In the final reading for this class, Annet Aris presents the best analogy thus far for describing the shifting nature of media work. The role of content creator, she states, is changing from a “star musician” producing (performing) pieces of content to a “director” aggregating and organizing content. The idea that you can write well and publish your article is not enough. You need to understand how to include graphics, video, sound, and make all of that compatible with many different media platforms. Continuing the theme of music, she suggests that since content creation is no longer a one-way street, the role of a DJ, recycling and re-purposing information to create a new product, could be used.
We’ve talked in class before about the need to know a great deal of different skills upon entering the workforce and then to continue learning. But for me, the themes throughout this course and this reading specifically seem to boil down to this: This dynamic industry is in need of some serious problem-solvers. That is not to suggest that any particular industry is laden with problems, but rather to say the changes in society, technology, communication, etc. prescribe everything else must change with them. The industries need people not to fret that the methods look different than they have in the past or freak out about job security, but to ask serious questions about the best ways to share information and then get to work doing that. This industry needs critical thinkers who can innovate and articulate, discover and distribute, and adapt, adapt, adapt. These ideas of flux, instability, and precarity are no longer threatening to me. I think if anything, they are a challenge; a sort-of “whattya-got?” push in the chest. The media, specifically news media, are not going anywhere. We, as socialized beings, will always want to know what is “going on.” As politics and social citizenry collide, there will always be a lot to talk about. In addition, the platforms to do this “talking” are only growing by the day. Despite Deuze’s best effort to freak us out and inform us that every media industry everywhere is dying, we know better!
Let’s talk about definitions and order. In our postmodern world, the barriers of all kinds of previously well-defined entities are crossing and blurring. For example, the definition of “family,” “small business,” or even “media” aren’t anything close to what they represented fifty years ago. Yet, while we embrace change and progress, we still seem to be obsessed with ordering and naming the unorderable and unnameable. The final chapter in Deuze’s book, Media Work , stresses the need “to make sense of media work.” It seems to me that any efforts to characterize or classify the current state of media will fail and leave the classifier more anxious than he or she was to begin with. If only because we’re trying to fit our current system into the definitions of the past. I know that we fear chaos, and writing in and of itself requires order, but we will continue to be unsuccessful and anxious if we don’t realize that we’re putting a square peg into a round hole. It’s not the same. It’s not going to be the same. We need to start building a square hole and stop banging the proverbial wooden blocks.
And just to show how severe and innate our obsession with defining is, scroll back to the top and see how excited I was that we could compare content creators to “directors” now. Geez.
The moral at the end of this story/class is that change is evident. Jobs, technologies, processes, standards, styles, and people, will continue to develop (which is definitely a good thing) and what we must do is not freak out that what we thought we knew is no longer relevant, but get to work learning what we will need to respond to all of the dynamism. For me, it means the work is never done, and the learning should never stop. That’s pretty cool :)
So finally, the semester is almost done. After this blog post, there is only a paper left. Naturally, I chose to write about changes within the field of journalism and the industry’s response to those changes.