The Internet’s Role in the Americanization of Global Media
The Americanization of media has had a significant impact on communications across the globe. Specifically, I believe that the Internet is the key apparatus for the Americanization of global media. The Internet has changed the global landscape of communications in several ways, including decreasing the revenues and circulation of print publications, decreasing the quality of journalism and reducing the need for media plurality. I will demonstrate how technology is one of the most significant outside forces influencing global communication. I will also provide data to indicate how the quality of journalism has decreased over the years. Finally, I will provide examples of how the Internet has changed media plurality.
Bonafadelli, Keel, Marr and Wyss (2012) said, “The most striking change compared to 10 years ago is technology-related: The Internet has brought about the most fundamental changes in journalistic action in a very short time.” (p. 329). We can see the American influence on the global culture of media through the World Association of Newspapers (WAN). WAN was founded in 1948 and represents 18,000 publications globally. The goals of WAN include: promoting freedom of the press, encouraging networking between newspaper executives across many regions and cultures and promoting the worldwide cooperation of member organizations (Hallin & Mancini, 2010). It’s made up of 76 national newspaper associations, 12 news agencies, 10 regional press organizations and newspaper executives across 100 countries (World association of newspapers and news publishers, n.d.). The role of WAN illustrates the impact that America has on world media cultures. One such illustration is the role WAN has in the “production of knowledge”.
America has led the way in the “production of knowledge” in global media (Hallin & Mancini, 2010, p.158). Publications around the world have not only leveraged the American style, voice and pattern, but the quality of journalism as well. American journalistic education has played an important role in media worldwide. However, I disagree with Hallin and Mancini (2010) who say that the growth of education in journalism has also increased along with the technological changes. I believe that the Internet enables anyone to be an author, which in turn, decreases the quality of content. We have also seen a shift in type of content that exists on the Internet versus what was created in traditional newspapers. Hallin and Mancini (2010) say “In many ways technology has increased the ease by which media content can be shared across national boundaries, with journalists around the world having access on their computer screens to the same sets of words and images” (p. 160). The focus now is less on writing journalistic stories and more on developing dynamic, multi-media content due to these technological changes. Enrollment in journalism school has dropped over the years for the first time in two decades (King, 2014). The declining enrollment can be attributed to the significant change in the journalistic landscape given the role of the Internet in global communication. Lynda Kraxberger, Associate Dean at the Missouri School of Journalism, said, “In 2001, we had a lot of people coming to school because they wanted to see better reporting of international news and they wanted to see more critical reporting on global events” (as cited in King, 2014). This demonstrates that American students still want to report on global affairs. However, the decline in the demand for classic journalism results in fewer students pursuing this area of study or a need for schools to change their programs to train upcoming journalists on this new landscape.
The Americanization of global media through the Internet has also resulted in the decline of print advertising revenues. In 2011, newspaper advertising across the globe equated to $76 billion, which was down 41 percent since 2007 (Newspapers versus Google, 2012). Print newspaper advertising revenues and circulation have declined quickly since the advent of the Internet. In North America, print circulation was down 5.3 percent year-over-year and down 29.6 percent over the past five years (MarketingCharts staff, 2014). North America leads the way in the decrease of print circulation and advertising revenues While America leads the way, they certainly aren’t the only country losing profit in this business. In France not a single national newspaper is profitable (MarketingCharts Staff, 2014). Paid digital circulation increased over 2,000 percent over the past five years (MarketingCharts Staff, 2014). These statistics demonstrate the influence that the Internet has had in the print newspaper industry over the years on a global scale. We can see a clear shift between ad revenue in print publications to digital content. This shift results in the decline of circulation of print publication while increasing the influence of the Internet.
The Internet has also changed media plurality across the globe. Media plurality in existing laws is about enforcing monopoly rules. It prevents companies who own more than 20 percent of a newspaper from owning more than 20 percent of terrestrial channels (Preston, 2013). However, the Internet challenges the idea of pluralism. Given that the Internet allows a variety of information to the public from a wide range of publishers, it has broken up the media power. Audiences can now choose how and where to receive communication. This puts the power in the user’s hands, which takes the power away from the conglomerates (Karppinen, 2013). However, there is also a new debate about the role that online content aggregators play in the role as a gatekeeper to content. As American companies, such as Google and Facebook, act as powerful online aggregators of content, this raises new media plurality questions about their role as a gatekeeper (Townend, 2013).
In conclusion, the Internet has acted as a key tool in the Americanization of global communications. The Americanization of media across the world has resulted in the in the reduction of the circulation of print publications and ad revenues, decreased concern for media plurality and decreased quality in journalistic capabilities across the globe. America leads the way in global media and we can see the significance of their impact in through the shift from print to online publications.
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Hallin, D. and Mancini, P. (2010). The forces and limits of homogenization. In D. K. Thussu (Ed.), International Communication: A Reader (pp. 154-187). London: Routledge.
Karppinen, K. (2013). Rethinking media pluralism. New York: Fordham University Press.
MarketingCharts Staff (2014, June 16) Global newspaper circulation and advertising trends in 2013. Marketing Charts. Retrieved from http://www.marketingcharts.com/traditional/global-newspaper-circulation-and-advertising-trends-in-2013-43338/
Newspapers versus Google (2012, November 12). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/international/21565928-newspapers-woes-grow-some-are-lobbying-politicians-make-google-pay-news-it
Preston, P. (2013, August 3). Media plurality is now about much more than curbing Rupert Murdoch. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/aug/04/preston-media-plurality-
Townend, J. (2013, October 14). International. Media power & plurality. Retrieved from http://www.mediaplurality.com/international/
World association of newspapers and news publishers (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Association_of_Newspapers_and_News_Publishers