Convergence is a buzzword that’s been used to describe trends in media since the ’90s, but what do we mean when we say it today? As journalism reinvents itself, we frequently hear about convergence in the context of multimedia reporting, of print and web coming under one roof, of the converged newsroom.
But it’s more than just that, I think. Convergence is the blurring of borderlines between groups and ideas, and it’s happening on multiple levels from micro to macro.
- The micro level is on an individual scale: convergence of the traditional forms of text, photography, video and audio and the evolution of the multitasking, multimedia reporter who writes, shoots, records and edits on the go.
- The next level is on a group scale: media organizations branching out across fields as they go online, collaboration and content sharing between companies, and the rise of the link economy and reverse syndication model.
- The macro level is on a societal scale: old media as a one-to-many institution is crumbling as social media charges through the breach in all its many-to-many glory. Meanwhile, the barriers between news organizations and the communities they serve are being dismantled with the rise of crowdsourcing, citizen journalism, and community-funded reporting.
So there you have it, another way of looking at convergence in journalism — how far it’s come along, and where it’s taking us next.