Research (Vol. 53): Convergent media on campus

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A study of campus media organizations’ convergence practices

 By Lindsey Wotanis, Ph.D.,
Janice Richardson, B.A.,
and Bowei Zhong, B.A.
Marywood University


Convergence polychrome (cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine)
Convergence polychrome (cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine) by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr Creative Commons

Abstract: Scholars disagree on how to define “media convergence,” but in the past 15 years, literature suggests many newsrooms have shifted toward convergence, and they’re looking to hire journalists who understand it. Many university journalism programs have updated their curricula to emphasize convergence. However, students often learn journalism best by practicing it at campus newspapers, television and radio stations, or on web platforms. This paper asks: Are college media organizations practicing convergence? Researchers surveyed 142 campus media advisers to learn about convergence practices in campus newsrooms. Findings show that while half of advisers report their campus media organizations are practicing convergence, most are only practicing cross-platform publishing. Findings also suggest a correlation between campuses reporting converged media organizations and those reporting convergence-focused curricula.


Introduction

In May 2008, Carl Sessions-Stepp’s article, “Maybe it is time to panic,” was the cover story of the American Journalism Review. Sessions-Stepp wrestled with how journalists could continue doing their jobs well in light of all of the changes to the news industry. “Today journalists stand not at the head of the pipeline but in the middle of a boundless web of interconnected media, messages, senders and receivers. This is the new, right-brain, digital world. The journalist-in-the-middle is a ringmaster, a maker and a consumer, a grand impresario of a two-way information flow that has no beginning, end, or fixed schedule” (Sessions-Stepp 2008, 24).

All of this change, he said, didn’t affect the way we define news. But it has had a profound effect on “how news is assembled and shared.” The new ways in which news is assembled and shared has often been referred to as convergence. Scholars (Lawson-Borders 2003; Dailey, Demo, and Spillman 2005; Jenkins 2006; Quinn, 2006; Sarachan 2011; Kolodzy, Grant, DeMars, & Wilkinson 2014; Filak 2015) disagree on exactly how to define the term, but studies suggest newsrooms have shifted toward convergence, and they’re looking to hire journalists who understand it (Singer 2004; Dupagne and Garrison 2006; Smith, Tanner, and Duhe 2007; Massey 2010; Wenger and Owens 2010).

To keep pace, many college and university journalism programs have worked to update their curricula to ensure that students are getting exposure to the practice in the classroom (Huang, et. al 2006; Bhuiyan 2010; Sarachan 2011; Folkerts 2014; Kolodzy, et al. 2014). But, often where students learn how best to practice journalism is by doing it at college media outlets like campus newspapers, television and radios stations, or on web platforms. This paper examines convergence practices at college media organizations in the United States.

Definition of Convergence

For the past 15 years, scholars have been working to study media convergence. Seminars and workshops were devoted to it at places like the Poynter Institute in the early 2000s (Wendland, 2002). In the 2002, Haagerup suggested in a speech on media convergence that no one was quite sure just what convergence was and, more to the point, whether others were actually doing it. He said: “Media convergence is like teenage sex. Everybody thinks everybody else is doing it. The few who are actually doing it aren’t very good at it” (Dailey, Demo, and Spillman 2005, 151).

Scholars do seem to agree that convergence is complicated, but a common definition is difficult to find. Dailey, Demo, and Spillman (2005) said that the lack of a common, “behavior-based definition” of convergence has slowed scholars ability to study it. Scholarship in the past 15 years has tried to nail down the meaning of convergence, yet there remains little certainty that all of the work has led to a common definition.

At its most complex level, Jenkins (2006) points to factors that when combined, lead to media convergence. He said convergence “manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes” within the media industry (2-3). He argued that convergence not only to the work of journalists, but also involves “the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences” (2-3).

