and inevitability of convergence. Convergence is the coming together of two or more things, and broadly in the media industry it involves journalistic, economic and technological convergence.

1. Technological convergence is the coming together of formerly distinct electronic devices or media delivery systems, changing the equipment used to get information and to access it (Kolodzy, 2009). An example would be a Smartphone with a camera, audio player, document editor, voice recorder, internet access, social networking, telecommunication system etc all on one device.

 

Source: image taken from Jean-Francois Belisle’s Blog “Marketing, Analytics & Entertainment”

 

2. Economic convergence is the coming together of media industries (The AOL and Time Warner merger) and media consolidation.

 

Source: image taken from Labrigittographie blog

 

3. Journalism convergence is the coming together of journalists and certain types of journalism that have been operating in previously separate spheres (Television, radio, newspaper, magazine, and online) to provide quality news in all those different formats.

 

Source: Russian news agency RIA Novosti’s integrated multimedia newsroom (2008)

 

Source: Austrian news agency Österreich’s integrated national newspaper newsroom

 

Examples of these exist in South African media businesses like The Daily Dispatch, Die Burger, Mail & Guardian and The Times. They have converged newsrooms and produce multimedia stories available for multi-platform distribution, but one of the issues faced in the process of convergence is staff resistance.

Print and online sections have different routines, rituals, practices, and cultures. (Deuze 2007) Convergence means that both sectors would need to learn how the other works, it means acquiring new technological and conceptual skills for working in a new media environment, and some people are just not interested in changing their job description.

People are occupying jobs now that never existed a few years ago, and are studying for jobs that will only exist in the future. The World Wide Web has accelerated convergence at an incredible rate. Information supply and demand is about speed and depth. The pace of research has quadrupled and some say this will undermine the skill of a researcher’s job of investigative journalism; however, this is under debate.

source: image taken from NABJ

The benefits of convergence are endless, journalists are acquiring news skills and becoming “backpack” journalists (one person producing content for multiple platforms) and invaluable to companies that need to cost save, information delivery goes beyond traditional borders, communication between countries and people in those countries has become two-way, if not three-way or even four-way, hell... ‘group-way’. There is no limit to how deep convergence will go and what is possible with economic, journalistic and technological convergence if people just consider the potential.

If you, as a member of whatever industry don’t seize opportunity to learn more skills on a ongoing basis and develop new strategies to make work more effective and efficient, you will continue climbing the massive circular stair case whilst those who take the initiative will shoot past you in an elevator. You will not be able to compete. This concept applies across the board, even though I focused specifically on the media industry.

Watch this This official "Shift Happens" video all about convergence now and in the future. its very interesting.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this video

source: YouTube video and some context

 

Resources

Deuze, M. 2007. Journalism in Media Work. Polity Press: United Kingdom

Kolodzy, J. 2009. Convergence Explained: Playing Catch-Up with News Consumers in Grant, A. & Wilkinson, J. Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field. Oxford Press: New York

 

 

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