For Thursday, you’re going to read the introductory chapter to Mark Deuze’s book “Media Work” (see the PDF on the Blackboard site). I encourage you to visit his blog, read this interview, and watch a clip of Deuze discussing his research:
The critical contribution that Deuze provides is helping us answer the question: What is it like to work in the media?
It’s the right time to consider this question now as we shift from looking at media convergence and participatory culture from a macro perspective, to examining the particular challenges facing journalism and media work in the digital age.
Deuze introduces us to some postmodern theorizing on digital life, and lays out the emerging landscape for what it means to live, work, and play in our mediated milieu. He’s operating at a high level, mostly in the conceptual realm, but this chapter provides some interesting clues for the future—for the changing nature of journalism and the day-to-day work you’ll do in the media.
As he writes in the preface: “The aim of the book is not only to prepare media students to become competent media practitioners, but to also enable students to become competent citizens in a media-saturated ‘hyper-reality,’ where meaningful distinctions between public and private life, work time and non-work time, local and global, or lived and mediated reality are fading.”
In other words, knowing how to function in this digital culture is going to be essential going forward—whether or not you plan to work in the media industries. The key takeaway here is that we need to understand what it means to have “cultural competency” in this digital culture. Do news organizations have that kind of cultural capital? Why or why not?
A few additional questions to get you thinking, on both readings:
—What is convergence culture? What is digital culture? Are we talking about the same thing, or not?
—What does it mean to develop relationships with media? Where does the “real” end and the virtual begin?
—What is the emerging “workstyle” for the digital media worker, and how do you feel about it?
—What does it mean to be connected and have a sense of community in today’s media experience?
All in all, think of how digital media and culture are changing (or not) your own life and the future of our field. I look forward to your responses for Thursday (remember, by Wednesday at 8 p.m.)