1. David Morley (2005), Entry on ‘Audience’ in New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society, Ed. T.Bennett, L. Grossberg & M. Morris (Wiley-Blackwell), pp.8-10.

This reading is an introduction to defining the term ‘audience’ in media studies.

The printing press transformed the meaning of audience from being in the physical presence of the sermon/product to mass audiences consuming away from the source. Mass audiences are dispersed across space and time. Mediated audiences consumed the same message at the same time, from daily newspapers, radio and television. This brought a sense of community to audiences, who shared a ‘life in common’.

The media no longer broadcasts to passive audiences who are affected by it; audiences are now understood to be active in the way that they interpret and use media.

2. Jay Rosen (2006),’The People Formerly Known as the Audience’, PressThink blog, June 27.

This text is a manifesto for the active audience, regarding the shift in power between pro media and amateur media.

‘If all would speak who shall be left to listen? Can you at least tell us that?’ – viewpoint from Big Media who refuse to get on board with the changing tides.

printing press to blogs

radio to podcasts

television and cinema to internet sharing of video content

horizontal flow of information – citizen to citizen

people will still consume ‘big media’, we will still read in bed, watch films, listen to the radio, but we will do it on our terms, on the device of our choosing, at the time that we decide.

“If you want to attract a community around you, you must offer them something original and of a quality that they can react to and incorporate in their creative work.”

‘Personally, I favor the term Edgling because I want to move away from media metaphors, and use economic or sociological ones. This is not about who is “producing content” and who is “consuming” it: which is the basic paradigm of media thinking. Instead, it is about control moving from the central, large, mass-market organizations — which includes media companies, but also other large organizations, like government, religious organizations, and so on — out to the individuals — we, the people — at the edge.’

3. Henry Jenkins (2014) Rethinking ‘Rethinking Convergence/Culture’, Cultural Studies, 28:2, 267-297.

This essay is a reaction to other writer’s reactions to his book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.

Towards a more participatory culture

Throughout the 20th century there have been many people who push for a more participatory media culture, hopes held high with each new technological advancement, and the possibilities for the tools to be in the hands of the people.

Participatory culture promotes democratic and grassroots participation as well as diversity in media.

Politics: grassroots movements have been utilising networked computing

Arts: artists utilising crowd-sourcing and participatory design processes

Journalism: news organisations utilising citizen journalism

Entertainment industry: integrating ideas of audience engagement and fan participation

From my own experience, an example of the entertainment industry integrating audience engagement into their product has been with the television show Twin Peaks. If you have been reading this blog you can probably tell that I am a big fan of the show, and although I am not active the the online fandom of the show, I am aware of it and I enjoy reading people’s speculations about the show. Recently Twin Peaks were staging an online event to promote the return of a third season, 25 years later, and they were going to post clues up on facebook and in the fansites, the answers would be in the previous seasons of Twin Peaks, so fans would be rewarded for their knowledge of the show.

Jenkins acknowledges that there are many who are excluded from participatory culture. I am assuming he means people who do not have the technology/means to participate, or the education, or the infrastructure.

Jenkins talks a lot about how scholars should be talking about participation culture: rather than discussing it in a utopian/dystopian way, they should be analysing it with more nuance. I think this kind of discussion and nitpicking is not a good start for reading about convergence culture, but I suppose it is good to have the limitations pointed out. He just seems a bit defensive, reacting to gripes from other academics.  This reading just seems like a conversation between academics with a background in cultural theory.

Jenkins identifies the issue of time regarding academics writing on a culture that is changing so rapidly, but their papers are getting published years after they are written. How can these academics debate amongst each other with the aim of developing a better understanding of participatory culture when there are such large gaps of time between writing/publishing/critiques? It would be much better to have more immediate discussion amongst academics where they utilised digital media (ironically, they need to shift into the new media/participatory culture that they are so intently studying).

Overall this reading went over my head. I have studied convergence culture before, and I think it would have been better to read an excerpt from his original book. In saying that, I know that this reading would be great for people who are working on the topic of audience for their final project because it includes a lot of references to other academics who have commented on his writing, including differing opinions to his own.


My name is Mimo. I like to watch TV and films with my neighbour's cat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *