In the past decade, the world wide web has dramatically transformed the media ecology, increasing access, expanding means of distribution, inventing new possibilities, but also disrupting many traditional business models. Newspapers now compete with free online news websites and blogs, Television has to compete with on-demand videos, radio is challenged by podcasts, and algorithms behind social media and search engines have become gatekeepers of content. On one hand the traditional media is struggling to reinvent itself, and on the other hand networked individuals and the digital-only competitors are fighting to gain credibility.
When the motion picture camera was invented, the first films were merely continues footages of theater. It took nearly two decades for cinema to develop its own unique language, and understand the power of montage–the quality that fundamentally changed the function of cinema. The appearance of most news websites has moved away from replicating that of newspapers. However, the functions, and organizational structures of most newsrooms today are still very similar to those designed years ago for the medium of newspaper. What is/would be the equivalent of montage in journalism?
By visiting media theory and adapting systems thinking this research aims at mapping the changes in media ecology specifically in relation to journalism. It will investigate how changes in a medium( or the media ecology as a whole)can influence over time changes in the functions, organizational structures, power, and credibility of industries dependant on that medium.
Using participatory design principles, and in collaboration with journalist, media specialist, public servants, and media consumers, this research will co-create plausible images of the future. It is an exercise in imaging what different futures of journalism might look like, and creating a vision that can inform current business models of news.