Academic journal article Communication Research Trends

Storsul, Tanja and Arne Krumsvik (Eds.). Media Innovations: A Multidisciplinary Study of Change

Academic journal article Communication Research Trends

Storsul, Tanja and Arne Krumsvik (Eds.). Media Innovations: A Multidisciplinary Study of Change

Article excerpt

Storsul, Tanja and Arne Krumsvik (Eds.). Media Innovations: A Multidisciplinary Study of Change. Boras, Sweden: NORDICOM, 2013. Pp. 282. ISBN 978-91-86523-65-7 (paper) 250SEK.

This book is a very timely addition to the growing field of media innovation studies. Thanks to the recent advancements in the information and communication technologies (ICTs) and subsequent growth in various web-based commercial and social media outlets, innovations in production and delivery of media contents has spurred. In the process, the definition of media is being constantly evolved. This is undoubtedly the high time for undertaking of multidisciplinary research on this topic.

In the foreword, the editors assure the reader of the timeliness and importance of the contents of this book that is composed of a selected group of scholarly papers presented at the 1st International Symposium on Media Innovations. As an introductory note, author Lucy King emphasized that media innovation includes changes in content creation and delivery as well as organizational changes. Quoting J. M. Keynes, the author reminds the reader that innovation successes depend not only on creation and adoption of newer ideas, but also on our abilities to embrace them which often test our willingness and ability to step out of our comfort zones of traditional cultures, thoughts, and ways of doing things.

Editors Storsul and Krumsvik coauthored the first paper contained in Chapter 1 "What is media innovation?" They mention of four types of innovations according to the classification of Francis and Bessant (product innovation, process innovation, position innovation, and, paradigmatic innovation) and add social innovation as a fifth one to the list. Social innovation implies innovative usage of media and communication services to achieve social purposes. The authors also emphasized the inextricability of media innovation and rapid changes in information and communication technologies.

This book is composed of three sections titled "concepts," "structure and management," and "services and users." Each of these sections contains several thematically cohesive papers, each presented as a separate chapter. The first paper in Section 1 (Chapter 2) by Leyla Dogruel, "Opening Blackbox: The Conceptualizing of Media Innovation," sheds light on the issue of media innovation mainly from economic, sociological, and managerial perspectives. The author summarizes media innovation studies into three categories: technical innovation of media related products and processes; new media consumer products focusing on media technologies such as interactive TV, Internet, smart phones, and new standards such as DVD; and new media content innovations that are often related to marketing initiatives. Dogruel points out that such categories of research represent an over simplification in our understanding of the crucial aspects of media innovation and underscores the necessity of more interdisciplinary research projects to shed light on media innovation more holistically. She supports the view that multidisciplinary of studies on definitional aspects of media innovation will help the topic to emerge as a distinct field of study.

In the next chapter, "Balancing the Bias. The Need for Counter-discursive Perspectives in Media Innovation Research," Steen Steensen makes a point regarding complementing the discourse of media innovation and change with partially counter-discursive analysis in order to have a better grasp of how and why new media practices develop through interaction between structures and agencies. The development of online journalism is presented as an example of such multi-perspective approach of new media development. As new media practice development examples, the author cites social media interactions; digital music creation, distribution, and consumption; eBook publishing, distribution and reading; digital gaming etc. The development of these new media practices were influenced by precedence and by the agency of individuals. …

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