The Publishing and Communications program at the University of Melbourne is proud to host this year's Australian Media Traditions (AMT) conference on the theme Media Convergence: Continuities and Change.
Convergence - between "new: and "old" media; distinct media technologies and forms; different sites and institutions of media production; and between media and audiences - has been with us almost as long as media themselves. The history of convergence includes recognisable patterns and cycles which can be just as illuminating as clear instances of paradigmatic change and innovation. As well as exploring radical departures, AMT presenters are invited to analyse the significance of continuities and discontinuities that pattern change in media, and to essay the cultural and social residues of Australian media convergence.
To some extent, the same pattern of closure and corporate merger can be seen today, as in the Nine/Fairfax combination. But social media has afforded some established media sectors and institutions new audiences and opportunities for storytelling and promotion. Indigenous media, sports media and the SBS are among the beneficiaries.
New forms of hybrid media and new objects of convergence culture have also emerged. In book publishing, audiobooks are enjoying a heyday, while authors see their roles converging with the traditional role of publisher to create a new career path - the self-published author. In journalism, the Guardian Australia has celebrated its fifth anniversary, while entirely new sites for public journalism have sprung from the universities, and podcasting and online video flourish as important new journalistic forms. But to what extent have such developments made it easier to become a successful writer; or opened the door to more female and minority voices in media? And what difference have new voices made? Have they served previously unmet audience needs, or reduced the unevenness and inequality of media access and coverage in this country? Has the traditional empirical turn of Australian newspaper journalism significantly altered since the internet became the primary site of news in print?
The conference will be held at the University of Melbourne's Parkville campus.