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SBPJor 2011

SBPJor conference, Rio de Janeiro, 3-5 Nov. 2011

Wrapping Up the Year with Some More Publications, and New Projects

Time for a quick update again: I’m hardly even back from the SBPJor conference in Rio de Janeiro in November, but my keynote “Gatekeeping, Gatewatching, Real-Time Feedback: New Challenges for Journalism” from the conference has already been published in the Brazilian Journalism Research journal, alongside the other keynotes. I posted the slides and audio from the presentation last month – and a similar presentation in German, from my visit to Vienna in March, is also online here.

When I arrived back in my office from the Rio trip, I was also very pleased to see that the Digital Difference book, collecting papers from the 2007 Ideas, Cyberspace, Education 3 conference on the shores of Loch Lomond, had finally arrived. It’s been a long road, but congratulations to the editors, Ray Land and Siân Bayne, for sticking with the project. My article, “Beyond Difference: Reconfiguring Education for the User-Led Age”, applies produsage concepts to explore new approaches to education.

Three Challenges for Journalism in the Social Media Age

Rio de Janeiro.
My own keynote presentation started the second day of SBPJor. Powerpoint and audio are below; the full paper (which attacks the topic from a slightly different angle, but makes much the same points) is also online.

My sincere thanks to Carlos Franciscato and the SBPJor organisation for the invitation to speak at the conference; it’s been great to meet some of the many Brazilian journalism researchers whose work I’ve been aware of for some time now. I’m sorry that because of the language barrier I’ve not been able to participate more fully in the conference itself, but I hope my contribution has been useful – some good discussion in question time, certainly!

Preserving Our Memory of the First Draft of History

Rio de Janeiro.
The next keynote speaker at SBPJor is Marcos Palacios (whose speech I hear in live translation, so we’ll see how this liveblog goes…). Marcos suggests that there are hurrahs as well as uh-ohs in the transformation of journalism for the digital media environment: in the first place, as we venture into a digital environment, we learn that media have memory – that there are more uses for yesterday’s newspaper than to wrap today’s fish.

News has been called the first draft of history, of course – journalism has an input into both historiography, and into the formation of the collective memory of societies. Such journalistic memory was only able to be used in a limited fashion during the pre-digital age; today, it is much more widely and permanently available. The place of memory in journalism production is growing, therefore; memory becomes the fabric that builds the journalism we are coming to know today, and is embodied in it. This enables historical analogies and nostalgia, for example, but also has many other uses.

The Effect of Changes in Journalism on Democracy

Rio de Janeiro.
As part of my last overseas trip for this year, I’ve made it to Brazil for SBPJor, the conference of Brazilian journalism researchers – which opens with a keynote by John Pavlik. (My own plenary presentation follows tomorrow morning.) John’s focus is on the consequences of digital journalism for democracy: chief amongst these, disruption and innovation in the journalism industry; the emergence of a digital divide between those with and without access; the development of more robust interactive media; greater transparency in government; and increased civic participation.

Disruption and innovation is driven by greater access to high-speed wired and wireless Internet, as well as new (also mobile) technologies which enable us to connect to these networks. Additionally, the global economic downturn also presents great challenges for the media to reinvent themselves; this has been a problem for the mainstream media, but also provides opportunities for new media players to step into the breach.

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