Youth, New Media, and Radio: Mobile Phone and Local Radio Convergence in Turkey
Media convergence has become a widely accepted term that describes how we consume media today. While the concept is generally used to refer to the consumption of (mostly old) media using new internet and mobile platforms, it is also used to explain the current trend of media systems across the world becoming increasingly alike with regard to their products, their professional practices and cultures, and their systems of relationships with other political and social institutions.1 This particular era of “global homogenization of media systems,” as Hallin and Mancini refer to it, raises concerns over the corporate and commercial interests of big global media undermining national or community interests and highlights the urgent need to transfer power back from private to public hands.2 However, according to Henry Jenkins, convergence is “both a top-down corporate-driven process, and a bottom-up consumerdriven process,”3 and thus it should be viewed as more than merely a technological process; it is also a social and cultural one that can enable interactivity, cultural production, and sharing. Indeed, we have seen notable examples of enhanced user participation and agency via, e.g., YouTube,4 through bloggers becoming new intellectuals with great cultural capital and power to move the masses,5 and in citizen journalism where professionals end up interacting with their publics as both consumers and co-creators.6 These examples and trends often excite scholars7 about the possibilities that a new era of participation off ers to “digital natives,” where, ideally, not only can users have more input in the creative process of media production but they can also extend their networks and engage in peer-to-peer, self-directed learning. Henry Jenkins even goes so far to argue that “convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content.”8 There seems to be a consensus that the line between
producers and users is blurred as both sides now become “participants who interact with each other.”9 Therefore, participation is assumed as the primary condition behind convergence culture with participatory culture defi ning the culture brought about by media convergence.