Media in the Digital Age

Media in the Digital Age

JOHN V. PAVLIK
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 360
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/pavl14208
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  • Book Info
    Media in the Digital Age
    Book Description:

    Digital technologies have fundamentally altered the nature and function of media in our society, reinventing age-old practices of public communication and at times circumventing traditional media and challenging its privileged role as gatekeepers of news and entertainment. Some critics believe these technologies keep the public involved in an informed discourse on matters of public importance, but it isn't clear this is happening on a large scale. Propaganda disguised as news is flourishing, and though interaction with the digital domain teaches children valuable skills, it can also expose them to grave risks.

    John V. Pavlik critically examines our current digital innovations-blogs, podcasting, peer-to-peer file sharing, on-demand entertainment, and the digitization of television, radio, and satellites-and their positive and negative implications. He focuses on present developments, but he also peers into the future, foreseeing a media landscape dominated by a highly fragmented, though active audience, intense media competition, and scarce advertising dollars. By embracing new technologies, however, Pavlik shows how professional journalism and media can hold on to their role as a vital information lifeline and continue to operate as the tool of a successful democracy.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51213-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Language & Literature, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. FOREWORD
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Everette E. Dennis

    In the midst of the digitization of almost everything comes John V. Pavlik’s welcome and truly comprehensive Media in the Digital Age, which has the virtues of exploratory enthusiasm blended with the insightfulness of sober analysis. Among the great hazards of writing about new media technologies and their impact is the likelihood that the work will be outdated well before it is published, but this book heads off that possibility by using contemporary and historical examples only as fixed moments in time, not necessarily as predictive statements about what will or might be. John Pavlik has been among our most...

  6. INTRODUCTION New Technology and the Media: An Uneasy Alliance
    (pp. 1-7)

    Throughout history, technology and the media of public communication have traveled paths often intertwined. New technologies have often burst upon society, and media leaders have sometimes embraced them and sometimes kept them at arm’s length, even when those technologies have presented clear opportunities to extend the reach, impact, and quality of the media. New technology has at times challenged media in subtle or explicit ways to change age-old practices and at other times presented threats to the viability of traditional media or media practices. On some occasions, technologies have raised serious ethical concerns. Media leaders have most often approached technological...

  7. 1 DIGITAL DELIVERY MEDIA
    (pp. 8-34)

    New media and digital convergence may often seem synonymous with the Internet and World Wide Web. Online newspapers, downloadable music and video, bloggers, and podcasts are among the most familiar examples of new, or digital, media. But in truth a wide host of technologies compose the full spectrum of media in the digital age. Among them are not only the Internet and the Web, but wireless and mobile media, digital television and satellite radio, digital cameras, digital music players, and other new or emerging technologies for mediated public communication. For the purposes of this book, I define digital media as...

  8. 2 DEVICES TO ACCESS DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 35-55)

    The term digital convergence refers to the coming together of all media types in a computer-based form, typically including wired or wireless connectivity to the Internet or a LAN. Nowhere is digital convergence more apparent than in the devices used to access, display, consume, experience, interact with, and create digital content. Since the 1990s, a wide range of digital devices have emerged to give consumers and content creators alike increasingly powerful, portable, and productive tools for experiencing or producing media in the digital age. At the same time, although convergence is apparent, there are still many diverse types of digital...

  9. 3 AUDIENCES OR USERS OF DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 56-78)

    “Audience” is an evolving concept. In the days of terrestrial broadcast television and radio, and even in the early days of cable, television viewers and radio listeners were typically called the audience. This term was also sometimes used to describe those who read the newspaper or consumed any of the other mass media, such as magazines, books, and movies. Audience suggests a passive receiver of mediated messages. Something of a marketing term, it reflects the idea that the media are delivering audiences to advertisers. It is increasingly becoming antiquated, however. In today’s digital, online age, video is not just something...

  10. 4 PRODUCERS OF DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 79-102)

    Whether text, audio, or video, media of all types in the digital age come from an exploding array of sources, or producers of content. In the analog world of newspapers and other print media such as books and magazines, a relatively small number of increasingly large publishing companies came to control the means of print publication. With a handful of national newspapers, most papers have been largely local media, once privately owned but increasingly publicly owned as part of national newspaper groups or chains. Magazines have long been largely specialized in terms of audience and content and distributed most often...

  11. 5 CONTENT IN THE DIGITAL AGE
    (pp. 103-129)

    This chapter outlines four forms of content in a digital media environment. Each form is examined in terms of its relative strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. Case studies are analyzed in the context of these forms, with particular attention paid to content forms designed specifically to exploit the capabilities of new digital and networked media.

