Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field/Online Journalism: Principles and Practices of News for the Web

Article excerpt

* Grant, August E. and Jeffrey S. Wilkinson (eds.) (2009). Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 320.

* Foust, James C. (2005). Online Journalism: Principles and Practices of News for the Web. Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway Publishers, 2005. pp. 269.

Convergence is reshaping the media landscape. A decade ago many scholars and professionals alike often questioned whether convergence was real or happening. Today, there is little debate. This edited collection of essays on and original investigations of media convergence significantly advances our understanding of the nature and impact of convergence.

Edited by August E. Grant and Jeffrey S. Wilkinson, this groundbreaking book offers a critical examination of media convergence. Grant, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina and editor of Communication Technology Update, and Wilkinson, professor and coordinator of the International Journalism Programme at United International College (Zhuhai, China), founded jointly by Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University, offer a unique set of diverse perspectives on the evolving notion of media convergence.

Contributors include an impressive array of top scholars and mass media professionals, or scholars who themselves have strong professional backgrounds.

Although the chapters vary in the strength of their contributions, on the whole, the collection is worthwhile. Among the most insightful are chapters that combine both theoretical breakthroughs and original empirical evidence. Illustrative are chapters by Robert A. Papper, Michael E. Holmes, and Mark N. Popovich; and Michel Dupagne and Bruce Garrison. Papper, Holmes, and Popovich provide a useful glimpse into the media life of residents of "Middletown," the community of Muncie and surrounding Delaware County, Indiana. Dupagne and Garrison put forward an in-depth qualitative examination of newsroom work at the Tampa News Center, which has been widely credited with being on the cutting edge of the professional adoption of news media convergence in American journalism.

The book generates considerable understanding of media convergence in not only American media but internationally as well. Kenneth C. Killebrew's global investigation of media convergence deconstructs the shape and consequences of this phenomenon around the world.

Although the book generally focuses on the implications of news media convergence for journalism and society, considerable space is also allocated to a detailed look at the consequences and implications of convergence for journalism and media education. Timothy E. Bajkiewicz critically examines how convergence is transforming postsecondary journalism education in the United States. In particular, he raises the question of whether convergence may lead to the end of mass mediabased sequences.

The book also provides a valuable perspective on the future of convergence research. Susan Keith and B. William Silcock provide an agenda for future research on media convergence. Among the topics suggested are cultural challenges newsrooms face in an era of cross-media convergence and economic uncertainties in the digital age.

On the whole, this edited book offers a concise, powerful set of perspectives on media convergence. More than simple evangelizing, Understanding Media Convergence provides a critical examination of the nature and impact of this force rewriting the media landscape in the twentyfirst century both in the United States and around the world. …