Convergence Works for Media Owner but Not News Consumer

By Corrigan, Don | St. Louis Journalism Review, November 2004 | Go to article overview

Convergence Works for Media Owner but Not News Consumer


Corrigan, Don, St. Louis Journalism Review


Very few voices have been raised in the news media or within academia against the convergence phenomenon. Convergence is the "synergy" that takes place when a journalist reports a story for TV, radio, print and the Web when all these media are owned by the same media outlet.

Corporate media owners have been salivating at the prospect of more convergence opportunities with the FCC further eroding cross-ownership restrictions on conglomerates.

Journalism schools have their hands out for corporate philanthropy to build "convergence lab newsrooms." Many journalism professors also are rushing to create the kind of convergence curriculum that will meet the needs of the new media of the 21st century.

The only real dissident voices on convergence have come from the people, who registered their anger in droves when Michael Powell's FCC was about to knock down the few anti-monopoly rules left for the media. Americans, it seems, would actually like to reverse the trend toward fewer media owners, more cross-ownerships and news convergence.

Corporate mass media owners see consolidation and convergence as an economic imperative. Many journalism academics see convergence as a technological imperative, and believe that only "professional dinosaurs" of the past try to buck the trend.

The public outcry when the FCC attempted to undo restrictions on monopoly and cross-ownerships--at the behest of the Bush Administration--proves that the new convergence, reporting synergy and media mega-monopoly are not inevitable.

That public outcry should also prompt a full and vigorous discussion, particularly within journalism academia, on our convergence future and some basic journalism considerations:

* Isn't it inevitable that the public will be ill-served by reporters who must compose multi-media versions of an important story, rather than just one, thoughtful, in-depth piece of copy?

* Isn't a reporting profession plagued by increasing turnover and "burnout" just destined for more of the same with the new demands of convergence?

* Isn't the news profession in danger of becoming even more superficial as appearance becomes important for all of the reporters forced to convert to the convergence mode?

* Isn't all the glamorous talk about the new, high-tech, content-providing marvel of a reporter, really just a cover for conglomerates to squeeze more work out of a single human being?

* Isn't it likely that multi-media news conglomerates prefer content providers precisely because they won't have time to think? After all, thinking reporters are more likely to write controversial stories. They might even be moved to report on the danger to democracy from media monopoly.

Clash of Cultures

Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman is one journalist who has raised her voice against the imperative of convergence. She insists good journalism requires time to think about what is being written, while the new "content provider" of convergence can only ricochet mindlessly trying to meet the demands of myriad media forms. Goodman argues that in the end, a journalist is to a convergence content provider as a farmer is to a waiter. They're both employed in the food business, but the farmer is the one to count on.

The waiters and waitresses are very busy at the News Center in Tampa Bay, Fla., where Media General Corporation houses the Tampa Bay Tribune, TBO.com and WFLA-TV. The News Center may be the most talked about experiment in convergence. The News Center is designed with TV studio on floor one, TV newsroom and online service on floor two, newspaper newsroom on floor three and sales and administrative offices on floor four. This SJR writer toured the News Center along with journalism professors at a meeting hosted by the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.

A tour guide explained that there was a clash of "cultures" between print and broadcast when convergence was first initiated at Tampa. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Convergence Works for Media Owner but Not News Consumer
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.