Huang, Davison, Shrieve, Davis, Bettendorf and Nari (2006) examined literature on media convergence and identified four categories of convergence. Content, they said, has to do with the ways that news is combined or shared at or among news organizations. Form convergence deals with the technology that allow for the combination of “video, audio, data, text, still photo, and graphic art.” Corporate convergence refers to media mergers that have led to consolidated newsrooms. And finally, role convergence relates to journalists’ ability to work across platforms (227-228).

Subsequent research seems to fit consistently into Huang et al.’s categories, though scholars and practitioners’ understanding of convergence has evolved over time. Fifteen years ago, according to Kolodzy, Grant, DeMars and Wilkinson (2014), convergence was thought of as cooperation and partnerships between two or more media outlets that shared resources and content (p. 198).  As time went on, however, ideas shifted. “By 2005, educators and critics had started to move on from the partnerships kind of thinking about media convergence and started recognizing technology influences on journalism” (199).

Stephen Quinn (2006) said that “if pressed for a simple definition,” of media convergence, he would argue “it is about doing journalism and telling stories in the most appropriate medium” (xiiii-xiv). Sarachan (2011) said that convergent journalism “consists of using video, audio, text, and other emerging platforms, and may also contain elements of interactivity, especially through the use of Web 2.0 tools” (165).

Still, while some scholars have simplified the definition, others argue there is nothing simple about it. Lawson-Borders (2003) said that convergence involves seven elements–what she called the 7Cs: “1) communication, 2) commitment, 3) cooperation, 4) compensation, 5) culture, 6) competition, and 7) customer” (94).

In the past five years, ideas about convergence shifted again, recognizing and in many ways focusing on the role that consumers, the seventh “C” in Lawson-Border’s elements of convergence, play in partnerships with media organizations (199). Filak (2015) said that the goal of convergence is “to provide audience members with content they need, in formats they like, in a way they will accept” (2). In order to produce such work, journalists must have cross-platform skills, or as Huang, et al, found, they need to understand the new role of the journalist in a converged media environment.

But, being able to produce across multiple platforms isn’t necessarily enough. They need to understand their roles and the roles of others in the newsroom and to be able to collaborate with them easily. In addition, in a study of convergence at the Tampa News Center (Dupagne & Garrison 2006), a journalist said that sharing the physical workspace is key to convergence (246).

When taken together, the various definitions suggest that media convergence is a complex practice of news work that, at its most utopian realm, involves journalists collaborating to produce and share content across multimedia platforms, and doing so in a shared workspace under systems of cooperative management, communication, and newsroom culture.

Convergence in the industry

Despite the variety of ways convergence has been defined, evidence suggests that convergence has made its way into the journalism industry. Wenger and Owens (2010) analyzed more than 1,400 journalism job postings and found that while traditional journalism skills remain in demand, web and multimedia skills–often identified as skills critical to media convergence–are growing in demand for broadcast journalists and remaining steady for print journalists (22). Massey (2010) analyzed more than 200 journalism job postings and found “a modest labor market demand for multi platform skills by legacy news organizations” (150). However, Massey also discovered that “contemporary definitions of multiplatform newswork … tend to be overly broad and, thus, ambiguous” suggesting that it may be difficult for educators to know best how to alter curricula to meet the needs of the news industry (151). It may also suggest that news organizations also are unsure of their own needs in a disrupted media environment.

Still, the job ads suggest a need for cross-platform skills in newsrooms. However, as the literature on convergence shows, cross-platform skills do not alone prepare journalists to enter converged newsrooms. Dupagne and Garrison’s (2006) study of the Tampa News Center, which combined The Tampa Tribune, WFLA-TV, and the Tampa Bay Online service all under one roof in 2000, suggested other factors are equally important to success in a converged operation. While technical convergence was something that most of the journalists talked about, they pointed to other critical factors, including the ability to share resources, cooperate and communicate among different units, and be versatile.

