Media Critic vs. Consumer

This entry marks the beginning of my Master’s program at the Newhouse School, and my first blog post ever. With a career in communications, it’s a little embarrassing to admit that I’ve never blogged, but my experience has been with the military and the government, which have historically tended toward traditional forms of communication. That’s one of the reasons I am so excited to be a part of Communications@Syracuse, so I can learn about the world of digital communication and explore emerging technologies.

The first week of Introduction to Digital Communications has been all about the history of communication, digital convergence and how mass media relates to our view of culture. I grew up in a time when the technology we enjoy today was just barely emerging, but I have grown so used to digital media that I don’t stop to think about digital convergence. It was good to take some time to reflect on what digital convergence actually means, and how that has affected mass media and our culture. While the availability of communication and the versatility of digital platforms has brought many benefits to our society, they have also brought some potential pitfalls, like a reliance, or even addiction, to technology, and the watering down of culture. The concept of culture as a skyscraper made sense to me, although I prefer to view it more on a map, because I think value can be found in most cultural activities. But, I can easily see how the digital age and the glut of information that is available to people now has watered down our culture, or at least the quality of the media we consume. It used to be more about quality content, but now speed is the most important thing to media companies, and the news has become almost a punchline, as CNN breathlessly counts down every possible event with an onscreen clock and every media company picks up coverage of the latest viral video.

That brings me to the point that stood out to me the most from this week, and that’s how to become a critical viewer of media. In this day and age, it is very important to develop that critical perspective and become knowledgeable about the business of media to better judge the quality of the content we consume. As professionals in the field, this point is crucial, because it will also drive the content we create and/or market. I’m really looking forward to honing that critical perspective over the course of this class, and for the next 18 months or so until I become a “Master” of communication.

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