Salaverria discusses significance of media convergence

The Three Musketeers’ motto “All for one and one for all” does not work for the news media in the digital age, keynote speaker Ramón Salaverria said Saturday during the 9th International Symposium on Online Journalism.

“All media has converged into the computer, and even these computers are getting smaller, so we’re getting more portable,” said Salaverria as he pointed out photos of cell phones and compact computers.

Convergence is not a synonym for integration, Salaverria said.

Salaverria, who was named as one of the 500 most influential Spaniards, has been involved with two research projects — one involving 12 Spanish universities and more than 20 researchers concerning the impact of digitalization and the Internet on journalism.

Only 9 percent of Internet journalism publications were Web-only publications, but more than 50 percent came from existing newspapers and magazines, Salaverria said.

“In the past, journalists that worked in front of a typewriter were called writers,” Salaverria said. “If a journalist was in front of a microphone he was called a speaker, and now we have journalists that use all profiles.”

“All the old media are blurring,” Salaverria said, as he displayed a picture of a newspaper, radio and television, turning into the icons Google News, iTunes and YouTube. “Now we wonder if the reporter will take on sound and video as well.”

Many people think of news, radio, TV and Internet as either the Three Musketeers happily united or just a medicine for the declining media, Salaverria said.

“There is a convergence process running in almost every media group, but it is not a result of integration in any of the groups, and I don’t think this is only happening in the Spanish news rooms,” Salaverria said.

Salaverria focused on the steps necessary to reach media convergence and explained that the goal is to converge content into various media.

“Most media are still at the monomedia level,” Salaverria said. “Text, image and sound are all separate. The next step is many media where content is side-by-side, and very few people have reached the multimedia level.”

Salaverria said that the next question posed by the research group is whether there is convergence happening in Spain, and if so to what extent.

“Media convergence is inevitable, but convergence is a process that consists in different spheres.” Salaverria said. “Maybe I can come back next year and tell you the results.”

ISOJ 2008: All for One and One for All? A Spanish Experience of Research About Media Convergence from Knight Center on Vimeo.

2008: All for One and One for All? A Spanish Experience of Research and Media Convergence (Keynote), from Knight Center on Vimeo.