Thursday, September 6, 2012

Media Convergence vs. Multimedia Journalism: Marie Cathcart

In the text, one definition of convergent journalism is described by Larry Pryor, who says “convergence is what takes place in the newsroom as editorial staff members work together to produce multiple products for multiple platforms to reach a mass audience with interactive content, often on a 24/7 timescale” (Filak, Quinn 4).  The authors simplify the term convergence by explaining that it is essentially “about doing journalism and telling stories using the most appropriate media” (Filak, Quinn 7) but across two or more media simultaneously.  “Full convergence [is] the stage in which the partners cooperate in both gathering and disseminating the news.  Their common goal is to use the strengths of the different media to tell the story in the most effective way” (26). 
An effective example of convergence by these standards is the Huffington Post.  The Huffington Post isn’t just an aggregator, but they have hosts and writers who use other broadcasting agencies videos and photos to draft their own versions of the story.  This is just one example,, where the Huffington Post article was featured around two videos, one from C-SPAN and the other from CNN. 

Yet, “digital convergence” differs from “multimedia integration” in that multimedia journalism is a particular subset of convergence (Filak, Quinn 12).   The “super reporter” or “backpack journalist” harnesses the idea that “journalists with varied backgrounds can produce separate stories that take advantage of each medium’s strong points” (Filak, Quinn 27).  Unlike straight convergence, multimedia does not focus its efforts on developing one story via the best medium or vehicle.  Instead, it focuses on one journalist acting independently to develop the story on each platform uniquely in a way that complements each medium – print, radio, TV, online – in the best fashion. 
In this regard, an example of multimedia journalism is apparent with The Boston Globe.  The Boston Globe, although pairs with its sister online-only site, produces its own content on multiple platforms.  In this example,, the Boston Globe staff collaborated on a special report that delved into the issue of seafood mislabeling.  The story was written by staff writers in article format; the next tab features graphics including photographs that depict the numerical and labeling information the staff acquired, and the next tab features a video component of the story.  The special report was also uploaded to the sister site, again, which featured a variety of article and report links back to The Boston Globe website.

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