Killibrew (2002) found that media managers who want to implement convergence need to “create an organizational value shift” among employees (45). This process, he added, takes time and as other researchers have found, the process could be met with resistance. Singer (2004) found that print journalists had “little or no motivation to participate in convergence” (850). Reasons included a perceived professional superiority to their television and web counterparts, as well as a lack of training in multiplatform storytelling (850).

Attitudes and perceptions may also vary among news managers and news workers. Smith, Tanner, and Duhe’s (2007) nationwide study of convergence at small and medium market television stations found that news workers and managers had differing opinions on the impact of convergence practices on their newsrooms. News workers were “significantly more likely” to feel that convergence practices negatively impacted the quality of the news they produced, that technological “hurdles” created challenges for producing shared content, and that their managers shared different values about cross-platform content creation.

These studies show how difficult a transition to convergence can be. The literature thus suggests that convergence involves technological, managerial, and cultural shifts in the newsroom, all which require time and effort, and which may be met with resistance. Still, it is clear from research on journalism job ads that colleges and universities need to be preparing journalism students to work in such environments.

Convergence in the curriculum

As such, some colleges and universities have been revising their curricula to include more emphasis on convergence. According to Huang et al. (2002), “about 60% of the J-schools in the United States redesigned their curricula or developed new courses to prepare students for practicing news in multiple media platforms” between the years 1998-2002. However, only 53% of professors said that they felt “technologically prepared” to teach across platforms. Regardless, believing in the trend, 84% of professors reported incorporating elements of convergence into their journalism classes (248).

According to Kraeplin and Criado (2005), teaching convergence requires a cultural shift best taken using an interdisciplinary stance, because “a truly converged curriculum requires the blending of two different cultures and approaches–print and broadcast. Add the Internet to the mix and one has a slew of different terms, writing formulas, technologies, visual needs, conceptual approaches, etc.” (48).

The challenge, as Auman and Lillie (2008) point out, is that convergence needs in the industry are not one-size fits all, as “smaller news organizations need versatile backpack journalists; larger ones can afford to have specialists in teams” (361). Some scholars and professionals fear that changing curriculum to place more emphasis on convergence skills dilutes the traditional journalism curriculum, which include critical thinking, reporting, and writing (Tanner and Duhe 2005). As such, Bhuiyan (2010) suggests journalism educators have a great opportunity to do a better job for students and the public just by incorporating new media skills into the basic courses” (121).

According to Miller and Lubbers (2014), students with strong portfolios have better chances of getting jobs in the field. One of the best ways to establish such a portfolio is to work for a college media organization. A few studies have examined convergence experiments at campus media outlets. Endres’ (2008) longitudinal study at a Midwestern university showed that over the course of a semester, students did not buy “into the more general concepts of collaboration and convergence” at a new converged news website. Hammond, Peterson, and Thomsen (2000) had similar findings in their study of a converged newsroom at Brigham Young University, where most students resisted a converged newsroom, identifying instead with a particular medium (23-24).

Steven Chappell, director of student publications at Northwest Missouri State University, experienced similar resistance. He created “Student Media Days,” which require students from the newspaper, radio and television stations, and yearbook, to put on a media blitz, producing and distributing news every Thursday. Convincing students to work together took three years to accomplish. “It wasn’t ‘another outlet stealing our work.’ It was ‘we scratch your back, you scratch ours’ instead, which had been hard to convince them of in previous years” (Chappell 2015). Chappell’s experience shows the difficulties of converging organizations in order to prepare students for the industry. But more examples are needed. This paper explores if and how college media organizations are practicing media convergence.

Methodology

The literature shows that there is a movement toward convergence in the media industry and in academic curricula. But what the literature does not show is how college media organizations are adapting to the shift. The convergence practices of college media organizations are the focus of this study.

The following research questions were developed for this analysis:

  • Q1: Are campus media organizations practicing media convergence?

To further probe how organizations that say they are practicing convergence are actually doing so, we developed the following additional questions based on findings from the literature:

  • Q2: Are campus media organizations operating in converged news spaces?
  • Q3: Are campus media organizations working collaboratively?
  • Q4: Are campus journalists producing content for multiple platforms?
  • Q5: Are journalism curriculums influencing campus media convergence?

