Jay Rosen offers an outstanding statement to big media on how their business is changing due to “the people formerly known as the audience”.
The people formerly known as the audience are those who were on the receiving end of a media system that ran one way, in a broadcasting pattern, with high entry fees and a few firms competing to speak very loudly while the rest of the population listened in isolation from one another– and who today are not in a situation like that at all.
Give the whole thing a big hallelujah and amen brother.
However, I also have to wonder just how large the-people-formerly-known-as-the-audience audience really is. And who they are.
Looking at the relatively small circle of people I know, certainly many of them would qualify. But as that circle increases I find fewer and fewer people who know about all the new media much less consume them.
But my circle is relatively old. Focus on a younger audience, the students sitting in our classrooms, and you’ll find many more members of the former audience.
That is what’s making big media nervous. The people they most want to attract – own the eyeballs of (to use a very condescending marketing term) – are the ones most likely to be looking around for alternatives.
While Rosen is addressing his comments to the big media companies, educators need to pay attention as well.
The same kids who increasingly make up the-people- formerly-know-as-the-audience are also rejecting the idea of one-way communication in the classroom.
Most will not physically remove themselves from school, of course.
But, unless we make major alterations to our educational process by allowing students the ability to contribute their voices to the mix, they will increasingly check out in other ways.