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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Convergence of the Media and Cultural Transformation of Readers

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.06.00  Humanities  Culturology   

Code Science Field
S265  Social sciences  Press and communication sciences 

Code Science Field
5.08  Social Sciences  Media and communications 
Keywords
information and communication technology, convergence of media, reading habits, culture of reading, social responsibility
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08541  PhD Sandra Bašić Hrvatin  Political science  Researcher  2011 - 2012  785 
2.  30052  Petra Cafnik  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2011 - 2012  23 
3.  30053  PhD Marko Ivanišin  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2011 - 2013  115 
4.  24376  PhD Borut Klabjan  Historiography  Researcher  2012  357 
5.  21518  PhD Vlado Kotnik  Culturology  Head  2011 - 2013  248 
6.  27824  MSc Zorana Medarić  Sociology  Researcher  2013  249 
7.  34644  Martina Rameša  Sociology  Researcher  2013  34 
8.  28827  PhD Peter Sekloča  Political science  Researcher  2011 - 2013  85 
9.  27938  PhD Blaž Simčič  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2012  56 
10.  24677  PhD Katja Udir Mišič  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2012 - 2013  186 
11.  29382  PhD Tjaša Žakelj  Sociology  Researcher  2013  96 
12.  20023  PhD Ernest Ženko  Philosophy  Researcher  2011 - 2013  227 
13.  28199  PhD Suzana Žilič Fišer  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2011 - 2013  471 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0796  University of Maribor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science  Maribor  5089638003  27,407 
2.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,893 
Abstract
Presentation of the Research Problem: The project stems from what is considered to be one of the fundamental problems of contemporary printed media, which is establishing an efficient balance between the creation of economic success on the one hand and the role of the “watchdog” of democracy on the other. In addition, the role of printed media includes the formation of conditions that enable public discussion. The readers, who are confronting a radical transformation of their role of passive audience and consequently of their lifestyles, are also a constituent part of this dilemma. In the past the role of readers was simply that of consuming the entertaining content and information on publicly important political issues while today it increasingly often includes their creation, which has been enabled by digital media applications. The primary focus of the project will therefore be placed on the relation between consumption of symbolic content of printed and digital media with particular emphasis placed on content related to the dilemma described above, namely, the operation in the field lying between the economic and social mission of the media. On the one hand, printed media are confronting a declining readership and the migration of advertisers to other, more modern, media formats, and (un)limited opportunities and combinations of content presentation enabled by the development of information and communication technology on the other. Hence, the project will also focus on (potential) readers (consumers) as active producers of content (prosumers), which represents an upgrade compared to research studies made in this field to date.   The Aims, the Relevance and Potential Impact of the Research Project: The relevance of the research is summarized in the following question: Which content are the readers still willing to pay for and which content will they never be willing to pay for again, and what does this mean for the social mission and future of printed media? This question will lead us in the quest for an answer that will provide an explanation for the weak condition of printed media (in relation to their economic success as well as social responsibility), and for the disintegration of open and accessible public sphere. In an attempt to provide answers to these questions the project will contribute to the solving of the dilemma on the extent and reasonableness of the socialization of news production (in the forms of citizenship journalism, inclusion of the audience in news production, and establishment of social networks with readers, among others), and the extent of democratization of newspaper management (in the form of inclusion of the public into newspaper management bodies) in order to enable the actual survival of newspapers.   Methods Used and Originality of Results: The objectives of the project will be met through research work that will provide answers to specific questions that are importantly related to the operation of printed media and their orientation in today’s society. A survey will be used to answer questions concerning the lifestyle of readers, and define their identity and structural profiles. Semi-structured interviews with editors and journalists will be directed towards the definition of possible development trends of newspapers and their placement within the broader context or connections with the worlds of economy and politics. A specific communication and cultural studies quantitative method of content analysis will be used for an analysis of the content of newspapers and contributions written by the audience. The method will enable the acquisition of knowledge concerning cultural, political, and economic contexts that the audience is interested in and considers worthwhile to participate in.
