Keynote Speakers include: Zhao Qizeng (Renmin U); Oliver Boyd-Barrett (Bowling Green SU); Michael Curtin (UC Santa Barbara); Daya Thussu (Westminster)
The shifting patterns of the world economy also mean shifts in the global circulation of media products. The economic crisis in many parts of the world, and the rapid growth of new competitors, above all China, has created new opportunities for entry into the world media markets. This conference aims to bring together Chinese and international experts to discuss the changes of the recent past and the prospects for the next decade.
News provides the best example of the changes going on. When Unesco investigated the international flow of news 30 years ago, it was clear that the market was dominated by a few organisations based in the developed world. The first satellite news channels, notably CNN, seemed to confirm the western domination of the news agenda. Who got reported, what got reported, how it was reported, and how it was interpreted, were determined by organisations whose corporate homes and main markets were in the rich countries of the global north. Over the last twenty years, that domination has been challenged by new entrants. The first was the Arabic-language version of Al Jazeera, based in Qatar but using journalists and journalistic methods taken from western news organisations. The new channel immediately attracted a substantial audience in the Arab world and came to challenge the dominant western versions of many important events. The company launched an English-language channel that, in its own words: “aims to give voice to untold stories, promote debate, and challenge established perceptions.” Over the last decade, it has been joined by many other channels, from Russia, from Iran and also from China. CCTV 9 has been revamped and given greater resources, and in 2010 Xinhua, the main Chinese news agency, launched its own international satellite channel. These new voices are still not as strong as CNN or the BBC, but today people around the world have an increasing choice about where they will get their news.
Changes in other areas of the media are equally obvious. While the US still dominates the global trade in television programmes, there are strong markets for programmes originating within a particular region, for example Latin America or East Asia. The growth of the trade in programme formats also means that national television producers have a much more creative role in producing versions of successful international programmes. Thus, Yo Soy Betty, la Fea became Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin, Ugly Betty, Chu Nu Wu Din and many other versions, each of them with significant adaptations to local tastes and conventions.
Printed media have proved less mobile, but newspapers like the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal have small but extremely influential readerships around the world. The Chinese press, too, is increasingly producing international editions of its main titles, for example Global Times, aimed at presenting Chinese reporting of international affairs to a English-reading audience. In magazine publishing, famous international titles have established subsidiaries and joint ventures in many countries to produce new editions with the same brand but very often different content.
At the same time, new media increasingly facilitate new means of circulating cultural products. Music, films and TV programmes are downloaded around the world, sometimes legally, sometimes illegally. Computer games, online and offline, are developed and marketed in patterns that are a complex mixture of inputs from around the world. Some technical aspects of a popular game might originate in a major international software company, other aspects may be regional in character, and the game will be hosted and marketed by a company firmly located in one country. Individuals around the world take advantage of social media to produce new kinds of content that can be viewed anywhere.
The landscape of available media today is a rich mixture of material generated locally and nationally, elements imported from elsewhere, sometimes transformed and sometimes merely dubbed, and products that have a genuinely global reach.
The organisers invite proposals for scholarly papers that address any aspect of current patterns of global media and communication, including both new and traditional media forms. In particular, we are keen to receive papers addressing the following issues:
• The development of internationally oriented news channels
• Audience responses to international news channels
• Changing notions of journalistic practice and of news values
• Patterns of trade in programmes and formats
• Problems of localizing acquired programme formats
• Developing international markets for new programmes and channels
• Use of the internet to access media content and its consequences for intellectual property
• Patterns of production and consumption in computer gaming
• Social media and new forms of content production
We welcome papers that address international trends and problems as well as those that examine production and consumption within one country. We are particularly, but not exclusively, interested in work that address the consequences of China’s increasing economic and political power and the ways in which that is influencing cultural life both internally and on the international stage.
Abstracts of around 250 words will be accepted in either English or Chinese. Please send Chinese abstracts to Professor Lei Weizhen at Renmin University (firstname.lastname@example.org) and English abstracts to Professor Colin Sparks at the University of Westminster (email@example.com). The deadline for abstracts in English is 1st February 2011. Successful authors will be notified by 1st March .