Digital Culture & The Role of Audiences

This week we are looking at the changing dynamic between producers and users of media in the online and mobile media landscape, with particular reference to the writings of Axel Bruns & Mark Deuze. These papers both explore the paradigm shift that has occurred with the rise of participatory/citizen journalism which enables readers to become writers in a wide range of topics ranging from the highly specialised to the generic and the micro-local to the global.

After reading Bruns’ paper ‘From Reader to Writer: Citizen Journalism as News Produsage’ we are introduced to the term “produsage” which is used to describe the practice of producing content by hybrid “produsers” who are those users who also produce content. These produsers are becoming much more prolific in the online environment as they become more aware of the shortcoming of mainstream media, in particular its limited understanding of complex specialist topics or deliberate avoidance of other controversial topics. This idea is further supported by Shirky (2009) who states that the rise of the internet does not herald the rise of a powerful consumer but rather the disappearance of the consumer altogether, as no one is simple a passive user of the of the media they are now also a media outlet in themselves.

Deuze’s paper ‘Participation, Remediation, Bricolage: Considering Principal Components of a Digital Culture’ comes to a very similar conclusion in regards to participation in the online media community, in particular he states that “technology enables almost anyone to capture and share content”.  Deuze also introduces some other key terms that may be of importance when analysing the online and mobile media environment that surrounds us today. The first of these is “remediation” which is the remixing of old and new media, Secondly “bricolage” which is the incorporation of works and information currently available to create or develop further understanding, for example if a journalist uses the information from other articles on a particular topic to come to a different or deeper insight. Bricolage is particular evident in participatory/citizen journalism (especially blogging) with the way bloggers link to each other and to content found whilst surfing the internet and then adding their own insight, opinions and analysis.

An interesting example I found of the shift towards this more “open source” journalism as Deuze puts it is the upcoming olympic games, which are being touted as the first social media olympics. With the rise of new social media tools such as twitter, blogs, tout, youtube and facebook and also improved technology of wireless internet, digital cameras & smartphones we could be seeing the first olympic games where the most interesting news stories are not necessarily  produced by professional journalist but rather by the athletes themselves or by fans at the events. One concern I have though is with the restrictions/guidelines placed on the athletes and accredited officials some may become concerned with what they post and therefore not post certain material which could mean we as the end users miss out on some of the best stories. I am however a fan of the IOC implementing a social media hub, which can be accessed by clicking the image below, to allow following athletes much easier.


Bruns, A ‘From Reader to Writer: Citizen Journalism as News Produsage’. In Hunsinger, Jeremy, Lisbeth Klastrup & Matthew Allen (Eds.) Internet Research Handbook. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 119-134

Deuze, M (2006) ‘Participation, Remediation, Bricolage: Considering Prncipal Components of A Digital Culture’. The Information Society, 22(2): 63-75

Shirky, Clay, 2002a, 9 Sep. “Broadcast Institutions, Community Values,” Clay Shirky’s Writings about the Internet: Economics & Culture, Media & Community, Open Source, (accessed 25 July 2012)


One response to “Digital Culture & The Role of Audiences

  1. The post is good, but a bit too long. The last paragraph is the most interesting one, so maybe the next articles could follow that style.

    In terms of design, the top header is big and delays the access to information. You can find free WP themes that improve the look of the blog.

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