Significance for science
Since this project is multi-disciplinary, the carrying disciplines are media and communication studies and social anthropology; we assume that the results of the project will have at least the following impacts on the development of individual disciplinary and problem areas: - the core problem proposal (relation between printed/digital media and their users, particularly through the eyes of the newspaper industry crisis and the general decrease of readership) is an original study proposal of the problem in social anthropology, communication and media studies, whereas the project expands the disciplinary repertoire and its interpretative strength; - since the project analytically reviews and critically evaluates burning problems of printed media in the world as well as in Slovenia, and on the basis of foreign findings and insights identifies some bad and good practices in solving the unstable social and economic position of newspapers in the market, we can expect that the results of the project will offer the media a very necessary analytical mirror; - the project also developed certain useful methodological tools (for instance, media ethnography) which can be available for future research of this topic; however, the project tried to establish the relation between quantitative and qualitative empirical research interventions in the issue, whereas the project tried to furnish this relation with the most current theoretical, methodological findings that could be applied in practice.
Significance for the country
Since the project deals with studying the current media practices and consuming experiences in Slovenia, we hope that the results of the research will directly contribute to specific solutions of goal-oriented and applied character in the sense of critical understanding of Slovenian media industry and the role of readers/users in it. Today’s newspapers are faced with an irrepressible drop in readership and the shift of advertisers to other, more contemporary media formats, but the expectations projected onto them, namely that they carry out their fundamental social mission and operate in the service of the public, have remained unchanged and undiminished and not even the new opportunities and combinations of transmitting contents provided by the development of digital media and information-communication technologies seem to be of any use in solving this social antagonism. The apparent involvement of media users in the arena of active producers of content and messages as well as the frequently extolled confrontation with the allegedly radical transformation of the past role of the passive public have contributed virtually nothing towards a pertinent explanation of the fact that the basic problem and continual challenge of the classic mass printed media is still an efficient balance between building the economic success of a newspaper, on the one hand, and its role as the watchdog of democracy, on the other. While Slovenian media experience significant crisis even perhaps more than media from abroad, our research has been actually constantly outlined by a single but fundamental question, crucial for the development of Slovenia as well: can Slovenian newspapers and media which facing constant decline of readership and consumers still claim their social influence and the social responsibility of working in the interest of the public? The results of the research reveal three crucial misunderstandings which prevent the Slovenian media landscape to become more developed, diversified and pluralistically oriented: 1) The existence of the press and the development of newspaper industry must become also a matter of citizens, not just be an interest of owners (Free media must be dependent on the citizens. Plurality in the media is not only the sum of the different and varied content offered to media consumers, but rather a serious reflection on how to serve the public, how to establish an open dialogue with the public in which the future media policy will be a matter of the people, not only of the owner. Trying to introduce cooperative practices into the media system is only one of the possible methods. It is important that cooperatives are not seen as a new ownership model working on the same principles as the one valid until now, but as a new form of cooperation between journalists and the public.) 2) It is important to separate the crisis of business models in media/newspaper management and from the crisis of journalism (When speaking about the media crisis, we have to distinguish between the crisis which is destroying the prevailing ownership relationships and financial models within the field of the media and the crisis of journalism. The media as we know it today perhaps cannot be saved, but journalism can, under the condition that we open a public discussion on what journalism is (and is not), what its mission is and who journalists should be accountable to.) 3) Journalism has to first clearly separate itself from persuasive communication practices: its existence and development cannot be only a matter of media and journalists, but a matter of citizens too (The objective of persuasive communication practices, such as advertising, public relations, is not the common good, but the private interest of whoever owns the particular media form. Journalism as a mould of “public good” is the foundation of democracy, and precisely because of its importance, its future development cannot be a matter of the media and the journalists alone.)
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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