Editor's Note: The post is an excerpt from a journal of Colin Brock.
January 4, 2000
7:30 am. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. Overslept again.
9:30 am. “Convergence!” Prof. Preston certainly captures attention. He started the class with that one word in his loud, booming voice. The guy in front of me literally jumped and dropped his bagel. It had cream cheese smeared all over it. The cream cheese is still on the floor.
Convergence is a fascinating topic. Not that I buy everything the professor was selling, but I think it warrants writing it in this journal, which I will do after class.
1:00 pm. Back at my apartment.
Convergence. Preston said that’s what the world is already experiencing. And because of that, we’re entering a new kind of media. A new type of journalism.
He showed us a slide presentation. There were four boxes on the screen. Inside the first box was a newspaper. Inside the second box was a radio. In the third, a television. The fourth—a computer.
He said this is old media. Print, radio, and TV have been inside their little boxes. And when the Internet came along, we also put it into a little box. That was a mistake.
He changed to the next slide. A giant box surrounded the other boxes—except the Internet box was gone.
He said this is new media. And the giant box? That’s the Internet. As we move into the future, the Internet will be the box people look at for their newspapers, radio, and television.
I almost laughed out loud. I’ve tried listening to music through one of those online radio sites. The music is super low quality and choppy, stopping and starting every 30 seconds or so. I can’t even imagine trying to watch TV with it.
But the prof is not done. He says we’re entering a new era. When he changed the slide, all the little boxes disappeared. This time it was just the words “newspaper,” “radio,” and “television” floating inside the giant Internet box like fish floating in an aquarium.
The professor says with new media, the BOXES are gone! He said as much as each group wants to maintain what they have, they cannot fight this. EVERYTHING converges with the Internet.
I am still skeptical. Who cares if people started going to the Internet more for their news? There still needs to be newspapers you can hold in your hand, radio stations to tune into, and TV stations to keep doing what they’ve been doing.
I thought about it, but I didn’t dare draw attention to my skepticism.
But then he went further. He said in the future, you’re not going to be just a newspaper journalist. You’re a writer, photographer, radio producer, and videographer. He says if you want to make it in new media journalism, you must learn all these things.
He said the J-School will be working with all the departments in the College of Communication to create new classes that are now required. They expect me to take radio, photography, and even videography classes! This was not what I signed up for.
Next week in this J-Term, Preston will introduce us to microphones, cameras, and other broadcast equipment. We are going to create weblogs and learn more about the Internet.
I finally got so frustrated I spoke up in class. I asked him if he was seriously saying we would have to carry tape recorders, video cameras, and microphones whenever we write a news story.
He said that was precisely what he was saying. I asked how he expected us to carry all that stuff. He said I might need a bigger backpack and guffawed with that booming voice. The class laughed too.
I didn’t laugh.
Just like I’m not laughing now, realizing I’m running late for my afternoon writing lab.