LASICS .::. Open Conference Systems, IAMCR 2010: Communication and Citizenship

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Citizens as Media Critics in Changing Mediascapes

Torbjörn von Krogh, Kristoffer Anselm, Linus Holt

Last modified: 2010-06-03


Media criticism often evolve – and grow in strength – during times of media change with new forms of journalism, new media formats, new media markets, new ways of addressing media markets and new media technologies. Different stakeholders may pursue their interests by formulating a media critique that protect their positions and promotes status quo. It is not difficult to find critics who in the name of the citizens formulate criticism against journalism and the media. It is more difficult to find and study representative examples of criticism expressed by the citizens themselves.
This paper will address the need for systematic analyses of various reactions against the media – in history and in the present. It will also deal with difficulties associated with this field of research; questions about suitable empirical material and methods.
Media development, media production, and media content are well known fields of research that mainly study media-institutions/organisations and their products. Media history has also (for obvious reasons) been characterized by this focus. To some extent, victorious media institutions have influenced their own historiography.
We argue that it is necessary to take into account the fact that the media has always been embedded in the context of society as a whole – including those who object to the consequences of media in society. An abundance of criticism – from various directions (religious, political, philosophical, popular etc.) – has at all times surrounded the media.
The criticism that media-organisations/content provoke offers a rich but often neglected source for thought on media and communication; media and change. This perspective makes visible the need for consideration of a number of different theoretical and methodological questions.
We will present and discuss some specific cases – historical and contemporary – where media criticism has been used as a stakeholder tool and as a dimension of cultural critique of changes in the development of society.

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