I have noticed a theme throughout class regarding the trend towards consumers becoming producers within media industry. We have discussed blogging, the ability to leave comments on news websites, and the proliferation of independent (or pundit, if you prefer) citizen journalists. The class has always moved to this discussion each week in various ways, and the essay in the IC Reader by Mark Deuze, "Convergence Culture in the Creative Industries" really elaborated what we have been focusing on in class.
Deuze states (as defined by Jenkins) that convergence culture is "both a top-down corporate driven process and a bottom up consumer-driven process". He then summarizes the two different approaches to this new form of convergence culture. First, this new form of media consumption allows us, the consumers, to exercise direct control over what we watch, what we tune out, and what we absorb from the media. As an example, I prefer to watch Fox News over CNN. Also within Fox News, I pay specific attention to certain journalists or hosts over others - but when a commenter is on that I do not agree with or can tolerate listening too, I aptly mute the discussion. In this way, I am exercising complete control over what I consume through the media. The second approach Deuze analyzes is the "collaborative media", in which we each participate in media production and consumption. A prime example of this is blogging - even for this class. We are creating our own media products and we enable our peers to in a sense, be co-producers with us - we allow their comments (or criticisms) and may edit our post to reflect others ideas. This form of collaborative media is prevalent in even today's major news outlets - Fox News and CNN.
Both IReport and UReport have dramatically increased the impact of citizen journalism. Without these forms of media interaction, video from places such as Iran and other state controlled media outlets may not be seen around the world. The original submission of these writings, pictures, and videos is citizen journalism in its truest form. But before these can be published by CNN or Fox News, the news outlets exercise complete content control - vetting, fact checking, and editing the submissions. Is this then true collaborative media if an outsider has control over the final content? Deuze does an excellent job of summarizing these tensions by explaining, "the same communication technologies that enable interactivity and participation are wielded to foster the entrenchment and growth of a global corporate media system that can be said to be anything but transparent, interactive, or participatory".