Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics
Convergence is an ambiguous term employed in various disciplines to describe change processes geared towards harmonization, unionification or uniformity. Of late, this term has been applied in the media and communication sector as a way of encompassing insights and approaches that describe, comprehend, and characterize the digital creative economy. In essence, the common subjects and sub-sectors between the digital creative and communication industries including publishing, film, broadcasting, games and even advertising are significantly growing thanks to convergence. The purpose of this hub is to discuss the aspect of media convergence as one of the notable subjects in the current debates in media studies.
The development of technology, World Wide Web and internet has facilitated the development of the newest form of journalism, commonly known as cyber or online journalism. Furthermore, this development has instigated the revolutions on how journalism is practiced and even in media studies and trainings. Media convergence is one of the most notable phenomena that have resulted from this development (Budde, 2015). A good example is the newspaper and news websites which now includes slideshows, blogs, podcasts, and video. Accordingly, today’s journalists are faced with new challenges considering that they have to understand how the new media works. In addition, journalism schools and teachers are also required to have the right knowledge, facilities and resources that deviate from the traditional training approaches into the new media (Budde, 2015). Abiodun (2017) examined the media developments in the digital world and the related impact on media studies. In his observations, the author found that many journalism training schools especially in Africa were yet to understand and incorporate the new phenomena in their learning and teaching systems, although few of them had tried importing it. In order to align with the new trends, the author advocates for a review of the journalism curriculum offered in journalism school, retraining of journalism educators in both informal and formal avenues, provision of relevant and adequate infrastructure and resources to support the right teaching and learning in the new media alongside incorporating new business framework for journalism in light of the new developments.
Jolynna (2018) explains that currently, the new media and technology is growing at an exponential rate. This growth as observed by the author has culminated into easy accessibility and presence of media in the lives of ordinary people. In other words, people now have increased access to media platforms as a means of communication, source of news/information, entertainment and even learning. In this regard, media exposure has subsequently become a crucial aspect in shaping individuals in today’s world. However, the query raised from this development is on whether the potential of the heightened media consumption also leads to media literacy among individuals. In this regard, Jasmina (2014) conducted a research whose focus was to assess the relationship between the knowledge of the Serbian academic community regarding the new media and related exposure to the said media which includes print media, video games, the internet and television. Accordingly, the author finds that the dilemmas of media convergence and competencies as well as the current phenomena of participatory media cultures are essentially a reflection of the objectives and trends of globalization. In other words, the state of the media, especially in regard to the convergence and user participatory debates are largely triggered by globalization events including but limited to technological innovations. However, despite this, the author notes that the media has still a long way to go has the convergence of new and old media especially in shaping the media competent person is yet to be realized. This basically implies that many people still have no knowledge to such matters as what constitutes fake or reliable news, media platforms or even how they can participate in making news.
Gomez-Galan (2015) attests that today’s society in the globalized world is largely dominated by communicative processes and the flow of information. The author also observes that the heightened digitalization has subsequently facilitated the development of techno-media convergence, which entails the complete amalgamation of conventional media and the ICT novelties. Similar to Jasmina’s (2014) observation, Gomez-Galan (2015) also finds issues with today’s digital media society which he argues cannot be considered to be an altruistic system. According to him, the communication processes still continue to be influenced by the social elites, political systems and economic forces with an aim of controlling and manipulating the population. In this regard, Gomez-Galan (2015) agrees with Jasmina by emphasizing on the role of education as a means of achieving a democratic and full development of the society. This education according to him will inculcate the necessary values and solidary which will lead to a citizenship who are conscious of the influence and power of technology and its implication in the world. The author further adds that a true digital awareness needs to take into concern the right comprehension of the new languages used in the techno media rather than being reduced to establishment of instrumental and technical kind. This owes to the fact that the new language could be confusing or not understood by the readers.
From his perspective, Marina (2019) explains that the field of journalism and media are being evaluated from the perspective of convergence processes and in a wider social environment alongside from the angle of the converging media. In his analysis of the new media and the subject of convergence, Marina equally finds the existence of political and social forces which are competing for influence across the digital media context. Nonetheless, the author argues that the new media is a true compliment to the “analogue media” in the wake of the digital reality which is “inevitable” for humanity. Again, the new digital media is capable of generating value for the society. The author also observes this phenomenon as a pre-condition for human-focused cultural development which in the near future will largely be depended on digital practices. In this regard, there is a need to neutralize the social and political forces influencing or controlling the new media so as to ensure that the media provides ethical, true and intellectual and valuable contribution to the society and hence; play the role of a corrective force.
This review has assessed the subject of media convergence which constitutes the current debate in media studies. Accordingly, it is found that media convergence is taking shape all over the world. Furthermore, this trend is triggered by the forces of globalization and technological changes, which have influenced most aspects of the society. In this sense, the media is forced to converge and develop a participatory culture with its audience so as to remain relevant. Interestingly, the users competency on media literacy still remain low and does not align with the developments. Again, the political, social and economic forces still control the new media to the level of controlling and manipulating the population. This thus creates a concern among media stakeholders on how to improve media literacy among consumers.
Abiodun, S (2017) new media: a review of some trends in journalism training in Africa. e-BANGI Journal; 12 (3), p1-13. Budde, P (2015) BuddeComm Intelligence Report - Impact of the Digital Economy and the Media Industry. Paul Budde Communication Reports; 5 (2), p1-32.
Gomez-Galan, J (2015) Media Education as Theoretical and Practical Paradigm for Digital Literacy: An Interdisciplinary Analysis. European Journal of Science and Theology, 11,(3),pp. 31-44 Jolynna, S (2018) A history of the convergence of ethnography, cultural studies and digitalmedia. Cultural Studies Review, 24, (2) pp. 181-183 Marina, B (2019) on matters of economic and political inequality in the context of digital policies: the role of journalism. Economic & Social Development, 2 (1) p61-68. Jasmina, A (2014) Correlation Between New Medialiteracy and Media Exposure - Towards Media Convergence and Diversification. TEME: Casopis za Društvene Nauke, 38 (3), p1057-1073. 17p.
Silas Nyamweya (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on June 07, 2021:
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