To answer these questions, we conducted a survey of college media advisers across the United States. To connect with college media advisers, we asked the College Media Association (CMA) and the Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ), both organizations that serve college media advisers, to send out an email containing a link to an online survey via their list-servs in late January 2015. At that time, the CMA list-serv has a total of 857 email addresses; the SCJ list-serv had 32 emails. The sum of recipients totaled 889 college media advisers.

A week after the original emails were sent by CMA and SCJ, the principle investigator of this project sent a follow-up email to each list-serv, thanking those who had already participated and urging those who had not yet done so to complete the survey. A link to the survey was provided in both the original and follow-up emails. One hundred forty-two participants completed the survey–a 16 percent response rate. Of them, 72 identified as male and 68 as female; one participant preferred not to identify.

The cross-sectional survey was designed by the researchers and contained 37 questions. The questions were developed after a review of the literature on convergence; all questions were designed to tie back to the five main research questions on convergence practices related to management, space, technology, and the sharing of content. The survey included 24 closed questions, which asked participants to select from a pre-determined set of responses, and 14 open-ended questions, which asked participants to draft responses that described their experiences.  The survey was created using Survey Monkey, a leading industry provider of web-based survey tools. The project and survey instrument were approved by Marywood University’s Institutional Review Board.

Qualitative data were given several close readings by all three authors in search of emerging themes. As themes were identified, the data were reviewed again and cross-checked by all three authors to ensure similar categorization of material.

Findings

Q1: Are campus media organizations practicing media convergence?

One of the first non-demographic questions on the survey asked: “Are your student media organizations converged?” Just more than half (51%) of respondents said that their campus news organizations were converged. Those who answered yes were asked to explain what made their media organizations converged. Responses were coded for multiple themes and often, responses fit into multiple categories.

The majority (48%) of respondents considered cross-platform publishing and reporting to mean convergence in their newsrooms. For example, one respondent said: “We publish in print and on the web site. We also have a weekly video news broadcast, we use online video, and we use blogs” (Respondent 119).

Others described sharing content and reporting resources as convergence. For example, one respondent said: “I encourage all the media organizations to work together. We share photographers and copy editors. My students are encouraged to participate in all groups. Everyone is free to learn editing, writing, photography, and graphic design” (Respondent 56). Another added that sharing happened “to some extent”: “The newspaper and TV news staffs do exchange story ideas and sometimes write stories (especially sports) for TV, newspaper, and the website” (Respondent 69).

Some respondents described a collaborative management structure as making their organizations converged. One respondent said that “the newspaper, website, and yearbook all operate under a single staff” and that those students “partner with the broadcast station” (Respondent 106).

Only 8% of respondents indicated they share physical space when answering this question, saying things like “we have one integrated newsroom” or “web, TV, and radio students all work out of a common newsroom.”

The answers to these two questions were interesting when compared to later, more detailed questions asking about cross platform reporting, collaborative management, and shared space on campus. As respondents answered more specific questions about each of these elements, it became clear that many media advisers did not consider things like collaborative management or shared space as essential to convergence in the newsrooms they advised, as the remaining findings show.

Q2: Are campus media organizations operating in converged news spaces?

Forty percent of respondents said that their media organizations share the same physical space on campus. The extent to which that is actually promoting converged activity, however, is unclear and in need of further investigation.

One of the clearest examples of a converged space was this: “[We have a] 5,000 square feet open-concept media center with radio and TV studio space, 18-desk newsroom, 12-desk advertising/design” (Respondent 34).

Yet other advisers said even though their organizations were housed within close proximity, they were not in open-concept floor plans that promoted collaborative work. For example:

“It’s not quite the same physical space, as there are separate, adjacent offices on the same floor” (Respondent 39).

