“Modern convergence is similar in many ways to the revolution of the steam engine.”
Professor Steve Jackson opened his presentation on media convergence with this rather unusual analogy. However, a valid point was present behind the statement’s spontaneity. With the development of the now archaic device, multiple purposes were served which led to new developments.
In many ways, this is how our means of communication and cooperation with media are changing everyday during these technologically progressive times.
As a professor of convergent media at Central Washington University, as well as a lifetime’s worth of experience in various disciplines, Jackson could be considered a veritable jack of all trades. Jackson is currently a game designer for Disrupted Gears Production in addition to his professorship. He has also worked as a director for the Home Shopping Network, a broadcast engineer, and other stints teaching about convergence in other schools across the country.
As a worker in so many different fields, Jackson displayed an expert understanding of the towering influence developing media can have on so many different disciplines. With his steam engine analogy, he mapped out the history of the device’s innovation, as it begat monumental developments towards the technology by which modern media is transferred.
“Convergence is affecting law enforcement, music development, and film making,” Jackson said.
One of Jackson’s strongest points alluded to the fact that while media will continue to change and give way to newer mediums by which we receive information, the techniques and methods by which they are executed will remain intact. He illustrated his point by explaining the decline of a print medium, despite the fact that text will always be prevalent.
“Print newspapers are dead,” Jackson said. “Journalism, however, is not.”
As the first part of his statement sank the hearts of the journalism students in the room, the latter part of his statement decreed that while media is changing its blend with traditional media ideals is what makes that convergence.
Jackson’s explanation of modern convergence with the Internet helped push the point forward. We live in a dominantly digital age, he explained, and at this point, it drives every aspect of our lives. Jackson pointed out how online shopping sites such as amazon.com dominate consumer interests. He also pointed out that these days; most people will meet their significant other online. At the same time, social media has allowed us to connect with former acquaintances in a way that we’ve never been able to before. Although the news did not come entirely as a surprise to a modern audience, Jackson’s emphasis on its magnitude reinforced the significance of media convergence.
Roughly 75 people came to watch Jackson speak. The crowd consisted mainly of media studies and communications students, although several communications professors, mainly from the journalism department, attended as well. A Q&A session was held after Jackson’s presentation, in which students and faculty were enlightened by further points concerning convergence. His further points touched on future college attendance rates, the evolving process for film production, and other points.
As an expert on media convergence, Jackson explained his own prediction for the next major development. Like his stance on journalism, however, he saw the internet as an unshakable force, even in the face of new developments.
“The internet is always being replaced,” Jackson said. “The thing is, is that the paradigm of the internet will now be replaced. The technology of the internet is always being replaced piece by piece.”