New Connections can mean many things, and as the convention spotlight, it is intended to have a variety of applications: a) the new way audience and content connect, the connections we make as scholars between industry, b) our research and the classroom, and c) new connections of existing knowledge we bring to the convention and new understandings we have as the convention ends.
But at the foundation, the New Connections affecting our lives as media users and as media scholars are being profoundly impacted by mobile media and the increasing evidence of the Global Village envisioned by Marshall McLuhan 50 years ago. Mobile media does not just mean users can watch TV on the go—it means people can, and increasingly are, interacting with content, whether created by traditional media organizations or non-professionals, at home and while on the go. These new levels of interconnectivity likewise allow new social interactions among people worldwide and similarly are breaking down distinctions world-wide between content creators and content users.
The 2012 Arbitron-Edison “Infinite Dial” study shows that 85% of Americans now have Internet access from anywhere. Broadband Internet is the driving force of ‘new media’ and home broadband has reached 70% penetration. The study, and many like it these days, shows the Internet as more important in young people’s lives than radio or television. However, this same demographic shows to still be very engaged with radio and video content—the form of distribution has just changed. Online radio along with local broadcast radio, for example, is highly used by the 18-34 demographic.
Our challenge as broadcast education scholars is to continue to study and teach the foundations of our field, including writing and visual storytelling while also guiding future professionals toward what may be evolving new economics regarding how to make a living as a content creator.