    Content is a core component of all media, regardless of their form. With the rise of digital, or computer-based, technologies, media content is undergoing dramatic changes. A summary of the four fundamental content forms is outlined as a typology in table 5.1. This typology...

  12. 6 DISTRIBUTORS OF DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 130-148)

    Since the dawn of modern mass communication, those who have controlled the means of media distribution have wielded enormous power. Distributors of media have often exerted significant influence over public opinion, reaped huge financial gain, and often held the ear or eye of elected officials and other leaders, whether local or national or international.

    In many cases, the distributors and producers of media have been one and the same. The producers of media content have sometimes controlled the means of distribution, but under U.S. antitrust regulations they have been forced to divest these convergent interests. When the vertical integration smacked...

  13. 7 FINANCERS AND OWNERS OF DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 149-173)

    Funding and ownership of U.S. media of public communication have evolved continuously since at least the eighteenth century. Most media have been commercial in nature, but have changed in ownership structure from largely family-owned, independent media to more publicly traded, chain or group-owned media conglomerates often national or international in scope. Offering greater economies of scale, these large media organizations bring a different set of values and principles to the media enterprise, sometimes subsuming media operations and interests within much larger multi-industry corporations (e.g., NBC is owned by General Electric). When the media, including newspapers and broadcasters, were family owned,...

  14. 8 REGULATION AND LAW OF DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 174-194)

    Since the ratification of the First Amendment to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, the media of public communication in the United States have enjoyed a somewhat privileged legal and regulatory status.¹ The First Amendment guarantees the Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech or press.² The courts have interpreted and extended this constitutional protection to include generally all forms of public media. Yet certain restrictions and limitations pertain, particularly to newer electronic media, to the circumstances of the communication, and to the type of content and audience. These restrictions are still evolving in the digital age. Among...

  15. 9 PRODUCTION AND PROTECTION OF DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 195-213)

    Fueling the explosive growth in digital content is the emergence of increasingly affordable, powerful, low-cost, and easy-to-use technologies for producing digital media. High-end digital video cameras have fallen dramatically in price in recent years, making it far more cost effective to shoot quality video rather than film. At the same time, consumer friendly devices such as cell phones and digital cameras capable of shooting near-broadcast-quality video and high-resolution still pictures have flooded the market. Journalists, professional photographers, and consumers alike are now shooting still and motion pictures routinely. Consumers have begun routinely posting their photos and videos online, providing a...

  16. 10 INVENTORS AND INNOVATORS OF DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 214-233)

    Inspiration can be elusive and sometimes comes from the most unexpected places. With the May 2006 passing of Elma Gardner “Pem” Farnsworth, it is worth recalling the spark that once led her late husband, Philo T. Farnsworth, to his invention of television. As a thirteen-year-old boy, Farnsworth plowed the fields on his family’s Rigby, Idaho, farm in the early 1920s, traveling back and forth across the fields behind a horse-drawn machine, plowing one row at a time.¹ Later, he tried to solve a problem with a newly emerging machine designed to transmit pictures through the air. Other inventors had been...

  17. 11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE
    (pp. 234-265)

    In ancient Greek mythology, King Dionysus hosted a banquet for his courtier Damocles to enjoy all the pleasures that wealth could buy. But to teach his courtier a lesson about the perils of wealth and power, he suspended by a single hair a great sword directly over Damocles’ head while he attended the banquet. So unnerved was Damocles by the terrifying sword that he foreswore his love and envy of the king’s wealth.

    Technology represents in many ways an ethical sword of Damocles to journalism and the media. A wealth of new possibilities awaits those who employ the new digital...

  18. 12 CHILDREN AND DIGITAL MEDIA
    (pp. 266-282)

    Media behaviors begin at a very young age. Even while still in the womb, unborn children are exposed to media content, whether as an accidental by-product of their mother’s use of audio media or as intentional exposure to classical music as their parents hope to produce the so-called baby Mozart effect (i.e., that exposure to classical music will stimulate brain development). After birth, babies and children of all ages listen to their parents read them stories. Children see and hear a variety of other media as well. Some parents use television as a pacifier or babysitter for their young children....

  19. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 283-284)

    Digital technologies are transforming media in fundamental ways. Some influences of these technologies are potential improvements, whereas others present new problems or expand long-standing ones. This book has examined technology from a series of perspectives, each providing an alternative view on the impact of digital and networking technology on journalism, media, and society, both domestically and internationally.

    Yet the assumption underlying this work is that change in the media is not technologically determined. Rather, technology enables certain changes and possibilities. Which of those changes occur and whether they ultimately are improvements or detriments depend largely on policies and the practices...

  20. NOTES
    (pp. 285-314)
  21. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 315-320)
  22. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 321-330)
  23. INDEX
    (pp. 331-346)