“If by share the same physical space you mean that we’re in the same building, on the same floor, then the answer is yes. We lack a converged newsroom, though. We have a J-Lab open to all majors and student media workers. Generally, it is the newsroom. We have separate TV and radio studios just down the hall from the newsroom” (Respondent 25).

“The newspaper, radio station, tv station, and literary magazine are all close–on one level of one building–but are not connected. Our newsroom has one office with two computers, one “meeting room” type space, and two offices that are rarely used” (Respondent 31).

Other respondents echoed this, saying often the workspaces set aside for campus media work were underutilized.

“We have a converged newsroom however the media outlets rarely use it. We all have other physical spaces” (Respondent 46).

More investigation is needed to understand why existing spaces are underutilized as well as how shared spaces can do more to promote collaborative media work.

Q3: Are campus media organizations working collaboratively?

According to the literature, collaboration is an important component of media convergence, yet less than half of campus advisers report that their student media organizations work together. More than half (56%) of advisers reported the organizations at their schools operate independently, suggesting that most schools still operate under traditional silos. Only a third of organizations have joint editorial meetings to discuss and plan content; likewise, nearly the same amount employ students who serve as managers overseeing multiple platforms.

TABLE 1: Collaboration data
Do your media organizations have joint editorial meetings?
YES 34%
NO 66%
Does each platform have its own student manager?
YES 85%
NO 15%
Do you have one or more students serving as managers who oversee the workflow across organizations?
YES 38%
NO 62%
Do your media organizations share reporters/editors?
YES 52%
NO 48%

Just more than half of advisers (52%) reported their organizations share reporters and editors, suggesting that students at schools with multiple media organizations tend to work across organizations.

Organizations that have moved toward more collaboration seemed to do so at the advisers’ encouragement. Sixty-four percent of advisers said that they initiated a shift toward more collaboration at their schools.

“I stopped hiring staffs for both and rewrote job descriptions” (Respondent 115).

“We had three staffs. I joined them to one” (Respondent 106).

However, several advisers wrote that they’ve tried to encourage collaboration to no avail, citing several barriers.

“We’re trying to get the newspaper to collaborate with TV and radio for news and sports coverage; it’s very hard because of cultures of competition and independence” (Respondent 105).

“I’ve tried repeatedly to encourage collaboration, but have had limited success” (Respondent 97).

“At times, our media work collaboratively. However, it is too infrequent IMHO (in my honest opinion). As for initiating the shift, yes, I’ve pushed it. Students, though, have been less than enthusiastic about embracing it” (Respondent 25).

“No encouragement from administration on convergence. Student media is an afterthought. Instructors have tried to get the students to work together, but they don’t want to. My university gives the big money and encouragement to other academic areas” (Respondent 138).

“Would like them to work together but they are run by different groups of students and want autonomy because there are more management positions for resume building” (Respondent 71).

“We are starting to collaborate more, but it is slow moving” (Respondent 7).

Advisers suggested that changes to culture, modes of operation, and workspace helped in making the organizations converged. Culture and collaboration were frequent themes.

Our organizations historically were remote from one another until I began pressing, years ago, for greater collaboration & convergence. When our building was renovated, creating a single media center, the groups were forced to interact physically which led to better collaboration. Each of them previously had separate offices. Travel funds were pooled a couple of years ago to encourage greater collaboration on conferences, workshops, seminars, etc. Periodic meetings of chief student officers from each group were implemented a few years ago to encourage dialogue. At the start of the year we host an open house for all media orgs together (Respondent 61).

“[Our shift was a] product of a multi-year strategic plan that included structural and cultural changes in operational reporting models” (Respondent 51).

“By moving all the media organizations to the same work area the students got to know each other more and began working together particularly with editing and design training” (Respondent 56).

“It took about two years in the same workspace before students began to work together on projects after they became friends and developed a level of trust …” (Respondent 32).

“There is a smattering of interest in convergence but when it comes to operationalizing it, the students stay in their silos” (Respondent 24).

