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The 21st Century Media (R)evolution

Emergent Communication Practices, Second Edition

Jim Macnamara

The emergence of what are called ‘new media’ and ‘social media’ is one of the most discussed topics in contemporary societies. Because media and public communication are mostly analyzed within particular theoretical frameworks and within specific disciplinary fields, polarized views have been created with cyberoptimists and celebrants on one side and cyberpessimists and skeptics on the other. Thus we lack an understanding of the interdependencies and convergence between disciplines and practices.
The second edition of this book expertly synthesizes competing theories and disciplinary viewpoints and examines the latest data, including international research from fast-growing markets such as China, to provide a comprehensive, holistic view of the twenty-first century media (r)evolution. Dr. Macnamara argues that the key changes are located in practices rather than technologies and that public communication practices are emergent in highly significant ways.
Engaging and accessible, this book is essential reading for scholars and professionals in media and communication and an invaluable text for courses in media studies, journalism, advertising, public relations and organisational and political communication.
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Chapter 2. The New Mediaspeak—Talking About and Understanding Media Today


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Talking About and Understanding Media Today

The first issue we come up against in discussing media today is terminology, with an array of terms used—many of which are out-dated, ambiguous, or even anomalous. This is not a superficial or trivial issue. Language, depending on its clarity and meaningfulness, either facilitates or hinders discussion and understanding.

Changing Media Terminology

An analysis done for the first edition of this book identified 35 common media type descriptions, as shown in Figure 2.1 (Macnamara, 2010a). A 2012 study by Deluca, Lawson and Sun also identified the “terministic muddiness” that characterizes contemporary media studies and discussion (2012, p. 486). It is useful to begin by noting and clarifying some terms.

For instance, the terms ‘radio,’ ‘television’ or ‘TV,’ ‘internet’ and ‘Web’ focus on media distribution technologies—what some media scholars call delivery technologies. As John Pavlik notes, media regulation is typically defined by its method of delivery or distribution, such as in the various telecommunications and broadcasting acts in the US, UK, Australia and other countries (2008, p. 10). However, categorizations such as television or even broadcasting are no longer clear definitions, with the launch of ‘internet TV’ and radio being ‘podcast’ as well as broadcast on VHF and UHF radio frequencies. ← 19 | 20 →

Figure 2.1. Terms used for media (Macnamara, 2010a).

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