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Has the Internet changed Global Media?

Has the Internet changed Global Media?

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Published by Huey Tan
This paper investigates whether new media technologies such as the Internet has changed global media systems, and if so, in what ways and to what extent.
This paper investigates whether new media technologies such as the Internet has changed global media systems, and if so, in what ways and to what extent.

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Published by: Huey Tan on Jan 14, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Student No: 570886, Swansea UniversityTotal No of Words: 3,311 (excluding bibliography)
Has the Internet changed global media?
To answer the question ± 
has new media technologies such as the Internet changed global media systems, and if so, in what ways and to what extent 
 ± we will start by defining coreconcepts, namely, the nature of global media and what is the ³new´ in new media; then wewill probe into the technological changes precipitated by new media and put these changes inthe context of society, economics, politics and culture. In this paper, we will focus on theInternet as an example of new media technologies ± hence, the shortened title and question:Has the Internet Changed Global Media? It is important to note that changes brought about bytechnology are not a simple µcause and effect¶ analysis:
We need to understand technology, especially our media and information technologies« tograsp the subtleties, power and consequences of technological change. For technologies aresocial things, suffused with the symbolic, and vulnerable to the eternal paradoxes andcontradictions of social life, both in their creation and in their use. The study of themedia«in turn requires such a questioning of technology. (Silverstone, 1999, p. 26)
Furthermore, the questioning of technology has to be put in the context of society, economics, politics and culture, and in order:
«to understand µwhat¶s new for society about new media?¶ it must locate technologicaldevelopments within the cultural processes and associated timescale of domestic diffusion andappropriation. (Livingstone, 1999, p. 1)
art I: Defining Core Concepts
The ³global´ in global media
When we think of global media, who or what comes to mind? Is it ³global´ - in the sense oan international media approach, as compared to local or national media approaches; in theshape of media companies that operate beyond the national boundaries of their head office or  place of origin; by possessing a global reach into the audiences located in different parts of the world; by the delivery of global content that reflects a shared media experience? Theanswer is probably all of the above (Steven, 2003, p. 35-36).
This textbook definition is limited in scope, as it does not explain the true nature of globalmedia, exhibited in the exercise of market power and global reach over audiences across theworld. Robert McChesney attributes the nature of global media to neoliberal deregulationand new communications technologies resulting in:
«fewer and larger companies controlling more and more, and the largest of them are mediaconglomerates, with vast empires that cover number media industries. (McChesney, 2006, pp.101-105)
This is the new global media, and its inherent nature is to advance its own corporate andcommercial interests in a state of 
(McChesney, 2003, p. 266).There are growing signs of a backlash against global media (January, 2003, p. 32) (Van Aelstand Walgrave, 2002) (Friedman, 1996).
There is optimism of forces at play, in the form of local traditions and culture, coupled with domestic regulation and public policy, as counter-measures to the global media onslaught (Giddens and Griffiths, 2006, p. 626). The Internet¶sdecentralized model is enabling and empowering civic participation, and providing a platformto mobilize political communication and democracy in action (Van Aelst and Walgrave,2002) (Donk, 2004). Also, there is the countervailing nature of the Internet, potentially as aviable commercial alternative to mainstream media on a global scale (McChesney, 2006).Matt Drudge in ³breaking´ the Monica Lewinsky affair before mainstream media is proof of this potential (McChesney, 2006 p. 108). So what is ³new´ in new media technologies?
The ³new´ in new media technologies
The popular meaning of new media is the distribution or exhibition of text on a computer,instead of paper (Manovich, 2002). This does not capture the role of computerization in thedevelopment of new media. Historically, it is the fusion of calculation (Babbage¶s ³theAnalytical Engine´) and for storage (Louis Daguerre¶s
that has transformed³«the computer as a media processor into a media synthesizer and manipulator´ (Manovich,2002 p. 28). This change is exemplified by the amalgam of the consumer and producer for  journalism at the edge, which is explained later.
µNationalist and religious revivals can thus be understood as a backlash against a world in whichµnational leaders no longer have the ability to comprehend, much less control, these giants (globalcorporations)¶
Whitewash: racialized politics and the media,
John Gabriel (1998), p. 23
 Comparing the characteristics of old media with new media - the ³new´ in new mediainvolves the conversion of continuous data into discrete representation i.e. digitization(Manovich, 2002 p. 28). The ³new´ is defined by creating, accessing or re-using mediaobjects, with the Internet as a distributed media database. Old media is related to the oldlogic of industrial mass production of standardization and conformity. In the post-industrialsociety, new media enables customization and individualization (Manovich, 2002). This paper takes the view that the Internet is ³new´ in new media technologies, and it is makinginroads incrementally and cumulatively over time into the domain of global media. It is earlydays for the Internet, but there is a shift away from utopian and dystopian views.
art I: Summary ± Defining Core Concepts
To summarize, the true nature of global media is exhibited by media giants exercising their market power to fulfill their corporate and commercial interests; there are countervailingforces to the global media oligopoly - in domestic markets with local traditions and cultures,and the Internet as a viable commercial alternative to mainstream media; and new mediarepresents the logic of a post-industrial society, that of individual customization rather thanmass standardization since the Internet represents µ«the shift of all culture to computer-mediated forms of production, distribution and communication¶ (Manovich, 2002 p. 30),manifested in ³new´ ways to synthesize all media types in all stages of communication.
art II: Has the Internet Changed Global Media?
There are several views from a multi-disciplinary academic field of political economists,media cultural theorists, historians, technologists, political scientists and even public policywonks, as to whether the Internet has changed global media. The literature reviewed is wideand varied but we can identify three distinct perspectives.Firstly, and pessimistically as it would appear, the Internet as a change-agent is no match for the ³double-whammy´ of global hegemonic media structures and the dominance of neoliberalcapitalism (Herman and McChesney, 1997, Schiller and NetLibrary, 1999).

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