“We’re a small operation at a mid-sized university without a journalism school or major. The media organizations are fully autonomous, which makes deep, substantive change & convergence a real challenge” (Respondent 61).

Barriers including a culture of independence and competition among organizations and students, resistance or lack of support from other advisers or administrators on making changes, and lacking shared space on campus seem to be the most significant in the transition toward convergence. Likewise, those who are trying to converge say the process is a slow one.

Q4: Are campus journalists producing content for multiple platforms?

Eighty-two percent of advisers said their student reporters were producing content for multiple platforms. As noted earlier, many advisers (48%) take cross-platform reporting to mean that their organizations are practicing convergence.

“We think of convergence simply as working in multiple platforms. So, for us, convergence for print also includes online (which includes video and audio editing). I do not know how the television/radio station thinks of convergence, but they also have a website” (Respondent 89).

The spirit of responses indicated that most advisers are working with students to produce content across multiple platforms using various technologies. However, as Respondent 46 pointed out, converging technology is the easy part; inspiring collaborative production of content is far more difficult.

“Converging technology and equipment is EASY … Getting people to be excited and want to work together to create converged content is very very difficult because everyone’s agenda has different goals.” (Respondent 46).

Q5: Are journalism curriculums influencing campus media convergence?

Curriculum seemed to be a key factor in whether campus media organizations were practicing convergence. While only 35% of advisers said that their student media organizations are tied directly to the journalism curriculum, a cross tabulation showed a correlation between convergence curricula and converged media organizations. Twenty-three percent of advisers who reported converged organizations also reported that their journalism curricula emphasized convergence. Twenty-one percent of advisers who reported that their organizations were not converged also reported that their curricula did not emphasize convergence.

Table 2: Cross-tabulation of converged curricula and organizations. Are your media organizations converged? Is the communication or journalism curriculum at your school centered on convergence?
23% of advisers said: Yes Yes
21% of advisers said: No No

In the comments, several respondents elaborated on their connection.

“Every class and organization is focused on convergence.  Our students graduate from the program knowing how and having the experience in producing content for multiple platforms” (Respondent 45).

“Because of the curriculum, the media organizations have improved” (Respondent 16).

“The curriculum is focused on multimedia and drives changes in student media” (Respondent 80).

The cross-tabulation also showed that those without convergence curricula were less likely to have converged media organizations. Likewise, respondents commented on this negative correlation.

When the curriculum ‘was’ connected to publications, student involvement was high, student satisfaction was high, and readiness for the professional world was fairly uniform.  About 10 years ago the faculty disconnected the curriculum from publication.  All outcomes are now lower (in my opinion).  I am working to encourage the faculty to require publication in reporting classes again (Respondent 111).

Sadly, the curriculum has limited impact on student media operations.  Few of the courses have actual practical application for student media operations, even the journalism courses.  Only the broadcasting courses developed by the radio station adviser and adopted by the communication department have curriculum impact on our operations (Respondent 102).

“The curriculum is a decade or so behind the times, leaving me to fill in the holes for all who work here” (Respondent 49).

Some respondents expressed frustration at the difficulties of making the transition toward converged curricula and organizations because of limited resources.

We’re at a small school with basically no budget and only two full-time journalism instructors. It is a strain on us to try to give hands-on experience to students. We both have to teach different courses–not three or four sections of the same course. Not to complain because I enjoy what I do, but this makes our jobs extremely tough (Respondent 40).

Discussion/Conclusion

Studying college media organizations is complicated. No two campuses, curriculums, or campus media organizations are alike. For instance, some advisers advise only one campus media organization, while others advise multiple organizations and/or platforms. This makes wording survey questions to gauge their experiences difficult. Furthermore, there are significant differences among organizations based on school size, categorization as public or private, and operating budgets. In the concluding comments, some advisers alluded to the complicated nature of this topic. Respondent 25 said that some “survey questions are difficult to answer with yes-no responses.” Respondent 108 echoed the sentiment:

Some things are true for my dept–convergence, collaboration–which are not true of all student news/media operations on this campus (because they are currently part of four different campus departments, two academic and two under student affairs). So yes, I’m pursuing collaboration, but it has not happened yet outside this department (though inside, with the various publications/outlets here–it has) (Respondent 108).

