These years, there’s a term that is usually mentioned by the press: “media convergence”. So, what is media convergence? This phrase is first mentioned by professor Nicholas Negroponte in 1978 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a theory called “convergence”. Recently, convergence is defined as “the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media in industries, and the migratory behavior of media audience (Henry Jenkins 2006). Prof. Ithiel de Sola Pool from MIT described “convergence” as a force of change in the media industries:
A process called the “convergence of modes” is blurring the lines between media, even between point-to-point communications, such as the post, telephone and telegraph, and mass communications, such as the press, radio and television. A single physical means – be it wires, cables or airwaves – may carry services that in the past were provided in separate ways. Conversely, a service that in the past was provided by any one medium – be it broadcasting, the press, or telephony – can now be provided in several different physical ways. So the one-to-one relationship that used to exist between a medium and its use is croding.
(Pool 1983: 23 cited in Jenkins 2006)
Will newspaper be replaced?
The era of Internet allows information can be transferred by different modes of communication, such as electronic newspaper. With a medium cost mobile phone that can access the Internet, we can be update news whenever and wherever we want. So, along with the strong growth of online newspaper, will traditional printed newspaper with the current disadvantages (such as high production cost) lose its position? According to Microsoft CEO Mr.Ballmer, newspaper will be disappeared in the next few years:
In the next 10 years, the whole world of media, communications and advertising are going to be turned upside down – my opinion.
Here are the premises I have. Number one, there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form.
(Microsoft’s Ballmer on Yahoo and the future, 2008, p.1)
Rupert Murdoch, founder of News Corp, also predicted about the future of newspaper:
“Every newspaper has had a very good run… It’s coming to an end as a result of these disruptive technologies,” he said. “I think we will have both [internet and print news] for quite a while, certainly ten years, some people say five. I’d be more inclined to say 20, but 20 means very small circulations.”
(Rupert Murdoch predicts newspaper could die out in 10 years, 2012, p.1)
Personally, I don’t think newspaper will die out. Its contribution to the humankind is undeniable. It has witnessed hundred years of development and continuously develops along with the broadcasting industry and it will keep growing, especially in developing countries, particularly in the countryside and remote areas, where television and Internet are still not really popular.