Respondent 72 said that one of the major challenges to convergence is the fact that the media organizations span multiple campuses that are separated by significant physical distance. “I know this isn’t what you’re looking for, but it is a convergence issue,” added Respondent 72.

Despite the challenges, research on the state of campus media and the ways campus media organizations operate is important and more is needed. Special attention should be paid to the culture of student media organizations and their processes for adopting convergent or digital-first workflows, as such knowledge could help student media advisers as they work to make such transitions on their campuses. Likewise, more research is needed to understand if convergence is still an industry practice and by extension, a practice worth implementing at college media organizations. Is convergence as its early scholars knew it a fad or is the practice transforming as new media technologies continue to develop and change the ways we gather and share news? The findings of this study–one of the first to look at the convergence practices of a large swath of campus media organizations across the country–are significant for a number of reasons.

First, they suggest that many campus media advisers don’t define convergence as scholars and practitioners do. That 48% of advisers believe cross-platform reporting is the primary criteria for convergence is interesting and worthy of further investigation. Campus media organizations serve as important training grounds for future professionals; it’s important that the people advising those organizations are up to speed on the expectations in the industry so they can fully prepare students to enter a collaborative work environment. As Respondent 24 said, his/her school is “stuck in the past.” While core journalism skills may remain consistent, journalism programs need to adapt to prepare students for work in an increasingly collaborative environment.

Second, the fact that schools with convergence curricula were more likely to have converged media organizations is significant. It suggests that updating curricula to reflect convergence practices, which include cross-platform reporting, collaborative management, and shared space and resources, is a key for success with convergence at campus media organizations.

And finally, the survey revealed that advisers face several barriers when trying to converge campus media organizations. Cultures of independence and competition, lack of support from fellow advisers and administrators, limited resources, and disinterest in collaboration among students mean that many media organizations remain in their siloes, making a shift toward convergence difficult to achieve.

However, knowing these challenges and barriers can allow more campus media organizations to create tools to support advisers as they move toward more collaborative organizational structures at their schools. More research is needed to better understand the cultures and practices of campus media organizations as well as the experiences of campus media advisers. Advisers are often isolated on their own campuses without colleagues who share their experiences. Offering more support for and awareness of campus media advisers’ experiences is important for the continued health of campus media organizations, which serve as training grounds for future journalists across the country.


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mug_LindseyWotanis
Lindsey Wotanis

Lindsey Wotanis, Ph.D., is an associate professor of communication arts and director of the broadcast journalism program at Marywood University, a private Catholic institution in Scranton, Pa. She serves as co-adviser to the student-run newspaper, The Wood Word, which is making the transition to web-only this January. Since she became a co-adviser in 2010, the newspaper staff has won 23 national awards. She currently serves as Vice President for Communication for the Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ), the nation’s oldest organization designed solely to serve college media leaders. She was named SCJ’s Outstanding New Adviser in 2013.

 


Mug_JaniceRichardson
Janice Richardson

Janice Richardson, B.A., is working toward her master’s in communication arts at Marywood University, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree in English in 2009. She is a loan specialist in the financial aid office at Marywood. She has served as a copy editor for The Wood Word since 2011 and is also a member of the Marywood chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ).

 

 


Mug_BoweiZhong
Bowei Zhong

Bowei Zhong, B.A., is working toward his master’s in communication arts at Marywood University. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Henan University in Henan, China. He started his career as a journalists as an intern at a state-owned broadcast station in China for half a year and continued his career at a province-owned TV station as a political reporter until he came to the United States to pursue his master’s degree.

 

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